Moreover, the small opening is kept patent by inserting a small piece of wood or matchstick to allow the passage of urine and menstrual blood (Rimsza pp).
Antiseptic powders or pastes, containing herbs, milk, eggs, ashes or dung, which are believed to facilitate healing, may be applied (Female2 pp). The girl is then usually taken to a designated place to recover where, if the mutilation has been carried out as part of an initiation ceremony, traditional teaching is imparted (Female2 pp). For the very financially wealthy, the mutilation procedure may be performed by a qualified doctor in hospital under local or general anaesthetic (Female2 pp).
Female genital mutilation can result in lifelong medical consequences (Hamilton pp). Because the clitoris contains numerous blood vessels, including the dorsal artery, women who have been genitally mutilated risk death from hemorrhaging, according to Dr. Henriette Kouyate, a gynecologist based in Senegal (Hamilton pp). The girls may suffer from stress and shock resulting from the pain, and because they are often taken away without being informed as to what is about to happen to them, may also experience psychological trauma for the rest of their lives (Hamilton pp). Infection may spread to internal organs, and women may experience lifelong severe pain during urination (Hamilton pp).
Women who have been infibulated may find that the minute orifice left is too small to let pass all menstrual blood, thus, resulting in a buildup of blood in the vagina which can lead to an infection that causes sterility (Hamilton pp). Moreover, because the primary instrument used in female genital cutting is usually used on at least two girls in a row before boiling the blade to sterilize it or changing to another blade, there is a wide risk of spreading AIDS (Hamilton pp).
The infibulated woman must be defibulated, that is, cut open, prior to intercourse, by her new husband who will often use a sword, knife, or razor, and it can take up to three months before the husband can penetrate his wife, resulting in painful intercourse for the woman, often for the rest of her life (Hamilton pp). Some African men are now reporting that they would prefer to marry a woman who is not genitally mutilated, indicating that the men would prefer a woman who could enjoy sexual intercourse and take pleasure in sex (Hamilton pp). Furthermore, in infibulated women, there are complications during childbirth, says Kouyate, "an area which is normally elastic has become a cicatrix area," thus, when an infibulated woman gives birth, massive tearing occurs not only where her vulva is stitched shut but may extend above and below this area (Hamilton pp). Those women who cannot be treated in a hospital are left to tear, "at the top causing massive hemorrhaging," says Kouyate, "at the bottom even worse - the tear can enlarge, extending to the anus, so that women can no longer contain their feces" (Hamilton pp).
In 1997, the United Nations Population Fund, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Children's Fund adopted a joint plan to bring about a major decline in female genital mutilation in ten years and to completely eliminate this practice within three generations (UN pp). As of 1997, seven states had passed legislation related to female genital mutilation in the same manner as the federal law, prohibiting its practice and instituting criminal sanctions (Reproductive pp).
Female Genital Cutting. Retrieved July 04, 2005 from Women for Women Web site: http://womenforwomen.org/rarfgc.html
Female1 Genital Mutilation. (1997, April 01). Contemporary Women's Issues
Database. Retrieved July 04, 2005 from HighBeam Research Library Web site.
Female2 Genital Mutilation. Retrieved July 04, 2005 from Amnesty.org Web site: http://www.amnesty.org/ailib/intcam/femgen/fgm1.htm
Hamilton, Amy. (1993, December 01). What is female genital mutilation?
Contemporary Women's Issues Database. Retrieved July 04, 2005 from HighBeam Research Library Web site.
Reproductive Freedom in Focus-Legislation on Female Genital Mutilation in the United States. (1997, January 01). Contemporary Women's Issues Database. Retrieved July 04, 2005 from HighBeam Research Library Web site.
Rimsza, Mary. (2001, May 01). Medical Complications of Female Genital
Mutilation. Journal of American College Health. Retrieved July 04, 2005 from HighBeam Research Library Web site.
UN Agencies Pledge to End Female Genital Mutilation. (1997,…