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Female Genital Mutilation, II

Date: Wed, 02 Aug 2000 12:56:13 -0400
From: Elizabeth Keller <elkeller AT EROLS.COM>
Subject: How to respond to FGM questions

For the first time I have had a student approach me (after a class on
FGM) to tell me she was "circumcized." This happened when she was a
baby, and she has no memory of the operation. She became aware of it a
few years ago, but there is mostly silence about it in her family, in
which all female relatives have also undergone the procedure. Her
question to me was how she could know what she has lost in sexual
feeling as a result of the loss of her clitoris. She is not yet sexually
active. I have explored some literature on FGM but haven't found any
substantive information on the sexual response of FGM victims. I did
suggest to her that as with any woman, exploration of her own body on
her own could help lead to greater awareness of her own responses, but I
would like to know if other WMST-L members have further advice or
information sources to share. By the way, I suspect that one reason she
may have decided to share this information with me is that I spoke to
her briefly before class to ask whether as a woman of African birth she
felt she would be uncomfortable sitting through that class session.


Betsy Keller
elkeller   AT
Date: Wed, 02 Aug 2000 12:56:42 -0500
From: Marilyn Grotzky <mgrotzky AT CARBON.CUDENVER.EDU>
Subject: Re: How to respond to FGM questions
This is one of the many times that "Our Bodies, Ourselves" might be useful.
 Since it is in print format and illustrated, the student can become
familiar with vocabulary and perhaps become more comfortable about speaking
to a counselor about her situation.  I don't have the most recent edition.
Is there anything specifically about FGM in it?  Anyone from the collective
on this list-serv?

If the student's family is conservative, I wouldn't recommend she take the
book home with her -- it's a bit large to overlook.  Perhaps some xeroxed

Marilyn Grotzky
Auraria Library
Date: Wed, 02 Aug 2000 14:38:45 -0400
From: Sharon Jacobson <sjacobso AT BROCKPORT.EDU>
Subject: Re: How to respond to FGM questions
If I recall, Waris Dirie talks about her sexuality and sexual response in
her book -- I think it was called Desert Flower -- she might find this a
helpful book to read

Sharon Jacobson, Ed. D.
SUNY Brockport
Women's Studies Program
Brockport, NY 14420
sjacobso   AT
(716) 395-5697  (office)
(716) 395-2620 (fax)
(716) 638-6174 (home)
Date: Wed, 02 Aug 2000 14:41:41 -0400
From: Sharon Jacobson <sjacobso AT BROCKPORT.EDU>
Subject: Re: How to respond to FGM questions
I would also have her check out this webpage -- they have a search engine and when i
typed in sexual response it came up with 34 items.  this one looked
particularly relevant  hope this

Sharon Jacobson, Ed. D.
SUNY Brockport
Women's Studies Program
Brockport, NY 14420
sjacobso   AT
(716) 395-5697  (office)
(716) 395-2620 (fax)
(716) 638-6174 (home)
Date: Fri, 04 Aug 2000 13:06:41 -0500
From: "Ruthe M. Thompson" <ruthom AT STARPOINT.NET>
Subject: FGM
I've recently become interested in this topic and just read _Desert
Flower_, which does indeed discuss in a few places sexual response
(or rather the lack thereof) after infibulation, which is what
Daris Warie had. I am currently writing a book review of a text
titled _The Day Kadi Lost Part of her Life_ by Isabel Ramos Rioja
with photos by Kim Manresa for the journal of the Association of
Research on Mothering: I wouldn't recommend this text to the student
unless she has ready access to counseling if she doesn't remember
the event--the photos are graphic.

Type FGM or Genital Mutilation into your search engine and you'll get
a variety of sites, maybe some of which would be suitable for your

Below is a bibliography I've begun on the topic. I just started to
look into this subject because I teach at a small regional state
university where the community includes a large percentage of new
immigrants from Somalia, and the local clinic's gynecologists and
GP's have been asked to perform infibulation or circumcision
on these children, as it is a cultural practice important to those
who ask--however barbaric we may think it. Of course the local docs
refused and told the parents they would report them if they brought
their daughters back with the operation performed. There is a bill
in the US (just introduced) to outlaw the practice.

I have many of the books listed here from interlib. loan but haven't
had a chance to review them yet.

Ruthe Thompson
Asst. Prof of English
Acting Director of Women's Studies
Southwest State Univ.
Marshall, Minn 56258
mailto:ruthom   AT

Fauziya Kassindja, Layli Miller Bashir _Do They Hear You When You Cry_

Babatunde, Emmanuel. Women's Rites Versus Women's Rights A Study of
Circumcision among the Ketu Yoruba of South Western Nigeria  Africa
World Press, Oct. 1997

Ballal, Ahmed Ibrahim.   Psychological effects of female circumcision.
New York : Vantage Press, c1992.

Aman : The Story of a Somali Girl As Told to Virginia Lee Barnes and
Janice Boddy; Virginia Lee Barnes, Janice Boddy (Contributor)

Coakley, [no first name listed in BIP]  Islamic Ruling on Male &
Female Circumcision The Right Path to Health, Health Education Through
 Religion.  World Health Organization, Nov. 1996

Christiansen, Carol D. The Experience of Circumcision in Immigrant
Somali Women New York : National League for Nursing Press (N L N Press),
Dec. 1997

Sexual mutilations : a human tragedy / edited by George C. Denniston and
Marilyn Fayre Milos. New York : Plenum Press, c1997.

D'Haem, Jeanne The Last Camel : True Stories of Somalia

Dorkenoo, Efua.  Cutting the rose : female genital mutilation : the
practice and its prevention / London, UK : Minority Rights Group, 1994.

Gibbons, Janice D. Circumcision - the Pros & Cons Index of New
Information  Annandale : A B B E Publishers Association of Washington,
D.C., July 1995

Hosken, Fran P., 1919-  The Hosken report : genital and sexual
of females /    Edition:  4th rev. ed.  [Lexington, Mass.] : Women's
International Network News, [1994], c1993.

Koso-Thomas, Olayinka The Circumcision of Women A Strategy for
Eradication  London : Zed Books, Limited, Aug. 1993  ISBN/Details:
Text Out of Print

Kamava, Connie H. Hadithi Guinea Means Woman: Guinea's National Efforts
in the Fight Against Female Genital Mutilation New York : Research,
Action & Information Network For Bodily Integrity Of Women (RAINBO),
Dec. 1998

Hanny Lightfoot-Klein   Prisoners of Ritual : An Odyssey into Female
Genital Circumcision in Africa. New York : Harrington Park Press, c1989.

Nuruddin Farah   Secrets

Ramos, Isabel.  The day Kadi lost part of her life / author,
Isabel Ramos ; photographer, Kim Manresa. North Melbourne, Vic. :
Spinifex ; Hadleigh : BRAD, 1999.

Toubia, Nahid.   Female genital mutilation : a call for global
action.  [NY, NY, USA : Women, Ink., c1993]   48 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.

Female genital mutilation : a joint WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA statement.
Publisher: Geneva : World Health Organization, 1997.

Gender rituals : female initiation in Melanesia / edited by Nancy C.
Lutkehaus and Paul B. Roscoe.      Publisher: New York : Routledge,

Shell-Duncan, Bettina.  Female "Circumcision" in Africa Culture,
Controversy & Change Boulder : Lynne Rienner Publishers, Incorporated
 Projected-Date: 0009 [from books in print]

Ukemenam, Lynda B. Taking a Bath? Find Out Why Cutting of Genitals
is Hygienic! Hard Facts & Myths on Female Circumcision
     Publisher: Newark : Saint Candid House, Nov. 1994
   Description:  250 ill.

Walker, Alice, 1944-    Possessing the secret of joy. New York :
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992

Alice Walker, et al Warrior Marks : Female Genital Mutilation
and the Sexual Blinding of Women New York : Harcourt Brace, c1993.

Fire Eyes film by Soraya Mire

Rites  Directed by Penny Dedman for Channel 4

Femmes aux yeux ouverts [videorecording] = Women with open
eyes / un film de Anne Laure Folly ; produit par Amanou
Production.   Publisher: San Francisco : California Newsreel,
[1994], c1993. Description: 1 videocassette (52 min.) : sd.,
col. ; 1/2 in.

Cross cultural comparisons [videorecording] / Polly Radosh ;
executive producer, Eugene Williams ; director, Danielle Hunt.
    Publisher: [Macomb, Ill.] : Western Illinois University ;
New York : distributed by Insight Media, 1995.
  Description: 2 videocassettes (120 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.
  Title-Series: Gender roles

Rights & wrongs. Video 3, Women under attack [videorecording] /
a co-production of Globalvision and WNET Thirteen.
Publisher:  [S.l.] : Global Vision ; Oakland, CA : Distributed
by The Video Project, c1993.

Rites of passage: four stories of survival [videorecording] /
Unicef Production. Publisher: New York, Maryknoll : Maryknoll
 World Productions, 1994.
 Description: 1 videocassette (30 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.
Date: Fri, 04 Aug 2000 13:20:14 -0500
From: Mary Todd <crftoddml AT CURF.EDU>
Subject: Re: FGM
Just a correction to Ruthe's message on FGM in which she mentioned

> There is a bill in the US (just introduced) to outlaw the practice.

That law was passed in the 1996 session (see NYT 10/12/96 p.1). In addition,
various states have laws or laws pending. Obviously increased immigration
has created pressure on American communities. At the time of the
legislation, the focus was on Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and the
Somali immigrant community it serviced.

FGM is a unit in the Women in International Perspective course I've taught
several times at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where the students
have been especially moved by the book, Aman: The Story of a Somali Girl, an

Mary Todd
Concordia University
River Forest, Illinois
crftoddml   AT
Date: Sat, 05 Aug 2000 12:26:34 -0500
From: "Ruthe M. Thompson" <ruthom AT STARPOINT.NET>
Subject: FGM
Thanks to Mary Todd for correcting misinformation about the U.S. law
against FGM that I had posted--I had learned on a website that the
bill was introduced but not that it had been passed, suggesting that
some sites don't always have the latest info.

I did find a good site, however, that includes the text of this bill
and also has a lot of other material on various elements of the topic,
including a long bibliography and also a filmography with some titles
I hadn't found.

Ruthe Thompson
Asst. Prof of English
Acting Director of Women's Studies
Southwest State Univ.
Marshall, Minn 56258
ruthom   AT
Date: Sat, 05 Aug 2000 14:37:43 -0400
From: Molly Dragiewicz <mdragiew AT GMU.EDU>
Subject: legislative info
You can find up to date legislative info on any topic at

search by bill number, title, keyword or author.

Molly Dragiewicz
Women's Studies and Cultural Studies
George Mason University

mdragiew   AT
Date: Mon, 07 Aug 2000 07:20:10 +0000
From: Tobe Levin <Levin AT EM.UNI-FRANKFURT.DE>
Subject: FGM Resource
From Tobe Levin, Chair of FORWARD -Germany, regarding comments by
Ruthe Thompson and Mary Todd on FGM:

It seems the appropriate moment to re- introduce our unique resource for
teaching with sensitivity about the custom of genital mutilation: a full color
DIN-A 4 catalogue of paintings by NIgerian artists depicting many
aspects of FGM as practiced not only in Nigeria... including, of
course, the effort to stop it. Efua Dorkenoo of the World Health
Organization has recently written me that she would like to see
our text translated into Arabic and French  for worldwide use
in abolition campaigns. The catalogue accompanies an exhibition now
touring Germany and running until the end of 2001. (This morning, in
fact, I'm leaving for Essen with the paintings; an opening in the
City Hall is scheduled for 16:30...) Among major and minor city
halls as exhibition venues, the British Parliament has invited us to exhibit
on 23 November 2000
to accompany renewed
debate of the 1985 anti-FGM bill.

The catalogue text is in German but you can read an English translation and
view the paintings at

The catalogue itself costs $7 including postage to the U.S. from my
APO address... (I live in FRankfurt, Germany, but teach for the
University of Maryland in Europe..) I will gladly discuss bulk rates
for teaching...

Best regards, Tobe Levin

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