Mutilazione genitale femminile

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La mutilazione genitale femminile (MGF/FGM) - chiamata anche, "taglio genitale femminile" (FGC),[1] ed eufemisticamente[rw] "circoncisione femminile" - è una orribile barbarie culturale principalmente presente in Africa sub-sahariana e Africa orientale, ma anche in alcune parti del sud est asiatico. È anche effettuata illegalmente in paesi occidentali dove immigrati e loro discendenti tagliano via i genitali delle loro figlie in segreto. La legge sulla MGF è molto rigida nei paesi occidentali. È illegale nella maggior parte di questi, oltre che ad alcuni paesi in via di sviluppo, e trasportare appositamente la bambina in un altro paese per potere effettuare l'operazione è anch'esso illegale. La specifica procedura varia in quattro livelli differenti di abuso, che vanno dal simbolico inserimento di un ago a completi taglia e cuci dell'intera vagina. I costi che la ragazza paga crescendo variano in base alla severità della mutilazione. Questo va da serie infezioni (visto che non è solitamente eseguita da medici esperti o con attrezzatura sterilizzata), difficoltà nell'urinazione, severo dolore, disfunzione sessuale, una possibile perdita di tutta la stimolazione sessuale e difficoltà nel parto. In alcuni casi/culture la mutilazione è parte di un rito culturale volto all'assicurarsi l'astinenza sessuale e il controllo del corpo e sessuale. Può essere eseguita dalla madre o dal padre, nonni, parenti o "esperti" locali. In alcuni paesi questa pratica sembra intoccabile mentre in altri (Djibouti e paesi centroafricani) ha mostrato un decremento nella severità delle mutilazioni e nel numero di ragazze mutilate.

Severità della mutilazione[modifica]

Da completare: Tradurre. FGM has been categorized into four different levels of brutality. A clitoridectamy (type I) involves the painful removal of the clitoral prepuce. Excision (type II) involves the agonizing removal of the full outer genitalia including the clitoris and labia. If that level of butchery is not considered satisfactory an especially vicious mutilation awaits the victim known as Infibulation (level III). At this highest category of physical and sexual violence, the girl's clitoris and labia are hacked off and the vagina is partially sewn shut and left to heal over, resulting in a wall of tissue over the vagina with only a small orifice for urination (and possible medical complications).

As a way to maintain the ceremonial ritual yet not damage the child's body, in some countries (notably Eretrea and Djibouti) Type IV (nicking, scraping, piercing) is a symbolic prick on the labia or clitoris that is painful, but unlikely to cause lasting physical harm. It is seen by some as a compromise between tradition and a child's well being, however, it still involves a ritual where several adults (possibly family members) touch a little girl's private parts in a way that imparts that there is something dangerous/taboo about their sex organs. The severity of the vagina/clitoris chopping is different from country to country and family to family and in some places type III full out butchery is rare. Thankfully type IV is becoming common in a few countries, hopefuly as part of a path towards the end of FGM. While some forms of FGM may be notably more severe than others, it is unlikely that a girl would take much comfort in the fact that the slicing off of part of their genitals could have been worse somewhere else.

A fifth type also exists, which is in some ways the opposite of type III. This practice is known as introcision and it involves cutting or tearing the vagina with sticks, knives, or string in order to enlarge it. This is primarily found among Indigenous Australians rather than in Africa. It is usually performed on underage girls, sometimes forcibly and in conjunction with rape. [2]

Consequences of female genital mutilation depend on the severity of the procedure, but can include inability of the woman to enjoy sex, genitourinary tract complications, increased risk of fatality during childbirth,[3] and the risk of infection or death from the unsafe conditions under which the procedure is done.[3]. Such an act would be considered manslaughter in civilised countries.

Infibulation in particular is used to enforce sexual abstinence, at least until marriage when the vaginal covering is broken before or during penetration.

Vaginal steaming and other forms of "dry sex" (using plants and other astringents) are also sometimes classified alongside FGM, but are temporary. However, they have many health risks and are a major contributor to the spread of HIV in the region.

Another closely related procedure, although focusing on the breasts rather than the genitalia, is breast ironing. This occurs primarily in Cameroon, and may have spread to the Cameroonian diaspora.


  • Paura di non essere accettate o essere considerate delle sgualdrine immodeste[4].
  • Perché si è sempre fatto così[4].
  • Perché il clitoride è "brutto e sporco"[5] e assomiglia a un pene[6][7].
  • Perché lo vuole l'uomo magico nel cielo[8], seppur le sue opinioni variano di zona geografica in zona geografica e seppur la pratica preceda sia Islam che Cristianità.
  • Impedisce una sessualità 'illecita'/'immodesta', o che fornisca 'troppo' piacere. Il che non colpisce visto che il 70-80% delle donne ha bisogno di stimolazione clitoridea per raggiungere un orgasmo[9][10][11][12].
  • Permette di impedire penetrazioni finché la donna non trova il giusto proprietario il giusto sposo, dopo cui si può riaprire[4].


WHO's definition[modifica]

The World Health Organization, in an attempt to bring focus to the issue and hopefully outlaw the practice worldwide, has provided the definition as "all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons." [13]

Historical context[modifica]

Female and male tribal markings, including genital markings, have long been a part of human culture as a way to say "you are part of our tribe, and not that tribe", as a way of acknowledging membership to the tribe via the sacrifice of flesh or blood, and as a way of marking ascension into adulthood with associated responsibilities. [14] From piercings and light scarification, to tattooing, to circumcision and even castration, the body has been used throughout history by a variety of cultures to mark identity.

Cutting or scarification of the female genitals is known throughout the world, including Australian aboriginal tribes, ancient proto-Hindu cultures, and several South American tribes. In these cases, the goal is a sacrifice of the flesh and blood to the tribe or the gods, resulting in scarring and marking and not an impediment to sexual function or pleasure.[14]

Female circumcision as it is known in the Middle East is generally viewed to have begun with the Pharaohs of Egypt, as early as the 3rd Dynasty (3000-2800 BCE). Mummies have been found with Type I (removal of the clitoral hood), and type III (infibulation - total removal of the external genitalia, and suturing to a tiny hole which allows for urination, but must then be cut open for sex). The term "pharaonic circumcision" which is used throughout the Middle East to describe a full infibulation arose out of this practice. The Romans had a lovely ceremony where they pierced the outer labia of infant girls with a fibula (broach), that would be removed by the husband on the wedding night.[14]

While Judaism requires male circumcision, there is no indication anywhere in the Torah or commentaries that even contemplates female circumcision. However, the Ethiopian Jewish community (Beta Israel) practice FGC as part of their Ethiopian identity. [14]. Though the religious body of Judaism asserts that at no time in Jewish history have any women been circumcised, S. Cohen claims to have found evidence for small communities who practice the rite. However, both during Pharaonic Egyptian era, and in the face of the Muslim wars beginning in 600 CE, there were strong cultural reasons to separate Jews from those who practiced this rite.[15]

Christianity, as it moved into Africa, also adopted various form of, and rites associated with circumcision.

FGM and religion[modifica]

The countries in which female genital cutting is a practice are mostly Muslim, but they are not exclusively Muslim. Of the 29 countries tracked by UNICEF, 14 are home to more Christians than Muslims.[16]

In the modern Western world people mistakenly believe female genital mutilation is mostly a religious practice which is factually wrong.[14] Studies by the US Department of Health and the World Health Organization, among others, using the material from a host of anthropologists[17] have consistently stated that FGM is part of cultural rituals associated with tribal identity and tribal markings, and not with a particular religion.[18] In Africa and parts of the Middle East, the practice harms young girls regardless of the religion of the individuals. In Guinea, for example, over 90% of the population practice some Type of FGM -- Christians and Muslims alike. Rural Israel reports incidents of cutting in the Coptic Jewish community as well as the Muslim communities. [19].

World practice[modifica]

Although the practice predates Islam by over a thousand years, it has become associated with Islam due to the geographic collocation of countries practising female genital mutilation and Muslim countries[20], as well as some level of stereotype.

Legal status[modifica]

Many countries, including countries where FGM is practised, have laws outlawing the procedure, though these can be difficult to enforce as they are often performed locally without medical supervision. Many Western organizations are working to pressure governments to pass additional laws and step up enforcement methods[21].

Al 2011, 13 paesi hanno completamente bandito ogni caso di MGF:

  • Svezia (1982)
  • Gran Bretagna (1985), e il resto del Regno Unito (2005)
  • La maggior parte dell'Australia (1994 - Nota: 2 stati non hanno promulgato alcuna legge sulla MGF)
  • Nuova Zelanda (1995)
  • Norvegia (1995)
  • Canada (1997)
  • Stati Uniti (1997)
  • Belgio (2000)
  • Cipro (2003)
  • Danimarca (2003)
  • Spagna (2003)
  • Italia (2005)
  • Francia (2007) (anche se è stata una delle ultime, ha precedentemente utilizzato le leggi sull'abuso di minori verso chi praticava MGF)

Medio Oriente ed Africa[modifica]

Lo studio dell'ONU/OMS sulla MGF fornisce le seguenti percentuali di popolazione femminile tra i 15 e i 49 anni che hanno subito qualche tipo di MGF.

  • Egitto - 95%
  • Costa d'Avorio - 42%
  • Etiopia - 74%
  • Guinea - 97%
  • Kenya - 27% [22]
  • Mali - 92%
  • Nigeria 20%
  • Somalia - 98%
  • Sudan del Nord - 80-90%

Nessuno studio ufficiale è stato eseguito sui seguenti paesi, ma la MGF è stata documentata nella letteratura scientifica. [23]

  • India
  • Indonesia - 86-100% [24]
  • Israele
  • Malesia
  • Emirati Arabi Uniti.

Paesi per cui non esistono studi, ma che ancora chiaramente praticano la procedura includono:

  • Arabia Saudita[25]
  • Giordania[26]
  • Siria
  • Oman

In questi paesi, si stima che il 5-25% delle donne adulte siano mutilate.

Stati Uniti, Canada, Regno Unito e Australia[modifica]

In the US, UK and Canada, all forms of FGM are illegal, even the simple tribal markings of "nicking". In the UK, a BBC report on the ethics of "female circumcision" reports that 76,000 women living in the UK are not only have been mutilated, but have undergone the procedure in the UK. Anywhere from 25,000-100,000 more women are mutilated either before they arrive in the UK, or in what can best be described as legal family supported "abductions" to countries where the procedure is performed, then returned home.[27]

The United States CDC has estimated that nearly 300,000 girls have undergone the surgery illegally in the US, and like the UK, they suspect that thousands more may have had the procedure done in other countries.[28]

Australia has a somewhat unique problem, in that a form of cutting, the "nicking" form is practiced by aboriginals. There is no real harm to the woman, other than the pain and scaring of the puberty ceremony.[29] However, the concern for protecting the rights of native tribal people pales in the face of the problem of immigrant populations doing full FGM. Like the US and UK, all forms of cutting are illegal in Australia. The Royal Woman's Hospital in Melbourne has stated they see roughly 700-1000 women per year who have had some moderate to extreme procedure done to them at some point in their life. Often, they are in the hospital due to associated complications during pregnancy[30].

In all three of these countries, laws have been proposed to allow medical professionals (surgeons) to do a form of tribal genital cutting, or removal of the clitoral hood as is done with male circumcision. The argument is twofold. One, professionals would be using antiseptic conditions, professional tools, and would be less likely to botch the procedure. Two, if "something" were offered, perhaps the trend of total infibulation or removal of the clitoris would not be seen as necessary. However, none of these "sane alternative" laws have gained much legal support.

Difesa da parte del liberalismo regressivo[modifica]

Alcuni liberalisti regressivi difendono l'uso della mutilazione genitale femminile come parte di un percorso spirituale che la ragazzina segue in base alla sua [[Fallacie logiche#Appello alla tradizione|tradizione] tribale affinché possa diventare "più bella e virtuosa".

Una piccola minoranza dei "costruttivisti sociali" più estremi come Carla Obermeyer[wp] affermano che le Da completare: Tradurre.complicazioni mediche che risultano dalla MGF siano fortemente esagerate lacking sound medical investigation. Considering the near lack of even rudimentary medical facilities in less-developed areas and the fact that in some cases male doctors (often the only trained doctors in some regions) are not allowed to examine female genitalia, the lack of medical evidence is not surprising. However there are documented cases of serious medical complications involved with the removal of a bodily organ by an untrained individual.

Others claim that a small nick as practised in many cases is harmless in comparison to full out removal of the vulva. However even slight damage to the clitoris will often result in a deprivation of sexual sensitivity. One wouldn't cut off the top 5 centimeters of a boys penis and claim that it is harmless compared to chopping the whole thing off.

A recent article by Janice Boddy[wp] claims that genital mutilation is a loaded term which only westerners use. According to the report African woman consider the procedure a "beautification", or a "honorification" or a "womanization". The outright force involved and lack of consultation with the girl nor ability to make a personal informed decision on her own accord makes such idealistic adjectives seem absurd. A twenty year old woman can ask for the procedure if she likes and we can call it "beautification" just as breast enlargement might be considered beautification, however the chopping off of a girl's vulva under force is full out irreversible genital mutilation.

Richard Shweder, a scary psychological-anthropologist, claims that westerners should not judge societies which perform female genital mutilation, but that they should instead "understand" the culture, believing that we are too quick to judge and view tribal societies through the unfair lens of barbarism and even imperialist attitudes. If asked whether the same principle should be applied to a culture that uses their children as sex slaves or cattle labour...these narratives suddenly become silent. If we should not judge other cultures but understand them then the West should not be judged for its culture of free inquiry, the ability to question archaic procedures and empathise with little girls who are held down under force while their vulvas are chopped off with a rusty knife.

Other Anthropological approaches[modifica]

Sensible anthropologists (the type who don't take cultural relativism to such an extreme) argue that while one's first instinct is naturally to smack the shit out of people who do this and throw them in prison, the best thing to do is to try to understand the cultural attitudes and work with locals to change local attitudes and educate people on the dangers of FGM, because the practice persists even in areas where there are laws against it.[31]

Another thing to note is that some Muslim practitioners of FGM are under the mistaken belief that Islam requires it. Ellen Gruenbeaum notes that the Islamic movement in Sudan is strongly critical of FGM, and that exposure to other Islamic cultures reinforces the emerging view in Sudan that it is not demanded by Islam. [32]

Risorse esterne[modifica]

Voci correlate[modifica]


  1. L'OMS ha succerito l'uso del termine "taglio" invece di mutilazione, perché il termine "mutilazione" si porta dietro una serie di percezioni sociali e assunzioni che creano argomentazioni politiche che nei fatti interferiscono con l'interruzione di queste pratiche.
  2. "A long tradition of abuse". 
  3. 3,0 3,1
  4. 4,0 4,1 4,2
  6. Rogaia Mustafa Abusharaf, "Introduction: The Custom in Question," in Abusharaf 2007, p. 8; El Guindi 2007, pp. 36–37.
  7. Janice Boddy, Civilizing Women: British Crusades in Colonial Sudan, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007, pp. 112. Vedere anche Silverman 2004, p. 429.
  8. UNICEF 2013, pp. 69–70; Figure 6.12, p. 71.
  9. "'I Want a Better Orgasm!'". WebMD. Archived from the original on 2009-01-13. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  10. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}
  11. Mah, Kenneth; Binik, Yitzchak M (7 January 2001). "The nature of human orgasm: a critical review of major trends". Clinical Psychology Review 21 (6): 823–856. doi:10.1016/S0272-7358(00)00069-6. PMID 11497209. "Women rated clitoral stimulation as at least somewhat more important than vaginal stimulation in achieving orgasm; only about 20% indicated that they did not require additional clitoral stimulation during intercourse." 
  12. Kammerer-Doak, Dorothy; Rogers, Rebecca G. (June 2008). "Female Sexual Function and Dysfunction". Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America 35 (2): 169–183. doi:10.1016/j.ogc.2008.03.006. PMID 18486835. "Most women report the inability to achieve orgasm with vaginal intercourse and require direct clitoral stimulation ... About 20% have coital climaxes..." 
  14. 14,0 14,1 14,2 14,3 14,4 Circumcision: a history of the world's most controversial surgery By David Gollaher, 2000.
  15. Shayne D. Cohen, Why Aren't Jewish Women Circumcised?: Gender and Covenant in Judaism, 2005
  16. Politifact
  17. Gollaher, RO Hayes, H. Lewis, AM Gibeau as examples have all studied and written about the history of FGM, and the core "tribal" identity that transcends religion
  18. See "Female Genital Mutilation, World Health Organization's Handbook for frontline workers, 2000 as an example
  20. Mustafa, A. Z. (1966), FEMALE CIRCUMCISION AND INFIBULATION IN THE SUDAN. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 73: 302–306.
  23. E nel documento dell'OMS
  27. UKs policy about what to do if things "go wrong" overseas, indicating that the UK government is aware of this fact, but can do little to prevent it.
  28. Female Genital Mutilation, NCIB, 1997 (pg 372)
  32. Gruenbaum, Ellen.1996. The Cultural Debate over Female Circumcision: The Sudanese Are Arguing This One out for Themselves. Medical Anthropology Quarterly. 10 (4): 449-695.
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