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Warrior Marks

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Warrior Marks

Female circumcision is a traditional ritual that is mostly practiced in Africa on young girls with ages that vary from birth to pre-pubescent. It is reported to have its origins (with varying degrees of reliability) in ancient Egypt. Female circumcision was also discovered being practiced in western India and eastern Asia until it was outlawed around the turn of the 20th century (common era). The procedure is varied through three different types of circumcision: Infibulation, clitoridectomy and Sunna. Clitoridectomy and Sunna are minor version of the circumcision with Infibulation being the most drastic. These practices cause serious health hazards in some women, which become greater in adult years with the introduction of menstruating, intercourse and childbirth.

Clearly, there must be a powerful reason for this procedure to continue given the complications and mandatory repetitious post surgeries. Some accounting must be taken in order to understand why women are put in such peril. The answer lies in culture. A person's culture and background define the belief system and understanding that a person holds as innate truth. All choices and decisions are made because of culture and anything that is in direct opposition to culture affects the decision process and their beliefs. Other important elements to understanding the continuance of female circumcision are social and religious traditions, power/alienation relationships, and aesthetic tastes. Is this longstanding tradition necessary and if so are there ways to incorporate more conducive (sterile instruments, medically certified/experienced doctors, age limit, etc.) methods of performing the operation? However unnecessary an outsider may think the practice is, the irrevocable fact is that this tradition is an important element of cultural identity. If the operation somehow was not completed by a certain age in the girls life, she would be encouraged by her peers as well as her elders to seek out and request the circumcision.

Different from most traditional practices in African, female circumcision is exclusively reserved for women's presence and men are excluded from detailed knowledge of specific events. Females normally have these operations performed on them before or at puberty. It is common for the mother or other close relative usually holds the girl in paralyzing restraints while the procedure is being carried out. Furthermore, there is great celebration involved surrounding the whole ceremony when it is completed. She is welcomed back into the community where she will receive her birth rites that would have been denied to her without the circumcision.

The custom has been deeply rooted in the cultural patterns of many countries and has been performed since remotest time in both the interior regions and in the few coastal towns. This cultural ritual is one of the very few practices that are not determined by an exclusive class system. The procedure is most commonly the girls first of many rites of passage into adulthood. Without this ceremony, she may not be allowed to proceed further in any context of being an adult.

To make any comments, judgments, or suggestion, we must first attain a complete understanding of the procedures and place an honest and sincere effort in understanding the cultural basis for the incident. An intelligent analysis cannot be made without these things. A discussion towards eradicating the practice is being launched purely on the misunderstanding and shock factor that outsiders received when they learn of the cultural ritual. However heinous we take the practice to be, we will never understand or realize the serious implication of not having the procedure done.

What is Female Circumcision?

Female Circumcision is the act of cutting, reshaping and sewing together of the female genitals. It's basic purpose for implementation is to maintain the virginity of all females until their wedding night and to maintain their chastity after every birth of a child. Because of the way the surgery is performed and the lasting effects on the patient, it is considered genital mutilation in other countries and has been outlawed in the last several years. The circumcision is done most of the time while the female is between the age of birth and four years. However the next statistic shows a significant age of ten to thirteen. This is disturbing because at this time there have been extensive development of nerves in the patient and the level of pain will inevitably increase. There is a medical procedure that is outlined in the Piercing Fans International Quarterly (P.F.I.C.) that outlines and explains the procedure that could be replaced for what is know as clitoridectomy. The justification for the operation appears to be largely grounded in a desire to terminate or reduce feelings of sexual arousal in women so that they will be less like to engage in pre-marital sex. Possibility of orgasm is also reduced. The clitoris holds a massive number of nerve endings and generates extensive feelings when stimulated.

Infibulation

Infibulation is the most drastic form of female circumcision. It is statistically the highest form of the surgical procedure. The process is defined to simply mean to fasten. A fibula was a metal clasp like our modern safety pin and indeed, fibulae were used for most of the purposes for which we use safety pins today. The purpose of a fibulae in infibulation, is to form a barrier over the vaginal entry from the subject's own labia is to preserve "Chastity" by temporarily preventing sexual intercourse. Female Circumcision is accomplished by first excising clitoris and labia minora, second abrading the inner edges of the labia majora, and third either sewing the abraded edges together or tying the knees and thighs together until the abraded edges adhere and heal together in a cicatrice. It is most often done when the girl is quite young. Too, it is done more often than not under abjectly unsanitary conditions.

Infibulation is not a single operation since the small opening originally left for urine and blood is not sufficiently large to allow intercourse. Thus, the husband or some other individual must uninfibulate the female enough to allow intercourse on the wedding night. The closing of the vulva to its post-wedding night size is repeated after every child is born. This is called reinfibulation.

Clitoridectomy / Sunna

Sunna circumcision involves the removal of the prepuce covering the clitoris gland and often the removal of the clitoris gland itself. Occasionally when only the prepuce is to be removed, the clitoris is still damaged.

Another form of female circumcision

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