On Friday, 25th November people around the world will support UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s ‘UNiTE to End Violence against Women’ campaign, but each and every year another three million young girls have their sexual organs cut out by the horrific tribal practice known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Since 2007 Clitoraid, the international charity dedicated to opposing FGM, has supported this important day. This year volunteers will be organizing events around the world, mostly on Friday, 25th November, to oppose FGM and promote the possibility of victims having surgery to repair their Clitoris.
“The ‘right of the body’ should be written into the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” declared Dr Brigitte Boisselier, President of Clitoraid. "We support the proposal by other international organizations that if all human beings are born free and equal then above all they must have an inalienable ‘right of the body’, meaning that the integrity, dignity and autonomy of their bodies should not be violated against their will. Obviously, performing FGM on innocent young girls is totally contrary to all human rights.”
Traditional midwives, mothers and female relatives perform this brutal mutilation on girls from infancy to their mid-teens because of ancient superstitions that date back thousands of years to the Egypt of the pharos. Even though it is illegal in most countries, and is opposed by all major religions, the practice continues. Indeed, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports, ‘some 100 to 140 million women and girls worldwide are living with the consequences of FGM.’ About 92 million of these live in Africa, but with increased immigration in recent years this practice has now spread to the west.
Clitoraid is an international charity founded in 2006 by Raël, spiritual leader of the Raelian Movement to not only speak out against FGM, but also to overcome the practice in a more practical way – by allowing women to choose to have inexpensive surgery that (as much as is possible in each case) repairs the mutilations, restores physical pleasure and makes complications in childbirth less likely.
Boisselier continues, “Dr. Pierre Foldès, a French surgeon of Hungarian origin, developed this surgical procedure, commonly known as FGM Reversal, 25 years ago. He then taught it to US surgeon Dr Marcie Bowers, and between them they have now trained more doctors. Together these remarkable surgeons are, thanks to science, able to help FGM victims to recover their dignity and pleasure.”
Since 2007 Clitoraid has assisted twenty-eight women from across Africa to have operations, many of these now live in first world countries such as Australia, Austria, Canada, Japan, the UK, the USA and Switzerland. There are a further twenty-four on the waitinglist in the USA, but over 300 who have requested the surgery still live in West Africa, and for them the cost is insurmountable.
Even though the doctors volunteer their time it costs $1700 for a typical FGM Reversal procedure in the United States, and similar amounts in other western countries (although, in France, the typical cost of 3000 Euros is covered through social security). Clitoraid has responded to this challenge by raising over US$125,000 to construct a small surgical hospital dedicated to FGM reversal near the town of Bobo Dioulasso in the central West African country of Burkina Faso. Komkasso Hospital, meaning ‘the women’s house’ is nearing completion and, if funding can continue to be raised, should open in 2012.
Currently, in Burkina Faso, the operation costs about US$500 (around 350 Euros), which is an insurmountable sum for most people in West Africa, but the Komkasso Hospital hopes to offer the procedure for free, or at least at a minimal cost. However, the completion of the hospital and the actual cost will depend upon the generosity of the donors around the world. As the head of Clitoraid, Brigitte Bosselier, explains “It doesn’t matter whether people contribute ten dollars or a million, what counts is their determination, according to their means, to help these women and to end this barbaric practice and to allow these cruelly treated women to experience the pleasures that should always have been theirs.”
Clitoraid will be organizing events around the world prior to and on Friday, 25th November, to oppose FGM, rape, wife beating and all other forms of violence against women. In:
- Australia stand and fundraising during Melbourne Sexpo (nov. 24th to 27th)
- Canada “silent marches” will be held in Montréal, Québec, Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto.
- France street actions to inform about the cause will be held in Bordeaux, Nice, Colmar, Remiront
- Holland stand and fundraising during the Erotic fair in Hesselt (nov. 19th and 20th)
- Italy fundraising event in shopping centers will be held in Rimini
- Japan informing actions about the cause will be held on internet
- Korea informing actions about the cause will be held on internet
- Switzerland fundraising event will be held in Sierre (nov. 21st)
Actions will also take place in USA and Israel.
Donations may be made through http://clitoraid.org/donate
, and both cash and in kind donations of suitable equipment and supplies are welcome.
For information and interview requests please contact Clitoraid press office.
Further information is available at:http://www.un.org/en/events/endviolenceday/index.shtmlhttps://www.facebook.com/clitoraidhttp://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/index.htmlhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Foldèshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4D93q1mXQs&feature=player_embeddedhttp://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/http://clitoraid.org/donate