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Womanhood becomes only an instrument for procreation.
Asking me if I wanted to verify her assessment, Mary suggested I examine the patient’s genitalia.
With instinctive aversion, I recoiled, never being able to bring myself to see her scars.
Now, with the benefit of additional maturity to my medical practice, I realise how deep my shame had been.
Yet, for millions of women around the world, the possibilities of real sexual expression is brutally resected, often even before puberty, through female genital mutilation, a grotesque assault which impacts over 125 million women globally.
The World Health Organization classifies four categories of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C)- clitiroidectomy; excision (of considerable variation of female genital tissue); infibulation (excising the clitoris and labia and stitching together the edges of the vulva to prevent sexual intercourse) and finally mutilation beyond even these classifications.
On the bodies of my patients, I have studied and recorded the scars of torture, homicide, motor vehicle accidents, catastrophic burns, deliberate self harm and the particularly malignant work of abusers. Certainly, FGM/C is seen mostly among ethnic groups in over 28 African nations.