Tim Blair: MUTILATION NATION
FORMER sex discrimination commissioner Pru Goward says genital mutilation of girls is widespread as doctors here consider the practice.
“There’s not been one prosecution. People coming here as a refugee or a migrant need to have it explained to them it attracts a jail sentence, we will prosecute you and if they don’t like that they should apply to go to another country.”
The Royal Australian New Zealand College of Obstetricians will next month discuss backing “ritual nicks”, a modified form of genital mutilation.
With the rise in Somali and Sudanese living in Australia, doctors are seeing more cases of young girls, and women, needing surgery after illegal operations. Backers of “ritual nick” said it was a superficial procedure leaving no long-term damage.
RANZCOG secretary Gino Pecoraro said the policy would be discussed at next month’s Women’s Health Committee meeting.
“We will need to start to think about [its introduction] but we would have to speak to community leaders from Australia,” Dr Pecoraro said.
“If a nick could meet the cultural needs of a particular woman, then it might save her from going through what can really be drastic surgery.
“But we need to make sure we do not legitimise the ritualistic maiming of children.”
But many are outraged, some saying a “ritual nick” is still child abuse and legitimises female mutilation.
- Editorial: Cruel and barbaric
- Call to legalise genital mutilation
- Doctors consider ‘ritual’ procedure
- Cruel, brutal and barbaric
- Readers’ Comments: Genital mutilation is ‘culturally sensitive’
- Push to let Australian doctors mutilate genitals of baby girls | Courier Mail
Just a little “NICK”, right?
Warning: Graphic Stuff!
American Academy of Pediatrics reverses course, no longer accepts “symbolic” female genital mutilation
Good news — on a subject that should not have been up for any form of compromise in the first place — but good news, nonetheless, in an update onÂ this story. “Pediatricians now reject all female genital cutting,” by Stephanie Chen forÂ CNN (thanks to JW):
(CNN) — The American Academy of Pediatrics has rescinded a controversial policy statement raising the idea that doctors in some communities should be able to substitute demands for female genital cutting with a harmless clitoral “pricking” procedure.
Harmless? Compared to infibulation or clitoridectomy, but what about the psychological impact of what remains a ritualized sexual assault at the hands of one’s community — and almost with the approval of theÂ AAP?
And then there are the principles that are at stake: Equal protection under the law (where “culture” is not an excuse for trauma), and of course, that tenet of the Hippocratic Oath: “First do no harm.” And cutting without a medical reason certainly constitutes “harm.”
“We retracted the policy because it is important that the world health community understands theÂ AAPÂ is totally opposed to all forms of female genital cutting, both here in theÂ U.S.Â and anywhere else in the world,” saidÂ AAPÂ President Judith S. Palfrey.
The contentious policy statement, issued in April, had condemned the practice of female genital cutting overall. But a small portion of statement suggesting the pricking procedure riledÂ U.S.Â advocacy groups and survivors of female genital cutting.
In the April statement, the group raised the idea that some physicians should be able to prick or nick a girl’s clitoral skin in order to “satisfy cultural requirements.”The group likened the nick to an ear piercing.
So, if it’s that much of a harmless non-event, did everyone at theÂ AAPÂ who thought that would be okay line up to get their “nick?”
On Thursday theÂ AAPÂ stated the group will not condone doctors to provide any kind of “clitoral nick.”Â TheÂ AAPÂ also clarified nicking a girl or woman’s genitals is forbidden under a 1996 federal law banning female genital mutilation.
“I cried and told them how grateful I am,” said Soraya Mire, a Somali filmmaker and survivor of female genital cutting. “Thank you for understanding us survivors and hearing our voices.”
Equality Now, an international advocacy group fighting to end female genital cutting, echoed a similarly appreciative response.
“We welcome theÂ AAP’s decision to withdraw its 2010 policy statement onÂ FGM,” said Lakshmi Anantnarayan, a spokeswoman at Equality Now. “This is a crucial step forward in the movement to raise awareness about female genital mutilation….