October 25, 2016
Attitudes on FGM are Shifting
By Marian L. Tupy
The United States is in the midst of an election where allegations about mistreatment of women abound. But in parts of the world, women do not enjoy even the most basic of rights—let alone a shot at political leadership and power over their male counterparts. In some Middle Eastern, Central Asian and African countries, women are subjected to "honor killings," sex trafficking and slavery. Female genital mutilation belongs among the most serious violations of women's rights. In fact, as the World Health Organization explains, there are, four distinct types of FGM:
- Removal of the clitoral hood, the skin around the clitoris, with partial or complete removal of the clitoris.
- Removal of the labia minora, with partial or complete removal of the clitoris and the labia majora.
- Removal of all or part of the labia minora and labia majora, and the stitching of a seal across the vagina, leaving a small opening for the passage of urine and menstrual blood.
- Then there are miscellaneous acts of genital mutilation, including cauterization of the clitoris, cutting of the vagina, and introducing corrosive substances into the vagina to tighten it.
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