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Female Circumcision is still a Big Worry for the World that requiresurgent attention!

By Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba
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Dear readers,
The article on the front page of Newvision on 04/12/10 showing pictures of sabiny girls that had been circumcised is justifiably one of the biggest cultural outcries so far in this year's presidential elections. Female circumcision is a global problem and I think international organisations such as WHO need to urgently put it on their agenda in future conferences to be held and seriously try to do something about it. I remember watching a documentary on channel 4 here in the UK, a copy I kept up to now, that showed that some Muslim societies ,such as in Egypt, also practicing this evilness in the name of Islam. Female circumcision is done by removing the tip of the clitoris because it is believed that women should not enjoy sex but are to serve only to pleasure the man and have children. These female mutilation things are not a part of Islam. They're just cultural traditions of a bunch of Arabs who happen also to be Muslim. But it's sort of like American slaveholders who were Baptists. Slavery isn't really a part of the Baptist creed even if some slaveholding Baptists thought it should be. There is nothing in the Koran that justifies this behaviour or requires it. CNN one time also ran a series that showed girls being circumcised but there was nothing Islamic about it.

Cutting of the woman's clitoris is so wrong because it affects her sexual enjoyment and satisfaction. It even makes me sick when I watch some people defend this inhuman behaviour because to defend this behaviour is not only ignorant, but just as inhuman and grossly irresponsible as those who teach it! The whole exercise turns a woman into simply a domestic servant and baby factory. I agree that there should be freedom of cultural thought but certain rituals are detrimental to people and shouldn't be carried out especially on minors who can't give proper consent.

Unlike male circumcision, there are absolutely no medical grounds for female circumcision. Male circumcision is practiced by both Muslims and Jews. Historically, Roman emperor Hadrian tried to ban this practice among the Jews as he believed that it stopped them from assimilating with the Greeks and Roman but he found himself with a war on his hands.

It's true that circumcision is a painful experience as it was done to me when I was above the baby stage. My grandfather who was my guardian deceived me that they were taking me to Kampala city for a ride but I woke up in Kawolo hospital with some pain on my penis. I remember this pain very well because I was a bit older when it was done but I don't think babies do remember this pain when they grow up. Yes, when there are still babies or infants, they feel and express this pain in stereotypic ways involving vocalization, facial expression, body movements and autonomic activity but they later become OK and smile normally. The wound heals normally without undue bleeding or infection, and the outcome will just be a 'normal circumcised penis'.

One does not need to be circumcised or uncircumcised first to know the advantages or disadvantages of male circumcision as there is a lot of literature out there about this issue. For instance, there is a big body of evidence that shows that most women prefer circumcised penis for appearance and hygiene. Furthermore, some women are not attracted to the smell of the uncircumcised penis.

Let me elaborate: when a man has got that foreskin still intact on their penis, he feels greater sexual sensation during sex due to the greater sensitivity of the protected glans, and that the foreskin is an erogenous zone in itself. A foreskin and its full complement of 'neuroreceptors' (as scientists call them) can easily make the uncircumcised man to come or ejaculate very fast thus leaving a woman in limbo. My understanding is that, because of the protection of the foreskin, the glands of the uncircumcised penis are more sensitive and thus more stimulated. One could deduce that therefore the circumcised penis results in prolonged pleasure due to reduced sensitivity. Since circumcised men have no feeling in their foreskin (in fact, no foreskin at all), the only form of stimulation comes in the form of pressure on the head and the shaft of the penis, and in the orgasm itself. This helps the uncircumcised to prolong during love making and thus helping the women to enjoy the whole game for longer.

Uncircumcised men also often experience pain during their first sexual act while circumcised males do not. This is because the 'frenulum' is removed, along with the foreskin, during the circumcision operation. The uncircumcised penis contains a certain piece of skin called the frenulum – that is attached to both the prepuce and the glans of the penis. The frenulum serves the same purpose as the hymen in virgin girls/women, i.e. as a barrier to unwanted or premature sexual activity. During the first act of intercourse (or masturbation), the frenulum is torn from the mucous membrane that keeps it in place, a change that subsequently allows the foreskin to be fully retracted over the entire 'head' of the penis.

Uncircumcised men also have to deal with foreskin infections a lot more frequently because of the growth medium the foreskin provides them little bugs. A circumcised penis is easier to keep clean.

There is also evidence to show a lower occurrence of cervical cancer of women married to circumcised men because it (Cervical cancer) is associated with herpes, which is one of those STDs that is curable. Male circumcision also helps preclude a rare kind of penile cancer in males. There is a slightly higher risk of HIV in partners of uncircumcised men due to the human papillomavirus but this can be alleviated with proper hygiene.

Because of the above advantages, there is a wide spread acceptance of male circumcision in the developed nations especially in the United States in comparison to female genital circumcision which tends to be more selfish than anything else.

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba
United Kingdom
Postgraduate degree student in Public Health Promotion