Sun | Apr 23, 2017

Letter of the day: Female circumcision barbaric

Published:Wednesday | July 22, 2015 | 7:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I was really taken aback when I listened to a very shocking and disturbing report on PBS with regard to the continued barbaric practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), particularly in African countries.

The report highlighted the fact that although many young girls of African ancestry were born in the United States, they were routinely sent to African countries to endure this horrific and barbaric surgical procedure.

From time immemorial, women have been treated with scant respect. But nothing is more demeaning and inhumane than FGM. It may be said that one's cultural tradition should be respected, but a red line has to be drawn. There is no doubt that FGM should be regarded as a crime against humanity.

It is indeed appalling that female circumcision, or genital mutilation, first practised in 700 BC, continues even today. Millions of women are still subjected to this form of dehumanisation. The main objective is to cut out the clitoris to prevent women from experiencing any form of sexual feeling.

It is reported that about 80 per cent of Sudanese women are forced to undergo this despicable procedure without any form of anaesthetic. In addition, unsterilised instruments such as scissors, knives and razor blades are used in the mutilation process.

Stiff penalties and sanctions should be imposed on countries and individuals who continue to trample on the rights and freedoms of women.

RUPERT JOHNSON

r.b.johnson@sympatico.ca

Toronto, Canada