Clitoraid’s head surgeon restores clitoris for 4 victims of female genital mutilation

كانون الأول 02 2012, تصنيف: بيانات صحفية
On Nov. 29, at the San Mateo Surgery Center in California, Dr. Marci Bowers, M.D., head surgeon for Clitoraid, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of the brutal tradition of female genital mutilation (FGM), restored the clitoris of four victims, one of whom came all the way from West Africa to have the surgery.

Nadine Gary, Clitoraid’s head of operations, said the other three women who had the procedure performed by Bowers are African immigrants who live in the United States.

“Each of these four women was desperately seeking to recover her womanhood, and was able to do so thanks to the clitoral repair surgery offered by Clitoraid through the generous services of Dr. Bowers and other volunteer surgeons,” Gary said.

She explained that the barbaric act of FGM, also know euphemistically as “female circumcision,” destroys much or all of the exposed clitoris and surrounding tissue but leaves some of the root structure intact, thus making surgical restoration possible for those fortunate enough to undergo the procedure.

“Since 2008, Clitoraid has operated on close to 50 FGM patients,” Gary said. “Our volunteer surgeons use the technique of Dr. Pierre Foldes of France, who pioneered this restorative procedure.”

Gary pointed out that in the United States alone, 300,000 women currently suffer from FGM effects, according to the World Health Organization.

“Worldwide, there are more than 150 million victims who were forcibly deprived in childhood of their sense of pleasure,” she said. “In fact, it’s estimated that somewhere in the world, one little girl is being genitally mutilated every six minutes under the most atrocious conditions imaginable. And about 10 percent of these victims will die from the bleeding or subsequent infections.”

Gary said the four women who came to San Francisco for last week’s procedure were lucky enough to survive FGM.

“Nevertheless, each was deeply affected by traumatic childhood memories of that excruciatingly painful and frightening experience,” she said. “One of these patients, a lovely 30-year-old woman who has never even dated, burst into tears when Dr. Bowers lifted the paper sheet that covered her bare legs during a gynecological exam. She had dreaded that OBGYN appointment because she was that ashamed to show a doctor a body part she perceived as repulsive.”

According to Gary, one of Clitoraid’s primary missions is to help FGM victims by building a hospital in Burkina Faso, West Africa, exclusively for the performance of the restorative procedure.

“It’s set to open its doors in 2013,” Gary said. “The facility will offer free surgical treatment to all FGM victims who want the procedure performed, and we can do this thanks to the volunteer services of doctors from around the world.”

She said the four patients in San Francisco are doing well post-surgically.

“They are gently recuperating from the procedure, and changes can already be seen,”
Gary said. The woman who had a strong emotional outburst in Dr. Bowers’ clinic was elated by the results of the surgery. Her voice now expresses such great joy, as if a 24-year curse has been lifted from her body and mind. She feels she can love herself now and also begin to forgive her mother, who ordered her circumcision.”

Gary said self-hatred and deep anger are two common emotions among FGM victims and that the restorative surgery greatly helps dissipate both.

“It helps them finally turn the page into greater health and consciousness,” she said."And Clitoraid is helping more and more victims do just that. In the United States, new surgeries will take place in San Mateo, California, and in Oswego, New York, in January thanks to the generosity of Dr. Bowers and Dr. Harold Henning. And late next year, both surgeons will travel to West Africa for the inauguration of our hospital, where over 400 FGM victims are patiently awaiting a new beginning in their lives as women.”

United Nations Calls For Global Ban On Female Genital Mutilation

تشرين الثاني 27 2012, تصنيف: International NEWS

Campaigners against female circumcision scored a major victory Monday with the approval by a key U.N. committee of a resolution calling for a global ban on female genital mutilation.
The resolution, adopted by consensus by the U.N. General Assembly's human rights committee, calls the practice harmful and a serious threat to the psychological, sexual and reproductive health of women and girls.

It calls on the U.N.'s 193 member states to condemn the practice, known as FGM, and launch education campaigns for girls and boys, women and men, to eliminate it. It also urges all countries to enact and enforce legislation to prohibit FGM, to protect women and girls "from this form of violence," and to end impunity for violators.

With 110 sponsors, the resolution is virtually certain to be approved by the full General Assembly, which is expected to take it up in the second half of December. Although not legally binding, assembly resolutions reflect international concerns and carry moral and political weight.

Italy's U.N. Ambassador Cesare Maria Ragaglini, who has been working with African partners for a ban, called the resolution "a breakthrough in the international campaign to end the harmful practice of FGM."

"I think that together we can change the fate of many young girls around the world, and today this goal appears closer than ever," he said. "The resolution, in condemning the practice and promoting social and educational programs, is ... the beginning of a new journey."

The centuries-old practice stems from beliefs that FGM controls women's sexuality, enhances fertility, or is required by religious belief – although both Muslim and Christian leaders have spoken out against it.

The procedure involves the removal of a girl's clitoris and sometimes also other genital parts, usually in childhood or early adolescence. Critics say it can lead to painful sexual intercourse, complications in childbirth, and eliminates any pleasure for women during sex.

The U.N. said in 2010 that about 70 million girls and women had undergone the procedure, and the World Health Organization said about 6,000 girls were circumcised every day.

Clitoraid attended the Erotic Fair in Hasselt for the the second time

تشرين الثاني 24 2012, تصنيف: Clitoraid NEWS
By Monica Marcucci, Clitoraid coordinator in the Netherlands and Flemish

BelgiumOn November 17th and 18th, Clitoraid participated in the “Erotica, Body and Beauty” fair in Hasselt (Flemish Belgium). We have had a stand there before, so it was nice that people remembered and recognized us !

The stand definitely caught the attention and the interest of the visitors of the fair. We were very close to the stage, where sexy shows were performed every hour, and big banners which explained FGM, its physical and psychological consequences, the reconstructive technique of Dr. Foldes, testimonies from Banemanie, and much more…

Of course, we could not miss the opportunity to present Betty Dodson at this fair, as we highlighted a big banner with Dr. Dodson's support for CLITORAID. Betty DODSON is a sex educator and international authority in women's sexuality. Indeed, so much attention was focused on sexual pleasure, in particular female sexual pleasure at this fair, seen all the different kinds of vibrators and erotic gadgets being presented.

We raised in total 188,25 € and most importantly, we contributed to raise a great deal of awareness about FGM and to inform the attendees of Clitoraid's activities. Two people who took our leaflet confided that they knew someone who had suffered from genital mutilation. Therefore, our hope is that our actions will help them!

I had the opportunity to give an interview about Clitoraid’s Pleasure Hospital and aims with a journalist from “Het Belang van Limburg”. Thanks to everyone for participating in this erotic fair.

“FGM … Reduces Sexual Quality of Life”

تشرين الثاني 21 2012, تصنيف: International NEWS
10/10/12 – Women who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) have a significantly lower sexual quality of life finds a new study published today (10 October) in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

FGM is defined as any procedure ‘involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia without medical reasons’.

This study, carried out by researchers at King’s College London, looks at the impact of FGM on the sexual quality of life of women who have undergone this procedure and compares them to a similar group of women who have not undergone FGM.

Seventy three women who had undergone FGM were compared to 37 women from a similar cultural background. Criteria for inclusion in the study included, women aged 16 or older, women who have undergone FGM, or to be from a cultural background where FGM is frequently practiced but not undergone FGM.

Sixty-three out of seventy-three (86.3 %) of the women whom had undergone FGM were from Somalia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Eritrea, whereas of the women who had not undergone FGM thirty-two out of thirty-seven (86.49%) were from Nigeria and Ghana.

The women completed a questionnaire containing the Sexual Quality of Life–Female (SQOL-F) questionnaire. This was divided into two parts: part one of the questionnaire asking demographic questions and the second part containing the SQOL-F questionnaire, previously used for measuring sexual quality of life in women with female sexual dysfunction aged over 18 years.

Demographics measured included, age, country of birth, civil status, number of children, smoking status, alcohol consumption, self-reported history of depression and type of FGM.

Overall the study found that women who have undergone FGM have a significantly lower overall SQOL-F score. Using the self reported questionnaire, with the highest score being 100, women who had undergone FGM rated their sexual quality of life on average 26.4 points lower than women who had not undergone FGM.

The researchers also conducted further analysis by dividing the total number of women into those who were sexually active and those who were not sexually active. They found that in sexually active women FGM type III is associated with the lowest sexual quality of life scores.

Professor Janice Rymer, Dean of Undergraduate Medicine and Professor of Gynaecology, King’s College London and co-author of the paper said:

“FGM is abuse of women and we need to do all we can to eradicate the practice. We can help to do this by educating people about the harm that it causes and this study adds to our knowledge as we show, not surprisingly, that FGM has a detrimental effect on a woman’s sexual life.

“FGM is always traumatic and has no known health benefits, and the complications range from bleeding and infection to death. Although the physical complications have previously been reported, the effects on sexual function and satisfaction were poorly understood.

“As a result of high rates of migration of women from nations where this practice is considered commonplace, to areas where it is not, it is important to all multidisciplinary practitioners to have an understanding of the impact of this practice on the women that we provide care for. The effect of a reduced or poor sexual quality of life is likely to have an effect on the general well being of women. It is important to raise the profile of the damage that is caused with regards to sexual function in the hope that this may go some way to eradicating the procedure for future generations.”

BJOG Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Pierre Martin-Hirsch, added:

“FGM is a harmful and unacceptable practice. This study highlights that it has a lasting impact not only physically but emotionally. It is important that healthcare workers are aware of FGM and with an expansion of the migrant population they may see increasing numbers of women affected.”

Full text: Andersson, S., Rymer, J., Joyce, D., Momoh, C. and Gayle, C. (2012), Sexual quality of life in women who have undergone female genital mutilation: a case–control study. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.12004
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