Author Topic: Civilization advances another increment: UK legal action against FGM  (Read 278 times)

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Online wright

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Some very welcome news from across the Atlantic (relative to me, anyway):http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/02/06/the-british-government-will-soon-take-action-against-female-genital-mutilation/

In brief, the British courts are finally catching up with existing laws on the subject, and one particular case is going to trial. I want to applaud, I really do. But this has been going on for thirty years after it was declared illegal?

Things like this make me feel sad and tired. And angry; very, very angry. Wake up, humanity. Stop mutilating your children for your nonexistent deities!
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Civilization advances another increment: UK legal action against FGM
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2014, 03:55:41 PM »
This is already illegal in the UK. It seems therefore strange that the best part of 30 years after the legislation was been past, now "something might be done." As with many things, the local authorities and the police are loath to go "upsetting" minorities and their "vibrant customs" that don't really bother the rest of us, and so little has been done.

http://history.hyde.wikispaces.net/file/view/1011+HIS12+U1+CM10+Handout+Female+Genital+Mutilation+by+Dorkenoo+and+Elworthy.pdf

Female Genital Mutilation (handout) by Efua Dorkenoo and Scilla Elworthy: (appears to be produced by the University of Reading (UK) some time after 2002)
Quote
In Western Countries. A law prohibiting female excision, whether consent has been given or not, came into force in Sweden in July 1982, carrying a two-year sentence. In Norway, in 1985, all hospitals were alerted to the practice. Belgium has incorporated a ban on the practice. Several states in the U.S.A. have incorporated female genital mutilation into their criminal code,.

In the U.K., specific legislation prohibiting female circumcision came into force at the end of 1985. A person found guilty of an offence is liable to up to five years’ imprisonment or to a fine. Female genital mutilation has been incorporated into child protection procedures at local authority levels. As yet no person has been committed in the English courts for female circumcision, but since 1989 there have been at least seven local authority legal interventions which prevented parents from sexually mutilating their daughters or wards.

France does not have specific legislation on female sexual mutilation but under Article 312—3 of the French Penal Code, female genital mutilation can be considered as a criminal offence.
(more via the link)
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline One Above All

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Re: Civilization advances another increment: UK legal action against FGM
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2014, 04:03:41 PM »
It's amazing this even needs to be outlawed. Apparently common sense and religion don't go well together. I guess, if they did, neither would exist.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Civilization advances another increment: UK legal action against FGM
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2014, 05:11:36 PM »
I agree that it is way past time for this horrible practice to be outlawed, everywhere. I have female students from cultures where this is still common. The women who have undergone FGM say that it is perfectly safe when done under proper surgical conditions, and that banning it means that parents have to take their daughter to underground practictioners. They say that if their parents don't have it done to them, they are not considered "clean" , "normal" or attractive to men.  >:( :o

Just to throw in the cultural relativism wrench, many cultures are horrified to discover that parents in the US have their teen daughters undergo surgical procedures to mutilate their breasts, cutting them open and inserting plastic implants to make the girl supposedly more attractive to men.

These ignorant western parents do not seem to realize that the function of the breast has nothing to do with its shape or size. Sometimes, the surgery is so extensive that the natural function of the breast is ruined and they cannot properly feed their babies....If these cultures had the power to outlaw such practices in the US, they certainly would.

In my classes we often end up with a pretty lively debate about all this. Personally, I would rather offer the parents of girls who want FGM the compromise of a tiny surgical cut that does not remove anything, but that serves the cultural purpose of "circumcision". Until the practice just dies out. Driving it underground means that girls not only have their privates cut off, but they also get infected and die. :'(
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline RED_ApeTHEIST

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Re: Civilization advances another increment: UK legal action against FGM
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2014, 08:59:31 PM »
@nogodsforme: The cultural relativism wrench only works if you forget the concept of consent. In The good old US-of-A, breast enhancement surgery can't be performed on an unwilling patient even with parental permission.

Personally, I don't have any problem with any type of genital surgery, provide it's being performed on a consenting adult. If a child is too young to consent to the surgery then they are too young for someone of the opposite sex to have any reason to care about the appearance of their junk.

People who take knives to children's genitals[1], for any reason other than medical necessity, deserve the harshest punishment that society can dredge up.
 1.  or any other part of a child really
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: Civilization advances another increment: UK legal action against FGM
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2014, 07:40:21 AM »
@nogodsforme: The cultural relativism wrench only works if you forget the concept of consent. In The good old US-of-A, breast enhancement surgery can't be performed on an unwilling patient even with parental permission.

Personally, I don't have any problem with any type of genital surgery, provide it's being performed on a consenting adult. If a child is too young to consent to the surgery then they are too young for someone of the opposite sex to have any reason to care about the appearance of their junk.

People who take knives to children's genitals[1], for any reason other than medical necessity, deserve the harshest punishment that society can dredge up.
 1.  or any other part of a child really

Quite right! Religious people might do well to reflect on the fact that their belief involves belief that their god created them 'in his own image'. What gives anyone the right to mutilate that image for cultural reasons? It's the equivalent to saying that god got it wrong which, I'm sure, their religion would be outraged at.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Civilization advances another increment: UK legal action against FGM
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2014, 04:29:13 PM »
Agreed. The idea of a screaming, unwilling child having some painful, dangerous, pointless procedure done on them is horrendous. Especially when it is something that will change the girls' life experience forever. It is in the same category as foot binding.  :o

I did not forget about consent. But what if the girls are older and do consent to whatever? What is consent, anyway, without knowledge? Do teen girls who consent to breast implants to make them more attractive understand that they might not be able to nurse a baby? Do they realize that cultural pressure to look a certain way might not matter as much when they are a bit older?

A friend from Kenya told me that she did never got the FGM at 12 or 14 when all the other girls did, because her family was modern and progressive (wealthy diplomats and business people, in fact). But, at the time, she wanted to get it because she was the only one who was different. She would have consented, if her parents had wanted to do it.

When I was a teenager, I was scrawny, skinny and flat as a board. I would have jumped at the chance to have big breasts and look like brick house Pam Grier. (Hell, I wouldn't mind looking like her now!) Even if the procedure had a 50% chance of killing me, I might still have done it.  Now, looking back I think I was stupid to care so much about what my body looked like to others.[1]
 1. In the US among black and latino folks, people pierce their baby girls' ears. I remember being jealous of girls who had pierced ears, and wishing my female relatives had done it to me. 
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.