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Active Questions

Cutting off their clits
Sex & Intimacy / 8:23 PM - Friday July 18, 2008

Cutting off their clits

Female circumcision occurs in some African countries. In the UK, many Somali immigrants want their daughters to be circumcised, but Western doctors refuse to perform the operation because they say it's barbaric. (The clitoris and labia are removed, making sex very painful for the women.)

What do you think of this? Is it intolerant of the UK doctors to not support Somali culture?

Update: July 19, 2008.
I wish I could give out more stars. Thanks all for responding.

Update: July 19, 2008.
I agree with rednadkin. he forgot to mention burning widows, which they did in India prior to the Brits taking over. my parents are from India and while I am glad we kicked the Brits out, I'm glad they stopped the burning of widows. Also, re. the abortion situation - if a doctor refuses to perform an abortion, a woman can always find another doctor. His acting on his conscience does not do anything more than inconvenience her. However, if a doctor cuts off a girl's clit, she can never replace it. It is gone forever.

- Asked by curvysmartgirl, A Creative, Female, 46-55, Dallas, Artist / Musician / Writer

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I think it's an awful, barbaric and inhumane thing to do to a daughter. I can't even imagine the levels of depravity and vicious control that lead people to believe that this is a civilized way to treat their own children.

As for the British doctors who won't perform this 'operation', it is "intolerant" in the finest traditions of intolerance in Western society. We also don't tolerate chattel slavery, debt bondage or imprisonment, cutting off of hands for theft convictions, or stoning women for adultery. There is no sense in 'tolerating' behaviors which we collectively believe to be immoral and inhumane. When we start to 'tolerate' such acts we give up our own humanity.

In fact, doctors are allowed -- in fact, encouraged and required -- to "practice their conscience" by not providing abortions on demand, either, even though the practice may be legal, when that act violates their beliefs.

- Response by regnadkcin, A Father Figure, Male, 56-65, Boston, Artist / Musician / Writer

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There's no comparison to the two.......regardless of the degree of the operation in the case of the female. The sole purpose is to remove any pleasant feelings that the female might feel during sexual intercourse.


I am circed and damn glad my parents did have it done. I was too small to recall any of it and I have had my two sons circed also.

I prefer the procedure and have no regrets what-so-ever.

What they do to the young girls.....NOT INFANTS.........IS DEVESTATING and a life long sentence to pain and embarrassment and loss of their sex lives.......often done with a sharpened shell or stone……..or old rusty, razor blade.

The male circumcision is no where near the devastating operation that they propose for these young girls.

- Response by nuttyprofessor, A Guy Critical, Male, 66 or older, Transportation

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In civilized countries, we should not support any ritual that we know to be cruel and unusual. Doctors are to heal the sick; not cause the pain.

- Response by randyl, A Thinker, Female, Who Cares?, Technical

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It is WORSE than barbaric!!!!

- Response by rafiki910, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, Who Cares?, Boston, Body Work

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Quite honestly, they should bring an end to all genital mutilation, including circumcision.

I find this sort of ironic, especially since so many Western Doctors give in to the barbaric practice of male circumcision.

- Response by curadvent, A Father Figure, Male, 46-55, Who Cares?

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!

not something ive ever heard of

but if its true, i applaud uk doctors for their common sense

if somalians want to effect somalian traditions, then they can carry them out in somalia

- Response by anonymouse32, An Alternative Girl, Female, 18-21

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it is because of the nasty side effects afterwards that can arise... painfull intercorse is only one, if they do happen to become pregnant, and have the child vaginaly then it can cause harm to both mother and child, due to haveing that operation done the skin in the area often will not stretch to the proper size causeing either mom tearing from front to back, or baby not being able to come out at all... yes i know there is tearing even with out it, but it is fixable and the mom does not bleed out
also alot of the african countrys, preform this procedure on young girls usually over the age of 5 and can be as old as 12 (though i dont quite remember the exact ages, but i do know that it is in that age range)

- Response by A Creative, Female, 26-28, Medical / Dental

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intolerant ?the people should be tourtured for doing that to their chiidren,,all so they will never enjoy sex,,so men can do as they please with then and they feel no pleasure ,,now thats insane culture no culture,,it should not be allowed,,the ones that butcher their daughters with broken glass and some die from either bleeding to death or infection just sickening,

- Response by swemur1, A Creative, Female, 46-55

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Sexual mutilation of any child, boy or girl, is a heinous barbaric crime that ought to be punished by hanging.

- Response by greenwind, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 56-65, Construction

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not at all. let them look for a doctor that will. there are doctors here that won't do certain things. it's their choice!

- Response by imissit, A Sweet Sarah, Female, 66 or older, Who Cares?

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Any British doc who agrees to perform this barbaric practice should have their license revoked.

- Response by stoney07, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 66 or older, Who Cares?

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i think that there are limits to accommodation of "other" cultures and traditions. beheading, flogging, amputation of a hand for petty theft, and the like, need not be embraced or supported. if the purpose is to keep women subjugated, to rob them of their sexuality, etc., then it is not intolerant. indeed, it's an expression of tolerance.

- Response by two469, An Alternative Girl, Female, 18-21, Seattle, Science / Engineering

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No one should be supporting this practice. If they feel in Somali that their girls should undergo this barbaric ritual maybe they should cut off their sons balls too!! Bet that wouldnt go over very well....

- Response by A Career Woman, Female, 56-65, St.Louis, Administrative

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In Western medicine one of the first tenants is "Dr. Do no harm!" Apparently, many doctors still take this credo seriously, and I laud them for it. Just because a behavior is ingrained in a culture, it doesn't make it right. If canibals came to the UK should we respect their tradition of killing and eating people? IJS

- Response by richfromringgold, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 46-55, Who Cares?

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No, actually a doctor has a responsibility not to perform a procedure he/she believes is unnecessary and all surgery is dangerous due to the possibility of infection. If a priest were to read the bible Mark 9:45 says "If your hand offends you, cut it off," and a Christian were to ask a doctor to remove his hand, he should refuse just the same.

- Response by kjm16216, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 36-45, Philadelphia, Technical

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I don't care if it's intolerant or not. It shouldn't be allowed. The West doesn't allow honor-killings either. Does that mean our laws are intolerant of the cultures who do?

- Response by justpassingthru, A Thinker, Female, 56-65, Financial / Banking

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"Corksoaker" is 100% on point. I studied this practice in length, and if you saw some of the pictures or even some of the methods and "tools" used to perform these procedures, it would turn your stomach.
There was famous model from somalia who had this done to her as a child. She wrote several books about her ordeal.

Little girls are even told stories through picture books that if a babies head touches the clitorus durring child birth, the baby will become very ill and die.

I was even more surprised to learn that some immigrants who reside in the U.S. make a pilgrimage to their native country to have their young girls go through this procedure.

But once you understand the whole purpose behind this, and what role men play in it..a little light, although dim, is shed on this barbaric practice.

- Response by realman2000, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 29-35, Norfolk, Medical / Dental

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I think about this somewhat differently. Often, like male circumcision, female circumcision is for religious purposes. I dont feel anyone should impose on others religious beliefs. Noone minds when people baptise their children before the children even know what is going on. I realize this is very painful but many religions celebrate pain as it helps the human mind to understand the suffering of Jesus Christ. Im sure pain is used in other religious ceremonies as well. As with any religion, parents are expected to help their children follow the rules before the children can make their own minds up.

As for the UK doctors not doing the procedure- I feel any doctor has the right to refuse what he or she does not agree with including abortions. But what these doctors should consider is that the child will have the procedure either way so they could do it in a sterile environment and use meds or they could let someone else do it and possibly mess it up.

Some religions that are looked very highly upon abstain from sex!! What one considers barbaric can be good for someone else like abortion, male circumcision, sacrifices, self inflicted pain etc.

The only intorerance would be to somehow prosecute these people for their beliefs.

- Response by chicharlie, A Hippie Chick, Female, 29-35, Pittsburgh, Teaching

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I think circumcision of females, well, there would be no sex at all then.

- Response by A Sweet Sarah, Female, 46-55, Administrative

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The hippocratic oath is to do not harm. Primitive culture does not supersede common sense.

- Response by gilpill, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 46-55, Chicago, Internet / New Media

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It is barbaric and I would actually consider it torture! Would it be ok to remove a guys penis head?????

- Response by gmaloves13, A Sweet Sarah, Female, 56-65, Other Profession

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no its not. doing that is very cruel. i undersatnd its a custom and a tradition in that country...but it shouldn't be expected for others to want to be apart of it.

- Response by phenomenal1woman, A Thinker, Female, 46-55, Chicago

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We have to draw the line somewhere, and I think this is one of those cases where, yeah, the doctors should say no. Like they should say no to male circumcision, but they don't. :(

- Response by glopsey, A Thinker, Female, 29-35, Milwaukee, Student

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Quite the contrary, I applaud the doctors' good judgement and their adherance to their oath to protect/preserve health. Further,to clarify, I am not only speaking out in defense of the doctors, I am speaking out against this custom!

In my opinion, female "circumcision" is indeed a barbaric, ignorant custom, based on nothing more than a will to deny women their natural right to enjoy normal, happy sexual lives.
This is most especially barbaric when it is performed on young girls in cold blood! It is, by the way, not "circumcision" but "mutilation."

In fact, the doctors' refusal to carry out this procedure does not go far enough. This should be against the law (I believe it is in the US). I am afraid that the parents of such unfortunate girls will resort to the clandestine carrying out this horrific ritual in the same crude manner it is done in their own country.

Female mutilation is a crime against the female of the species!

- Response by ladyraponzel, A Thinker, Female, 66 or older, Baltimore, Administrative

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Calling an offensive or abusive practice "cultural" does not make it okay. Wrong is wrong.

- Response by greekattorney, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 36-45, Political / Government

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It is totally barbaric and wrong...and doctors are right to refuse to do it.

How else will a woman have sexual pleasure, which is a God-given right?

- Response by tomtomcat, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 56-65, New York, Teaching

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I'm pretty sure doctors have the right to refuse to do something they feel is immoral. If I were a doctor I certainly wouldn't be performing female circumcision. I know this is going to sound extremely judgmental but I honestly feel that a culture that practices this is severely misguided when it comes to the welfare of their girls. I feel the same way about chest ironing. I'm usually pretty decent about practicing cultural relativity but this bothers me.

- Response by xxpandoraxx, An Alternative Girl, Female, 26-28

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.......should physicians be mandated to perform abortions?
.......should pharmacists be mandated to dispense morning after pill?

Are you critical of "intolerance" or mandating conduct at odds with ones professional judgement and morality?

- Response by A Career Woman, Female, 56-65, Other Profession

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