Female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision, is a procedure performed on girls between the ages of four and 12 in much of Africa and some parts of the Middle East. It is defended by some as a cultural tradition, but is deplored by women’s rights and human rights activists as a crime against women’s bodies. Female genital mutilation is a broad term that covers procedures that range from cutting off all or part of the clitoris to removing all the external female genitalia and then sewing the girl up, leaving only a small hole through which urine and menstrual blood can flow. The most extensive circumcision is called infibulation, and it accounts for about 15 percent of all procedures. Girls are usually cut by a member of their community who has no professional medical training, using any sharp object that is available, including knives, tin can lids or shards of glass. No anesthesia, pain killers or antibiotics are given to the girls before or after the procedure. It is extremely painful and can lead to recurrent vaginal and urinary tract infections. Girls are often circumcised in groups in unsterile conditions. Some girls even die from blood loss during or after female genital mutilation, and, because the cutting tool is not cleaned between uses, the procedure can spread HIV/AIDS. For the women who experience infibulation, they must be cut back open to have sex and give birth, and sex is painful. There are many reasons given for female genital mutilation by the communities that practice it. Many hold it as a right of passage that makes the girl a woman. Some communities think that female genital mutilation makes women not only more beautiful but also more docile and feminine. Female genital mutilation is practiced all over Africa. Rates range from just 5 percent of girls undergoing the mildest of procedures in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda to over 90 percent undergoing the harshest of procedures in countries such as Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali and Somalia. On average, 6,000 girls have some sort of circumcision procedure each day. Many individuals and groups, including Amnesty International and the United Nations, are working to eradicate FGM. Amnesty International has been working since 1981 on a plan that focuses on education and treats female genital mutilation as a human rights issue. They are working with the United Nations towards a solution. In 1997, the United Nations created a plan involving the World Health Organization, the U.N. Children’s Fund and the U.N. Population Fund. The goal is to see a major decline in female genital mutilation in 10 years and to have it totally eradicated in three generations by focusing on educating the public, treating FGM as a human rights problem and encouraging countries where it is practiced to come up with a national plan. There is an agency called the United States-Uganda Godparents Association who finds sponsors in the United States to pay for girls in Uganda who are resisting female genital mutilation to go to boarding school. Girls who resist the procedure are generally considered unmarriageable and are of no value to their families. Eventually, they will usually be coerced into having the procedure done. To escape female genital mutilation, they need to get out of their village and get an education, but they need money to do so. This year, Women’s Caucus is raising money to help one girl break the cycle. The money raised throughout the year through activities such as the Vagina Monologues in February will be put towards this cause. Our goal is to raise $1,500 to sponsor a girl. We are asking for help from the entire campus to meet this goal. Check out our SA Web site, contact a member or come to our meeting next Monday at 9 p.m. in the Ruth Merrill Center for more information.Sharp can be reahced at ksharp@campustimes.org.

Gaza solidarity encampment: Live updates

The Campus Times is live tracking the Gaza solidarity encampment on Wilson Quad and the administrative response to it. Read our updates here.

Live updates: Wallis Hall sit-ins

Editor’s Note (5/4/24): This article is no longer being updated. For our most up to date coverage, look for articles…

Colin’s Review Rundown: Future and Metro Boomin, Lizzy McAlpine, Benson Boone, Civerous

Is it bad? Definitely not! But I found myself continually checking my phone to see how many tracks were left.