The Desert Flower, located in Zehlendorf, south Berlin, will be the first of its kind in Europe to offer physical and psychological care for victims of female genital mutilation with an estimated rate of 50-100 patients per year. The WHO estimates that approximately 140 million women have suffered FGM, with 50,000 currently living in Germany.
[Female circumcision,] also referred to as female genital mutilation (FGM), the World Health Organisation (WHO), states that the ritual procedure is carried out every 11 seconds, to varying degrees. These include cutting off a woman’s clitoris, sewing together her vagina, or even sewing together the entire genital region.
This can result in infection, incontinence and even fistulas – as the colon can be broken if the doctor is unskilled. Chronic pain and infertility are also possible consequences, as is an increased chance of a baby dying while it is being born – as their way out can be restricted due to badly healed scars and stitching.
This situation is much worse than what we normally seen done for boys here in America, where only the foreskin is cut off. While it can be argued that they should be stopped as well, they’re still far less invasive and significantly less damaging since urogenital function is wholly preserved. Not so for the overwhelming majority of women affected by this procedure. To have a clinic like this finally available in Europe for those who have escaped the barbarism is a huge step forward … and will give hope of a normal life for those who have been scarred both emotionally and physically.
In other news … this is going to be my last post for a while. I had originally intended to use this blog for writing about my thoughts and discussing interesting articles I found in the news, but it quickly turned into a daily thing early last year when I was waiting for work to start up … and then stayed that way long after my regular work schedule established itself. With some of the other “busyness” going on here, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to write every day without feeling like there just aren’t enough hours to do it all anymore. So, that said, I’m taking a bit of a break. I’ll probably still write some other Chick Tract dissections (they’re the most fun!) but I’m probably not going to get back into the “daily feed”, at least for the foreseeable future.
Besides, at this point, I think I’ve run out of the number of ways I can say the same things about the same issues. I feel less like I’m making any kind of difference and more like I’m shouting at the television when the news comes on. Now, don’t get me wrong, that can be cathartic, but in the end it’s ultimately unproductive. When things become a little more certain around these parts, I’ll probably join a local secularist / freethinker society, and do some writing for them. In the meantime, I’ll still be checking email and keeping up with some of the friends I’ve made in the blogosphere during the last couple of years.
Thanks to everyone for reading … and don’t worry, I’ll still be around. You can’t get rid of me that easily.