Why Female Circumcision is legally not a part of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?Date Published - 2017-05-16 | Date Modified - 2017-06-24
There still seems to be a lot of confusion regarding Female Circumcision and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). For the sake of the International Agencies, The Child Abuse Agencies, The Human Rights Agencies, The legal system in many countries, The medical Health organisations and many other organisation and individuals who are showing keen interest in Female Circumcision making it equal to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) let us look into both of these methods in detail and the difference between them.
Why Female Circumcision is legally not a part of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?
The first and foremost difference between Female Circumcision and FGM is that these two procedures are carried on two different parts of the body of the woman.
Female Circumcision is carried out by the removal of the hood of the underdeveloped clitoris. Clitoris is located above the external genitals of female which involves in sexual activity. But FGM entails the removal of the parts of the genital organs or it is done on the genitals in female where the sexual activity is carried out.
So the major difference between Female Circumcision and FGM is that Female Circumcision is done above the genitals of female where sexual activity is carried out while FGM is done on the genitals of the female where sexual activity is carried out.
Second, Female Circumcision only the hood of the clitoris is removed. But in FGM parts of the organs of the female genitals is removed, in some cases the parts of genitals are also stitched together.
It would be very clear for woman who underwent female circumcision to understand the difference between Female circumcision and FGM. The medical authorities can also easily distinguish between female circumcision and FGM.
Female Circumcision helps the completion of the development of the underdeveloped clitoris. The Clitoris in uncircumcisied females are developed only till the muscle structure. There is no skin on top of the muscle. This makes the clitoris underdeveloped and also painful to touch and other activity, similar to the pain that is caused by an injury wherein muscle structure become exposed.
But since it is a perpetual pain the body tends to ignore it. But every uncircumcised woman has to bear the pain of having a underdeveloped clitoris all their life. But after Female circumcision the development of the underdeveloped clitoris is completed and there is a skin that grows on the muscle structure of the clitoris. This makes the clitoris like any other part of the body, giving it the protection of the skin.
Some people claim that there are many nerve endings on the hood of the clitoris, but that is a false claim because the hood of the clitoris is filled with glands producing a sticking substance called smegma that prevents the friction between the clitoris and the hood.
All the nerve endings that causes sexual arousal, orgasm and even climax are present on the clitoris, in uncircumcised people the hood retracts during sexual activity exposing the bare muscle structure of clitoris. Without the skin to protect it, along with the wonderful sensations one also feel great pain, due to the rubbing and trauma caused to the bare muscle structure during sexual activity.
But after circumcision when a skin developes over the clitoris the pain is gone completely and only wonderful sensations remain.
This skin also protects the clitoris from the invasion of microorganisms and virions of HIV into the body. Without the skin the microorganisms and virions of the viruses like HIV can just drop into the body through the unprotected muscle tissue.
Coming back to our differenciation between Female Circumcision and FMG, FMG can be clearly defined as the piercing, cutting, removing or sewing closed all or part of female external genitals where sexual activity takes place.
But Female circumcision is not carried out on the external gentials where the sexual activity takes place but it is carried out above the external genitals where the sexual activity takes place, by the removal of the hood of the underdeveloped clitoris.
Female circumcision also does not touch the underdeveloped clitoris but only removes the hood of the underdeveloped clitoris.
Since Female Circumcision is not done on the exteral gentials of woman where sexual activity takes place, it does not in anyway affect the sexuality or the sexual activity of the woman.
Female Circumcision is a medical procedure and is done under Female Genital Cosmetic Surgeries (FGSC). It is a part of the medical procedures called hoodectomy and labiaplasty and is legally accepted all around the world.
According to US Law (18 U.S. Code § 116 - Female genital mutilation): (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), whoever knowingly circumcises, excises, or infibulates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person who has not attained the age of 18 years shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
(b) A surgical operation is not a violation of this section if the operation is— (1) necessary to the health of the person on whom it is performed, and is performed by a person licensed in the place of its performance as a medical practitioner; or (2) performed on a person in labor or who has just given birth and is performed for medical purposes connected with that labor or birth by a person licensed in the place it is performed as a medical practitioner, midwife, or person in training to become such a practitioner or midwife.
(c) In applying subsection (b)(1), no account shall be taken of the effect on the person on whom the operation is to be performed of any belief on the part of that person, or any other person, that the operation is required as a matter of custom or ritual. - Cornell University of Law School
Here Female circumcision is treated as a part of FGM, but as said above these two procedures are proformed on different parts of the body and located on different places on the body of the woman. Just as a procedure done on the finger is not related to the palm of the hand although they are related, they should be considered separate.
People and press sometimes mistakenly refer to Female Circumcision or Clitoral Unhooding (Hoodectomy) to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Female Circumcision or Clitoral Unhooding is not a form of FGM. Clitoral Unhooding.com
Most of the children are born with Clitoral Phimosis. Clitoral Phimosis is a medical condition in which the hood of the underdeveloped clitoris is closely covering the underdeveloped clitoris tightly such that there is not enough space for the natural movement of the underdeveloped clitoris. Clitoral Unhooding.com
So if the parents of these children consent to the carrying out of Female circumcision or clitoral dehooding on their children by a qualified practitioner then it is completely legal procedure.
So if the lawmakers and activists who are confused between Female Circumcision and FGM, should first talk to these doctors:
Dr. Susan Kolb, Atlanta, Georgia (770) 457-4677
Dr. Michael Goodman, Davis, California (530) 753-2787
Dr. Edward Jacobson, Greenwich, Connecticut (203) 869-8360
Dr. Robert Jason, Manhattan and Long Island, New York (212) 324-0014
Dr. George Chambers, Las Vegas, Nevada (702) 463-0800
Dr. Bernard Stern, Miami, Florida (954) 483-7929
Dr. Uma Penmetsa, Rochester, New York (585) 473-2846
Dr. Federico Gonzalez, Olathe, Kansas (913) 782-0707
Dr. Mona Hardas, Flint, Michigan (810) 720-1790
And many other doctors who perform Female Circumcision or Clitoral Unhooding in USA and in many parts of the world. Clitoral Unhooding.com
All these doctors will tell you that Female Circumcision or clitoral unhooding is not same as FGM. Further more if there is a case about FGM being done on some person, if such a person could be examined by these doctors or those who have knowledge about Female Circumcision, they will confirm that the procedure carried out on the children is Female circumcision / clitoral dehooding or not. Female circumcision or clitoral unhooding it is done legally in USA and in all parts of the world.
Check out Youtube Video on Why Female Circumcision is legally not a part of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?
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