30 million girls world wide at risk for genital mutilation.

Unicef has put out a study revealing that tens of millions of young girls worldwide are facing the likelihood of having their genitals cut off.

More than 30 million girls are at risk of being subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) over the next decade, a study by Unicef has found.

It said more than 125 million girls and women alive today had undergone a procedure now opposed by the majority in countries where it was practised.

Ritual cutting of girls’ genitals is practised by some African, Middle Eastern and Asian communities in the belief it protects a woman’s virginity.

Unicef wants action to end FGM.

If not for believing it to be the will of god, who would look at their child and immediately think that they need to take a blade to their genitals?  Christopher Hitchens put it plainly: “The genital mutilation community is entirely religious.”  That should tell you something.

Take it away, Hitch (trigger warning, some of this is graphic).

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Zinc Avenger

    Female genital mutilation: Proving once and for all that some people will do anything, no matter how evil, harmful, or stupid, if someone says a god commands it.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/amilliongods Avicenna

      It’s less a god commanding it and more a “Well this is what people do, let’s subvert it using religion to make it a religious practice”.

      It’s why it’s found in both Christian and Muslim communities.

      • Zinc Avenger

        I defer to your greater and more immediate experience on this matter.

        Conformity is religion’s greatest rival and greatest enabler in the “performing evil” stakes.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/amilliongods Avicenna

    It is and isn’t religious.

    This is one of those things that has existed pre-religion that supports it. It’s found both in Christian and Muslim communities but isn’t universal. There is no proscribed part of either text that supports it but you CAN support it by interpretation and by local culture.

    Religion’s role in enforcing it is that supporters of the practice strengthen their arguments using religion.

    Let’s not faff around here. It is terrible. It’s quite horrid as a practice, unsanitary, pointless and above all harmful. The people who support it do so because it is tradition. Many of the women who support it often quote real gynaecologists who support it solely for cultural reasons in the same way that Jehovah’s Witness have doctors who hate blood transfusions.

    How to fight it? Two steps. First step sounds counterproductive.

    We medicalise FGM and encourage doctors to substitute the more harmful infundibulation with pricking or erstatz FGM procedures which satisfy the community but harm the girls less. This is not ideal but it’s job is to stop infundibulation or clitorectomies. Think “pricking the foreskin” vs. “removal of the clitoris and or labia and sutures”, it is infinitely preferable and may be useful to help girls avoid the worst of it.

    The second step is simultaneously try and get people to NOT opt for FGM at all.

    The reason for this is quite sensible. The FGM industry in female run and centred. We must take this out of the hands of the “cutters”. Medicalising it will reduce risks for the lesser procedures and cut the supply of wealth to the cutters and bypass the entire social structure set in place.

    It also gives doctors access to pre-cut girls so as to try and strong arm and cajole parents into not doing it. You can throw around some medical weight here.

    Which allows you to create amenable conditions for the second part of the plan.

    Outright bans drive it underground. Jailing parents clearly won’t work. You have to change the entire society and that requires some lateral thinking.

    Now this isn’t the issue in the UK or the USA where you need a more “strong” response since it is explicitly child abuse. This is the way to deal with the bulk of these cases in Asia and Africa.