Mariya Karimjee writes powerfully about her experience with female genital mutilation. [more inside]
Current TV previously & previously, the media company founded by Al Gore after the 2000 election, has picked up the kinds of in depth long form journalism being rapidly dropped by major networks, but has been tantalizingly unavailable for those without cable; until now. They have been putting their Vanguard episodes up on their website and on YouTube. [more inside]
The American Academy of Pediatrics is proposing that doctors be authorized to perform a “ritual nick” on the genitals of pre-pubescent girls in order to satisfy cultural requirements and hopefully stave off more invasive forms of Female Genital Cutting (FGC):
Most forms of FGC are decidedly harmful, and pediatricians should decline to perform them, even in the absence of any legal constraints. However, the ritual nick suggested by some pediatricians is not physically harmful and is much less extensive than routine newborn male genital cutting. There is reason to believe that offering such a compromise may build trust between hospitals and immigrant communities, save some girls from undergoing disﬁguring and life-threatening procedures in their native countries, and play a role in the eventual eradication of FGC. It might be more effective if federal and state laws enabled pediatricians to reach out to families by offering a ritual nick as a possible compromise to avoid greater harm. (source: PDF; not safe for work, contains line drawings of female genitalia.)
"The Kindest Cut" A Colorado surgeon is helping to restore sensation, biological structure and self-esteem to victims of female genital mutilation. She's "Trinidad's Transgender Rock Star"
Bowers performs the surgery free of charge, and the hospital caps its fees at $1,700. "...you cannot charge money to reverse a crime against humanity," she says. "Sexuality is a right."[more inside]
Amnesty International has a powerful new visual ad campaign against Female Genital Mutilation. Close-ups (SFW) of the ads in question are here and here. [more inside]
The Surgery of Love. Dr. James C. Burt was an Ohio gynecologist who circumcised over 2000 women without their consent over a period of 22 years. He didn’t operate in secret, and actually published a book about it in 1975, which he called “The Surgery of Love”. He claimed that female genitalia were "structurally inadequate" for intercourse, and that by removing their clitoral hoods and "realigning" the vagina, he could turn women into ”horny little mice” (PDF). His surgeries often left women with sexual dysfunction, infection and the need for corrective surgery. But although other doctors in the area knew about him, they dismissed the problems with a laugh: “Oh, I see Jim Burt got hold of you.” At least 10 women who tried to sue Burt had their cases dismissed when no doctors would testify against him, and when one doctor finally reported Burt to the state medical board after treating one of his victims, he was ostracized by the local medical community for breaking rank. But the lawsuits, and their attendant publicity, finally caused the Ohio State Medical Board to pressure Burt into voluntarily surrendering his license in 1989. Further attempts to sue were dismissed because of statutes of limitation and a 1987 law giving hospitals immunity from certain lawsuits. James Burt retired to a comfortable life in Florida, making no apology.
Islam Outlaws Female Genital Mutilation "After listening to several international physicians, they pronounced the sensational decision to classify the custom of female genital mutilation (FGM) as punishable aggression and crime against humanity. As a result, the custom can no longer be practiced by Muslims. Now awareness of this decision has to be spread in the 33 affected countries." [+ WHO] and [+ wp]