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Haiku: THE CUT…

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“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” Maya Angelou

Haiku: THE CUT... - FGM - Female Genital Mutilation must stop

Haiku: THE CUT… FGM – Female Genital Mutilation must stop

Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is the ritual removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. Typically carried out by a traditional circumciser using a blade or razor (with or without anaesthesia), FGM is concentrated in 27 African countries, Yemen and Iraqi Kurdistan, and found elsewhere in Asia, the Middle East, and among diaspora communities around the world.[8] The age at which it is conducted varies from days after birth to puberty; in half the countries for which national figures are available, most girls are cut before the age of five.[4] via Wikipedia

Helpless, She was cut…
Rusted razor, slicing deep
Thirty years ago…

A rite of passage
Unspeakable pain … and screams
Blood and tears flowing…

A week ago today, in collaboration with the UN, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of  International Youth Day. Since its creation in 1985, it has chosen yearly themes that address the needs of youth globally. This year, the theme is: Youth Civic Engagement. I love this theme because l believe it is an appropriate platform to help encourage our youth to speak out, in their communities, against outdated practices that dis-empower our young people. It is time to set aside traditions that are no longer useful and especially those like, child-bride arrangements/marriages and Female Genital Mutilation, that are forced on our youth and can cause great loss of life.

Over the years, many women, feminist and otherwise, have spoken out about it. Women’s issues advocates like Efua Dorkenoo, Molly Melching and, Writer/doctor Nawal el Saadawi, have written, campaigned, and spoken boldly about ending the practice. In some countries, Senegal and Nigeria come to mind, there have been positive outcomes; both because of government mandates and the effort of some communities eager to abandon these ritualistic cuttings. But, we still need to see it stopped everywhere.

“There is a plan and a purpose, a value to every life, no matter what its location, age, gender or disability.” Sharron Angle

Haiku: THE CUT... - FGM - Female Genital Mutilation must stop

Haiku: THE CUT… – FGM – Female Genital Mutilation must stop

A Mother keening
Over a deeply cut child
Dead … in a red pool

Tender parts exposed
The Circumciser’s blade raised
Lifetimes flashing by…

My Haiku is not a personal experience but told from the many, many stories I have read on the subject. In case you don’t know what it is: FGM/C is the cutting/removal of the external female genitalia. There are three types of it from Type I – which is a clitorectomy (the removal of the clitoris) to Type II – which is an Excision (the removal of the inner labia) to Type III –  Infibulation the most severe cut (the removal of the external genital and sewing up of the vulva). Many of these cuts are done without anesthesia and often without sterilized, surgical tools. Using a rusted blade or knife is not uncommon, and those who die of sepsis are looked down on as weak. Many young girls end up with mental health and female problems because of the FGM/C. Even with the controversies around the subject, it is truly time to end this practice everywhere in the world where it persists.

More Below!
“Sexual, racial, gender violence and other forms of discrimination and violence in a culture cannot be eliminated without changing culture.” Charlotte Bunch

Haiku: THE CUT... - FGM - Female Genital Mutilation must stop

Haiku: THE CUT… – FGM – Female Genital Mutilation must stop

Dirty tools bloodied…
Dreaded infibulation
FGM must stop…

Today, remember
A tradition’s myopia
Maims us, one and all…

“In this landmark year, as leaders prepare to adopt a bold new vision for sustainable development, the engagement of youth is more valuable than ever. At this critical moment in history, I call on young people to demand and foster the dramatic progress so urgently needed in our world.” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

To continue to practice traditions that harm our children, and justify it, by saying it is the way things have always been done is myopic at best. Recently, Nigeria took a big step by banning/abolishing the practice of Female Genital Mutilation throughout the country. While there was barely a bleep in the international community, it is an act of courage against a many centuries old form of female domination and oppression. To add insult to injury, the proliferation of this painful and dangerous act has become endemic in so many communities that leaders and those in a position to stop it, often turn a blind eye on it all. As we celebrate our youth during this important period of growth and change, we must come together to support and encourage them “to demand and foster the dramatic progress so urgently needed in our world.” We must add our voices to the conversation on stopping acts of violence against  girls and women globally. Speak Up. What are your thoughts on the subject?

My fellow bloggers were equally creative with their selections. Check out how others interpreted the theme – Helpless – below.

This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Daily Post: Weekly Photo Challenge:  Helpless –  Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it?

Positive Motivation Tip: Imagine the helplessness of young girls maimed without recourse. Speak out. Cherish your body and freedom.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos female circumcision ceremony, via Wikipedia and/or from my Personal Collection.

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

99 Comments leave one →
  1. amanda permalink
    19/08/2015 3:17 pm

    It is so incredibly sad that so many young girls and women are subjected to mutilation like this. Just makes me appreciate our health care system even more.

  2. Masshole Mommy permalink
    19/08/2015 3:58 pm

    It’s so sad to think of the horrible things that happen in other cultures – whether it is a tradition or forced.

  3. Scott permalink
    19/08/2015 5:53 pm

    In this day and age I am consistently surprised by some customs that are still tolerated. This being one of them…

  4. Christine - The Choosy Mommy permalink
    19/08/2015 6:09 pm

    I really just can’t imagine this happening. It is so sad and I am glad it has been banned. Hopefully that means it stops! <3 Christine,

  5. Liz Mays permalink
    19/08/2015 7:54 pm

    This is definitely a violent and inhumane tradition. It’s good to see it being phased out as education and empowerment spreads.

  6. Debbie Woodruff permalink
    19/08/2015 8:58 pm

    It is a very difficult subject even to read about, though important that we do. It feel so shocking that FMG still occurs. I’m happy that Nigeria has (finally) banned it, but I still worry that it will take much longer to weed it out of the culture of the people. Your Haiku is beautiful and tragic.

    • 06/09/2015 11:00 am

      TY Debbie! Even if it takes a bit longer, it is a great thing that it is banned. Now the local officials can put a stop to it.

  7. Debbie Denny permalink
    19/08/2015 9:08 pm

    I am so glad it is banned. Horrid thing.

  8. asocialvisionary permalink
    19/08/2015 11:40 pm

    I had no idea they used 3 different types of female mutilation. Thank You for bringing more awareness to these horrible acts committed on females. Reposting this! PS: I had tears and felt real physical pain when I read this.

  9. 20/08/2015 3:42 am

    Makes me sad to know this is happening to women in the world. Youth Civic Engagement is a great them for this years International Youth Day. Hopefully their voices can bring a change to old ideas.

  10. Eileen Mendoza Loya permalink
    20/08/2015 4:44 am

    This infuriates me! How I wish that there was not a single girl that had to go through this. But unfortunately, a lot of them did and I feel so sorry for them.

  11. Claudette Esterine permalink
    20/08/2015 5:51 am

    This is one of those issues that has me walking a challenging road…as I do want to respect others beliefs and there have been women in my life who have had the “procedure” who basically told me to butt out. I’m glad though to see Nigeria’s move.

  12. Nova permalink
    20/08/2015 6:54 am

    This is truly a great way they created this world youth day, in order for us adults celebrate about what we can help as well as those youth to voice out their perspectives.

  13. Liz Mays permalink
    20/08/2015 7:25 am

    I am so glad to see the ban starting to take foothold!

  14. shelahmoss permalink
    20/08/2015 8:08 am

    This is a horrible practice. Thank you for bringing attention to it.

  15. VICTORIA permalink
    20/08/2015 8:44 am

    This surely is bizarre, disturbing and interesting at the same time. I guess we can never jump into any conclusions since we all have our own unique cultures and traditions

    • 20/08/2015 1:31 pm

      The only thing unique about this practice is that women in some communities insist on continuing this barbaric and life threatening act. There is no justification for it and no need to excuse it as a cultural phenom. It is BARBARIC!

  16. Shann Eva permalink
    20/08/2015 9:27 am

    This is such a sad and scary and horrible thing that is still done to women and children today. It must be stopped. Thank you for spreading awareness.

  17. msposh2013 permalink
    20/08/2015 10:28 am

    I read a few weeks ago how many girls in the US are forced to do this. It is so sad for me to hear this.

  18. amittenfull permalink
    20/08/2015 11:17 am

    Thank you for writing this. I’m sitting here shaking after reading this. I’ve heard about these practices before, but never really understood and read into it. History has definitely been made with this new ruling. It’s unfortunate it took this long. Those Haikus are chilling and moving.

  19. Fatemah Sajwani permalink
    20/08/2015 11:37 am

    OMG I had no clue such things still exist. I am so glad that t has been banned now.

  20. 20/08/2015 11:51 am

    I have heard about FGM and I feel for these women who are a victim of this. I agree with you that it is time to out an end to this practice.

    • 20/08/2015 1:29 pm

      It is time! I wish people will stop hiding behind “It’s our culture and that’s the way things have always been… ” Wrong is wrong!

  21. 20/08/2015 12:49 pm

    Oh my, I am so sorry I can’t finish reading the post. Too harsh for me as I just gave birth to a girl especially. I’ll need a few month but I read the haiku. I can already imagine the pain.

  22. Kristen from The Road to Domestication permalink
    20/08/2015 1:07 pm

    What is the PURPOSE of this mutilation? Why is it done? I can’t even imagine!

    • 20/08/2015 1:27 pm

      There are so many reasons but most are based on beliefs that girls private parts are dirty and need to be cleaned up. There are also those who believe it will prevent women from cheating and so on… All are baseless.

  23. livingoffloveandcoffee permalink
    20/08/2015 2:16 pm

    I remember hearing about this horrendous act when I was in middle school, and I was still shocked more than 15 years later that it was happening. There are so many people in the fight that I hope it can be banned worldwide.

  24. Rosey permalink
    20/08/2015 2:55 pm

    Thank goodness it’s not personal experience. I can’t even imagine.

  25. Nicol permalink
    20/08/2015 3:16 pm

    this came up in the news recently and it just left me speechless. its just horrific

  26. Claudette Esterine permalink
    20/08/2015 5:34 pm

    This is one of those cultural issues that I walk along the thin line of interfering and acceptance. My daughter has a way of saying “If you like it, I love it,” and that has kinda been my approach on this, having been told to butt out so many time by women who are of this culture. On the other hand, I am happy to see the Government taking a stance.

    • 06/09/2015 10:49 am

      Those who tell you to butt out are in denial of the horrific practice. There is no justification for it anywhere in the world. Some defenders of the practice say that in the West, people have plastic surgery … as if that is an apt comparison. It is not the same as holding down a 5 year old and cutting out her vagina against her wish. F…. ing murderers!!! 🙁

  27. Carly Anderson permalink
    20/08/2015 5:56 pm

    So scary, I can’t imagine this being the norm in my own home!

  28. toughcookiemommy permalink
    20/08/2015 6:09 pm

    I think it is so wonderful that changes are starting to be made on this issue. It is such a horrific cultural practice.

  29. 20/08/2015 6:40 pm

    Phew, it was hard to read this post. What baseless acts on their women.

  30. Yvonne Bertoldo permalink
    20/08/2015 7:02 pm

    I’ve read about this before and it’s just WRONG. I know it has been a tradition and we have to respect each others belief, but its just too dangerous for these women to undergo a non sterile operation such as removing parts of the genital T_T

  31. Jaime permalink
    20/08/2015 7:23 pm

    I can’t imagine being the girl, much less the mother of the girls this is happening to. It’s so senseless.

  32. kitchnwhisperer permalink
    20/08/2015 7:56 pm

    So very sad for these poor women who are forced to undergo these procedures. Proud to support those who fight for the women to protect their own bodies.

  33. klg1982 permalink
    20/08/2015 8:15 pm

    I learned about this in cultural anthropology in college 10 plus years ago, and I am still disturbed by it.

  34. Stephanie Pass permalink
    20/08/2015 9:10 pm

    I just hope with its banning, that it actually is stopped. Laws can be made, but if they aren’t followed, it does nothing to stop something so horrific.

  35. 20/08/2015 10:38 pm

    It’s way past time that this stopped. I remember reading Waris Dirie, that was when the full horror cut me.

  36. Fred permalink
    21/08/2015 2:46 am

    This is a very sensitive subject matter indeed especially for women and girls of Africa. The term genital mutilation sounds barbaric already as it is. I wonder if male circumcision will also go this way in the future. – Fred

  37. Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes permalink
    21/08/2015 2:48 am

    This is so brutal and I’m still surprised that in the 21st century it still exists.

  38. Anne V permalink
    21/08/2015 3:26 am

    My heart can’t take this even when I know it happens in real life. It’s a sad reminder of how harsh and cruel the world can be, genital mutilation will never be right no matter what those who chose to perform it say. It’s inhuman.

  39. Chanel Marie permalink
    21/08/2015 3:29 am

    I cannot even grasp the pain of FGM! It just blows me away!

  40. Rebecca Swenor permalink
    21/08/2015 5:10 am

    I have heard about this years ago and could not believe they actually did this to young women. It truly is outrageous and I am so glad it is being outlawed in some place. It need to be outlawed everywhere. Thanks so much for spreading the word.

  41. Boho Chic permalink
    21/08/2015 5:51 am

    I can’t believe that this goes on but it does. I first learned about female general mutilation in college history and I was shocked that it happens. And that their moms/parents/family of all people condone and insist on it.

  42. 21/08/2015 7:27 am

    this is so disturbing! i’ve heard of FGM before but didn’t wanna go read more into it, to avoid unnecessary trauma. i really do not understand why this practice come about in the first place!

  43. Chanel Marie permalink
    21/08/2015 7:30 am

    FGM being banned in Nigeria is a big step towards having it stopped in other countries for good! ^_^

  44. Pooja Kawatra Gupta permalink
    21/08/2015 7:50 am

    Seriously i never heard about it and really got goosebumps when i have finished reading the first half. I can’t imagine the pain they must have gone shoudl be stopped.

  45. Franc Ramon permalink
    21/08/2015 8:29 am

    Female Genital Mutilation looks like a scary procedure for ladies. It’s the modern era. They should stop doing this.

  46. sinyees permalink
    21/08/2015 8:46 am

    I heard about this in some news. Pity to those who undergo this pain. Hope they can stop it one day. Although it is not easy to do that.

  47. PrayerFull Mum permalink
    21/08/2015 8:56 am

    It’s my first time hearing of FGM/C and I concur with you. This tradition leaves a bad taste in the mouth. And all those who died, their deaths are in vain :/

  48. Papaleng Pagulong permalink
    21/08/2015 8:59 am

    This FGM issue hugged the news ealry last week. Sad, but this practice must be stop.. Nice Haiku about the issue.

  49. Tiffany Yong permalink
    21/08/2015 11:05 am

    Yes, I read about this some time back and it’s very sad to be hearing how women are being suppressed like that!

  50. Jessica permalink
    21/08/2015 12:36 pm

    I remember hearing about this when I was a little girl, even remember a tv special done about it. It is crazy to think that this happened and has gone on for this long.

  51. Dhemz permalink
    21/08/2015 2:38 pm

    such an eye opener…great article! I love the photos by the way.

  52. Travel Quest permalink
    21/08/2015 3:51 pm

    The only body piercing i am totally agree for is on the ear no more no less. This must be very painful.

  53. thedomesticbuzz permalink
    21/08/2015 4:18 pm

    This is such an awful practice! Good for Nigeria – now I hope other countries follow suit.

  54. Lee Rosales permalink
    21/08/2015 4:45 pm

    I still dont understand why such cultures will have FGM/C! To prevent from cheating so they had to stitch the whole genital, OMG!!!

  55. SweetMemoirs Page permalink
    21/08/2015 6:31 pm

    I agree with Victoria. This is disturbing and interesting at the same time.

  56. Nova permalink
    21/08/2015 7:19 pm

    It is so nice to know that women now have the same rights as man.

  57. Amanda McMahon permalink
    21/08/2015 8:25 pm

    Genital mutilation is harsh and sad. I hope both boys and girls are protected soon.

  58. Ling Tan permalink
    21/08/2015 8:42 pm

    Many of these practices are deep-rooted in culture and beliefs of ages gone by, for many reasons. I definitely agree that we need to empower women and children to move forward in the modern world we live in today.

  59. Sunshine Kelly permalink
    21/08/2015 10:42 pm

    I am really saddened to know about d Female Genital Mutilation. This is my first time come across such injustice against women, why they must to do? is just killing the girl teenage or could cause severe illness or infections. Plus I could not comprehend what is the benefit of doing this? This is inhuman and must stop.

  60. 21/08/2015 10:50 pm

    I heard about this practice before and I think is a crime…why those girls should be mutilated….I was very unpleasent impressed :(.

  61. Ashley permalink
    21/08/2015 11:20 pm

    It’s such a tragic practice, one laced in age old tradition that needs to stop. Heck, we cut our boys here in America too — WHY!? My son is intact. Thankful my hubby made me question the “norm”.

  62. Shannon P permalink
    21/08/2015 11:50 pm

    This hurts my heart to know that it still happens. I just don’t understand how people can be so cruel.

  63. Papaleng Pagulong permalink
    22/08/2015 3:02 am

    Good god, this barbaric ritual has finally met it ends at the expense of more than 130 million women .

  64. Jeanette Mays permalink
    22/08/2015 4:55 am

    I remember seeing a show about FGM last year on the history channel. That is a very outdated and horrid practice that needs to stop.

  65. Jonathan Key permalink
    22/08/2015 6:16 am

    This is so sad and tragic. I couldn’t make it through the whole article. I have a little girl and I couldn’t imagine this happening to her.

  66. Chanel Marie permalink
    22/08/2015 1:19 pm

    FGM in my opinion is not good for women and I wish it’ll stop forever!

  67. Dawn McAlexander permalink
    22/08/2015 8:37 pm

    Maya Angelou is such an inspirational person. That was a beautiful quote.

  68. Camesha | Mama Motivator permalink
    22/08/2015 11:26 pm

    This has always been so disturbing to me. No rational basis at all for putting girls/women through so much pain. I’m glad more places are banning the practice. I wish it would have happened sooner.

  69. Maria Teresa Figuerres permalink
    23/08/2015 8:46 pm

    Female genital mutilation is a curse, a barbaric tradition that impairs and shames women. It should be banned forever.

  70. phyliciamarie permalink
    23/08/2015 10:58 pm

    I was actually very very very happy for Nigeria when i read about the news about banning FGM there, it really is about time we abolish this horrific, life-threatening, outdated practice. Your haikus, beautifully capture the emotion of the women who experienced this, although they do sound dark, but I guess that’s the point.

  71. Teresa Martinez permalink
    24/08/2015 4:44 am

    This practice should have been stopped a long time ago. In fact, it should not have been started at all. I am hoping no girl will ever go through this again.

  72. Teresa Martinez permalink
    24/08/2015 4:51 am

    I truly hope this practice is completely stopped as this is something no girl should ever go through.

  73. 24/08/2015 5:17 am

    i can’t imagine this mutilation…and thanx that this was stopped

  74. meunfinished permalink
    24/08/2015 2:29 pm

    I have barely been able to fathom the ache and pain that comes from female mutilation… This is a physical as well as an emotional issue and that it was finally banned by one of the countries prominent in the practice is surely a step in the right direction. I pray that more of those customs would be abolished. Thank you for sharing on this tough but real issue!

    • 06/09/2015 8:58 am

      Thank you! It is long overdue for a clean sweep across nations. It maims and kills little girls and has no medical or cultural value.

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