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of FGM

I'm posting this for a student who's working on a paper: she's on the other side of the world from me atm and asked for the reference. It's from "The Vagina Monologues" by Eve Ensler, a world-famous play that's raised more than 50 millions of USD in benefit performances to help women all over the planet.

You can read more at http://www.vday.org


"Vagina Fact:

Gential mutilation has been inflicted on 80 million to 100 million girls and young women. In countries where it is practiced, mostly African, about two million youngsters a year can expect the knife -- or the razor or a glass shard -- to cut their clitoris or remove it altogether, and to have part or all of the labia sewn together with catgut or thorns.

Often the operation is prettified as "circumcision." The African specialist Nahid Toubia puts it plain: In a man it would range from amputation of most of the penis, to "removal of all the penis, its roots of soft tissue and part of the scrotal skin."

Short-term results include tetanus, septicemia, hemorrhages, cuts in the urethra, bladder, vaginal walls, and anal sphincter. Long-term: chronic uterine infection, massive scars that can hinder walking for life, fistula formation, hugely increased agony and danger during childbirth, and early deaths."

pages 67 and 68. Ensler, Eve. The Vagina Monologues, rev.ed. New York: Villard Books, 2008.

The news story from which this was excerpted and adapted by Miss Ensler appeared in the 12th April 1996 edition of The New York Times.

Since this was more than 12 years ago, I'm sure the total is higher now. And that's a comment from Brad not from Eve.

When we did this at the University of Vermont from the stage of the Chapel [amazing location], the actress who performed it got very quiet and slowed down as she approached the end, and with a reverence you'd usually expect to find at a graveyard, conveyed the pain being felt by the victims.

Parts of the script are very funny, but this part of course is not, and our capacity crowd of nine hundred was absolutely stone silent.

::: ::: ::: ::: ::: ::: :::

Two million girls a year, who undergo this, is something like SEVEN THOUSAND EACH DAY.

Just totally boggles the mind and wrenches the heart.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 6th, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
It's too bad you don't know Russian - there's a blogger here on LJ who's been a doctor in Africa for a few years. She wrote a lot about how women were medically treated there, including gynecological issues and obviously, female circumcision.
Jul. 6th, 2008 08:58 pm (UTC)
Sounds interesting and first-hand: could you point me her way? Maybe I can find a translator ....

I think what I get out of all this is some feeling about how powerful cultural influences, traditions, and prejudices can be -- "prejudice" in the literal sense of 'pre-judging' -- in the face of trying to make any meaningful reforms rather than just having to perform corrective medical surgeries generation after generation .... which also hurt any girl as well, after the anesthesias wear off :(
Jul. 8th, 2008 10:46 am (UTC)
So here comes Liduine Crowley as my new Friend. the whole thing is in Russian so I assume you sent her! Thanks!

I'm assuming she can read English also, if she wants to get any news from me :P

All this just might inspire me to go pick up a basic Russian grammar, too. When I get peeved and frustrated going word-by-word, I'll call up Mari ... =)
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 7th, 2008 05:47 am (UTC)
I was born in Ukraine.
Jul. 7th, 2008 09:31 am (UTC)
Once again, thanks so much!

It's making me so sad, this research. As someone who was raised a Muslim, someone with African blood, someone who is a girl...but more than that, as a human being.

Still, the more research there is, the better chance this will change.

Jul. 7th, 2008 09:41 am (UTC)
I'm thankful *I* can help *you*, Nurzi!

Traveling today, and I will be reading the whole book again. The terrible and the funny parts too.

YESSSSS the more research there is, and the more publicity about it that there is too. And *your* research is going to help in some way, too. Maybe lots of ways.

I'm amazed about the journey Kiota's Cambodia project is leading me on. As it's unrolling here in my life right now, just amazed.

As a matter of fact, you're one part of this journey too, because we first started talking as two of her LJ Friends :)
Jul. 7th, 2008 09:45 am (UTC)
Oop double-comment, stop with the strawberries, switching to rose petals.

All this is fun, Nurzi. Especially since it's not *me* that has to produce the paper and hand it in! lol

I think maybe you should read it in front of your class as your own personal Vagina Monologue. You could rant and be all dramatic. Then they would get all fired up to go DO something. Or at least think about it ....
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


kiota too late for the stars
Moonfire Marion Bridge / Brad

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