Thursday, November 02, 2006

FGM in the United States?

On Wednesday, November 1, 2006, an Ethiopian man from the United States was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Although the man was of African descent, he was tried in the US, which became the country's first such circumcision case. The Ethiopian man circumcised his 2-year-old daughter with scissors in 2001 and was eventually arrested for his action. The case has recently fueled a debate in Africa where some approve of the punishment while others believe that people should learn to understand the purpose behind female circumcision (or female genital mutilation-FGM). The practice of female circumcision is actually widespread throughout Africa although the United States even recognizes at a reason to grant asylum. About 3 million girls are mutilated or cut each year throughout Africa because it has become a custom to many cultures and is believed to reduce women’s sexual desire and lesson promiscuity. Should those beliefs be worth the possible infection, pain, psychological harm, problems with urination, and complications with childbirth later in life caused by female genital mutilation? Sadly, people accept such a destructive process as tradition, even in the 21st century. But why? How can it occur in the United States?

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