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

In the Name of Tradition

تشرين الثاني 21 2012, تصنيف: Clitoraid NEWS
By Adam & Steve Goldie

In the name of tradition, some 140 million women alive today have been forced to endure having their genitalia mutilated (WHO Fact Sheet No. 241). To end this horrific practice the registered charity Clitoraid, which was founded by Rael, together with an international team of volunteer doctors and nurses, intends to surgically repair the clitorises of thousands of female genital mutilation (FGM) victims in a “Pleasure Hospital” it is building in West Africa.

In accordance with a barbaric tradition that is still prevalent within many African communities, young girls in many parts of the world are forced to undergo one or more of the excruciating procedures known as clitoridectomy (partial or total removal of the external clitoris), excision (partial or total removal of the external clitoris and the labia, "the lips" that surround the vagina), infibulation (the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the cutting and repositioning of the labia, with or without removal of the clitoris) and other harmful procedures to the female genitalia. These brutal and senseless acts, known collectively as female genital mutilation (FGM), may be carried out by traditional “circumcisers” but are frequently carried out by female relatives, themselves earlier victims of the practice, using crude instruments and without anaesthesia.

FGM is effective in denying future sexual pleasure to the pubescent girls subjected to it, but the “procedure” also causes severe bleeding and problems when urinating. Those that survive face a future of cysts, infections, infertility, complications in childbirth that increase the risk to both mother and baby, as well as relationship and psychological problems. Little could be done to help these women until 1979 when Dr. Pierre Foldès, a French urologist and surgeon, developed a revolutionary surgical procedure designed to help FGM victims achieve their first clitoral sensations and to repair the associated physical damage.

In 2004, spiritual teacher Rael proposed the creation of a non-profit organization dedicated to ending FGM by raising funds to cover the cost of the surgery for as many FGM victims as possible. Clitoraid International now has branches in over twenty countries around the world and has so far assisted thirty-four women to have the “repair” surgery.

Because both the procedure and the travel costs to America are expensive, Rael appreciated that it would be much better to use the money raised to build a surgical clinic where volunteer doctors and nurses would surgically repair the clitorises of thousands of mutilated victims in a “Pleasure Hospital”. The location of the first hospital is in West Africa, near the town of Bobo Dioulasso in Burkina Faso. It is a poor country with a population of almost sixteen million located immediately to the north of Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Togo. The two largest cities are Ouagadougou, which is the capital, and Bobo-Dioulasso.

The Pleasure Hospital

About 10-15 km south-southwest of Bobo-Dioulasso are the villages of Matourkou and Kuinna. In May 2008 the chiefs of these two villages granted Clitoraid’s local arm, DELTE AVFE (meaning: Association for Female Blossoming) freehold title to a 2000 m² (half acre) plot of land located between the two villages, in return Clitoraid is to provide local GP services from the clinic.

Clitoraid assembled an international team to design and supervise the construction of the hospital and, despite the difficulties of financing such an incredible project, the clinic’s main building was completed in 2011. Komkasso Hospital contains an operating theatre, a laboratory, an infirmary, a sterilization room, offices for the surgeons and head nurse, reception and waiting areas, two consultation rooms for doctors, a conference/training room, and laundry, kitchen and public washrooms.

2012 has seen the completion of the electrical meter room, main storehouse, the flammable goods store and an enclosure for the back-up generator, and the guard’s accommodation is also almost complete. The in-country team will then focus on completing the hospital surrounds, which includes the construction of the perimeter fencing, car park, driveways and landscaping.

At the same time the international project team have concentrated on locating suitable donors and suppliers for the required medical and non-medical equipment, stores and furniture, and on working out how best to transport it to Bobo Dioulasso. Some progress has been made on securing donated equipment, but at this stage the exact items to be donated and their quantity and quality are still uncertain. The alternative of purchasing the equipment and supplies is not an option until sufficient funds have been raised.

We need your help! This can be by joining Clitoraid as a volunteer fundraiser, or by making a donation, or both! Whichever way you choose you will be helping FGM victims to regain their lives and contributing to the end of FGM.
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