Informed Planet 27.02.18: FGM

The Western World

'The idea of controlling women's sexuality seems to be common to most men in all societies. The methods used in the West are different from those used in Oriental and African countries, but the aims are generally the same.

'In this context, clitoridectomy is not entirely strange to Western countries, though many Western readers seem to be horrified to hear of such customs and practices. In England and America it was said that a large number of such operations were performed especially in the second half of the 19th Century. One school of thought held that clitoridectomy was necessary to cure such sexual aberrations as 'nymphomania', and also to prevent all kinds of other physical diseases and emotional disorders (hysteria, masturbation and other non-conforming behaviour). [Kati David]. Possibly there are women living in America and Europe today who have suffered this form (as well as other more familiar forms) of gynophobic, medically unnecessary mutilating surgery. The repression of women's sexuality by various means and methods occurs almost everywhere, and exists in all patriarchal societies throughout history and up to the present day.'

From Page 17 of 'Sisters in Affliction: Circumcision and Infibulation of Women in Africa', by Raqiya Haji Dualeh Abdalla. Published by Zed Press, 1982.  

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