Female Genital Mutilation

Patricia A. Broussard at Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy:

A student related to me that she had a conversation with a Nigerian, male friend in which she told him that she was very excited that her professor was writing an article on female genital mutilation. She reported that the he became enraged and shouted, “How dare this American woman characterize a custom of my culture as mutilation, and further, what right did she have to stick her nose into something that had nothing to do with her or her country.” Since I knew that I would probably never have the opportunity to personally meet this “gentleman,” I asked her to tell him the following: “No matter how many terms one conjures to lessen the impact of the horror visited upon women in the name of culture, mutilation is mutilation; it cannot be diminished by semantics. In addition, I am1 my sisters’ keeper; their pain is my pain. I have an obligation to use my words to speak truth to power in their name.”

Patricia A. Broussard, “Female Genital Mutilation: Exploring Strategies for Ending Ritualized Torture; Shaming, Blaming and Utilizing the Convention Against Torture

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