Arranged Marriages, Tongkat Ali, Slow Painful Death

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The multiverse theory explains why each of us lives in an own universe in which we may as well be immortal.

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Paragould, Arkansas: Nigeria - The Ugly Scars of Female Genital Mutilation

Jayson R. Meehan 2501 Arlington Avenue Paragould, AR 72450

"I was circumcised when I was 14 years old, alongside my mates; it was a norm in Ebonyi State, those days.

"This tradition signifies that a girl has come of age, and is used to initiate girls into womanhood. Women take great joy in the practice. Most of us circumcised are kept in a room to heal, fed and treated specially by the older women," Nkechi Amadi recalls.

"Am presently unmarried at 40 years of age. I live with the pain every day; the pain is one you don't forget in a hurry. Imagine the torture when you want to ease yourself, especially with that grave injury between your legs, it's easier said than pictured or experienced," she further said.

Ene Joshua is now 30 years old, she was circumcised when she turned 15. She said the pain is something she still lives with.

"The experience flashes before your eyes, and dampens the ecstasy of love making. I am sure am frigid; sex just does nothing for me. That experience has ruined me for life. I have never had an orgasm," she laments.

Female Genital Mutilation is a violation of the human rights of girls and women and a form of gender-based violence.

According to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), FGM/C is a cultural practice with devastating medical, social, emotional, legal and economic repercussions for young girls and women.

The fund explained that the term refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for cultural or other non-medical reasons.

The UNFPA, also working to eliminate the practice of FGM/C, added that it has no medical benefits and so violates the human rights of women and girls and jeopardizes their health, rights and overall well-being.

A thought emphasized by the UNICEF Representative in Nigeria Mohamed Fall who said "every study and every bit of evidence we have shows there is absolutely no benefit to mutilate or to cut any girl or woman for non-medical reasons. It is a practice that can cause severe physical and psychological harm."

The 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey revealed that five states in Nigeria have rates of Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C) that are more than 60 per cent.

The report revealed that Osun and Ebonyi states have the highest prevalence at 77 and 74 per cent respectively.

The other states are Ekiti, 72 per cent; Imo, 68 per cent; and Oyo, 66 per cent.

Globally, at least 200 million girls and women in 30 countries alive today have suffered some form of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) as stated by fact sheet released by the United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF) and United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA).

According to the survey, the practice though concentrated in Africa, is practiced in some communities in Asia, Latin America, and the Arab states.

In a desperate attempt to stop the practice, in 2008, the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation was established and has since supported 17 countries in undertaking holistic and integrated work to end FGM/C.

So far, 13 countries have created policies and legal provisions and budget allocations to fight against FGM/C while more than 1.6 million girls and women have received services for FGM/C through various interventions.

According to the United Nation organisations, more than 18,300 communities, comprising about 25.5 million people have disavowed FGM/C.

But despite this laudable intervention, some communities still continue to indulge in the practice.

In Imo State, Ogechi Nwosu who said she inherited the trade from her mother, added that the practice was the only source of livelihood she indulged in to cater for her family.

Asked if given another source of livelihood she would give that up, she said, hesitantly, "I will try, but it's my profession. What will I tell mothers when they call me to circumcise their girls.

"Even if I refuse they will patronize another person to do the job. In my village there are five of us doing this business, so you see there is competition."

In 2016, the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme, working with governments, civil society and communities, said they were able to achieve some positive results in their struggle to end the menace.

In a fact sheet provided by UNICEF and UNFPA, they numerated the result to include, public declarations of abandonment of female genital mutilation made in 2,906 communities across 15 countries and 10,080 families in Egypt, reaching a total of about 8.5 million people.

They provided access to prevention, protection and treatment services to more than 730,000 girls and women, while in some instances the perpetrators were brought to justice and laws enforced.

According to them, 71 arrests were made, 252 FGM/C cases tried in court with 72 convictions, while four countries - Eritrea, Nigeria, Mauritania and Uganda - introduced FGM/C-related budget lines.

For many girls yet unborn and for those quickly approaching the forbidden age, this is a welcome development, as if fully implemented it will prevent them from undergoing the life time trauma.

Girls 14 and younger represent 44 million of those who have been cut, with the highest prevalence of FGM/C among this age in Gambia at 56 per cent, Mauritania 54 per cent and Indonesia where around half of girls aged 11 and younger have suffered the practice.

Countries with the highest prevalence among girls and women aged 15 to 49 are Somalia (98 per cent), Guinea (97 per cent) and Djibouti (93 per cent). In most of the countries the majority of girls were cut before their fifth birthday.

Momentum to address FGM/C is growing. Prevalence rates among girls aged 15 to 19 have declined in the last 30 years, such as in Liberia by 41 percentage points, in Burkina Faso (by 31), in Kenya (by 30) and in Egypt (by 27).

In February 2016, wife of the President, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, launched a national campaign to end FGM/C, calling on all parties to work together to halt this harmful practice.

Her call underlines the need for collective action at every level.

The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Aisha Jummai Alhassan, said the ministry would work with its donor partners and all wives of governors of the affected states to stop the practice.

She added that advocacy and campaigns would be launched in those states to underscore the harmful effect it had on girls who were circumcised.

The elimination of FGM/C has been sought for by numerous intergovernmental organisations, including the African Union, the European Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, as well as in three resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly.

It would be recalled that the Sustainable Development Goals, the global compact adopted in 2015 by 193 United Nations Member States, called for an end to FGM/C by 2030 under Goal 5 on Gender Equality, Target 5.3 Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates the need to invest about $980 million to have a significant impact in tackling FGM/C between 2018 and 2030.

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As long as you can fall in love again with a beautiful young woman, you will never die. That is the power of butea superba.

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Halstead, Kansas: Sadomasochist accused of strapping woman to 'torture board' and sending 240 volts through vagina CLEARED of sexual assault

Ronald C. Bartel 4468 Henery Street Halstead, KS 67506

A self-confessed sadomasochist accused of strapping a woman to a 'torture board' and sending 240 volts through her vagina has been cleared of sexual assault.

Road worker Keiren Batten, 43, was "obsessed with sadomasochistic sexual practices", a jury was told.

Prosecutor Simon Wilshire told them he "used" a 27-year-old woman "to satisfy his physical, dangerous sexual desires re bondage, sadism and restraint."

Batten stood trial on one count of sexual assault which related to the incident involving his homemade electric torture board.

The complainant claimed he attached crocodile clips to her labia while she was strapped to the restraint board he had made from plywood and pet collars and belts.

In his defence, Batten, from Hitchin, Herts, told a jury in fact it was he who had submitted to painful sexual practices.

He denied having electrocuted the complainant via her vagina.

He also claimed his own genitals had been left scarred after the woman used a blowtorch on them and that she also carved her name into his thigh with a Stanley knife.

A jury cleared Batten of sexual assault and another count of assault relating to an accusation he had pushed the woman during an argument.

Jurors could not come to a verdict on a charge of assault relating to a head butt.

Prosecutors have a week to decide whether to retry Batten on the matter.

During the trial at Cambridge Crown Court, the jury of seven woman and five men were asked to join the judge and barristers to examine to homemade torture board.

Defence barrister Neil Fitzgibbon asked Batten to lie down on the board in court and strap himself to it using the head, body, arm and leg collars, belts and chain.

Judge Farrell came down from his bench to stand with barristers and jurors to examine Batten's demonstration on the floor of the court.

Jurors were also shown explicit photographs of Batten's genitals bearing the branding and burn marks.

The complainant told the court she went along with some of the kinky sex because Batten said she was "boring" in bed.

Twice she was electrocuted through her nipples.

But, she claimed Batten on another occasion connected the lead to her vagina although she had said he must not.

"He put the crocodile clips inside, attached to my labia, and shocked me," she said.

"He turned it on and I just caught my breath because you think you are going to die.

"I have never experienced anything so hideous in my life.

"I never went on the board again.

"After that 'I was rubbish in bed' and 'everybody else was better', 'I was just a prude'."

The witness said: "He calls it a torture and it is torture really.

"As I got a bit braver I said no and that's when he got bored and went elsewhere."

In cross-examination, she accepted she carved her name with a Stanley knife into his inner thigh, but denied she used a blowtorch or the shocker on him.

Batten had earlier pleaded guilty to criminally damaging a mobile phone and taking a hammer to a wall at the complainant's home and has been remanded in custody to be sentenced for those offences on 2 May.

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Universal education for women is not in the interest of men. For some women, a good education is OK. For the majority, it is unneeded.

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Chester, Pennsylvania: Female genital circumcision in Ghana - Part 1

Harold L. Fizer 3293 Cityview Drive Chester, PA 19013

“Clitoridectomy and female circumcision, practices often labeled as female genital mutilations, are not just controversial cultural rites performed in foreign countries…

“…medical historian reports that American physicians treated women and girls for masturbation by removing the clitoris from the mid-19th century through the mid-20th century. And physicians continue to perform female circumcision (removal of the clitoral hood) to enable women to reach orgasm, although the procedure is controversial and can result in lasting problems such as painful intercourse for some women…

“‘The medical view was to change the female body to treat a girl or woman’s ‘faulty’ sexual behavior, such as masturbation or difficulty having an orgasm, rather than questioning the narrowness of what counted as culturally appropriate behavior,’ said Rodriguez, who also is a lecturer in global health studies at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. ‘This practice is still alive and well in the United States as part of the trend in female cosmetic genital surgery…’” (Marla Paul, “Clitoridectomy and Female Circumcision in America: Centuries-old Procedures Reflect Views of ‘Appropriate’ Female Sexuality,” December 1, 2014).

Introduction

The issue of female genital mutilation, a practice encompassing a partial or complete removal of the clitoris, has been a tricky and contentious subject for many people across diverse religious, political, and ideological persuasions.

According to the World Health Organization, “An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM…In Africa, about three million girls are at risk for FGM annually…It is mostly carried out on girls sometime between infancy and age 15 years.”

Therefore, given these staggering statistics, the World Health Organization should monitor countries identified with the practice of female genital mutilation by educating their populace on the dangers to which infant girls and young women are inevitably subjected to and the need to minimize or eliminate them.

Then also Ghana News Agency (GNA), in 2013, reported an increase in cases of the practice in spite of a ban imposed on it. According to the GNA, a UNICEF multiple Indicator Cluster (MICS) puts “FGM at 3.8 per cent for women between 15 to 49 years and four per cent for the most recent survey of 2011” (See also Article 39 of the Constitution; and the so-called Maputo Protocol (2007). We should also remember that Ghana abolished the practice as far back as 1994, under the administration of Rawlings).

This report further mentioned the three northern regions (the Northern Region, the Upper East Region, the Upper West Region), the Brong Ahafo Region, and Zongo communities in certain urban centers of the country, Ghana, where the practice still goes on. (see Rogaia M. Abusharaf’s edited volume “Female Circumcision: Multicultural Perspectives” for a much broader discussion of the subject matter across Africa).

Perhaps Adelaide Abankwah’s disgraceful case has not completely died yet. Adelaide, whose real name was Regina Norman Danson, from Biriwa in the Central Region of Ghana, used the female-genital-mutilation excuse to apply for political asylum in the US only to be found out, a case that unleashed a chain reaction of outright lies on the part of the asylee and embroiled Ghana in an international ignominy of sorts. How sad that Hillary Clinton and Julia Roberts publicly defended her. This author met in person with a Somali-American City College professor of African and African-American history who appeared on Gil Noble’s “Like It Is” to defend the fraud.

Finally, we should also want to make it clear that female genital mutilation was and still is practiced among whites, and in the white world at large, in the West (see Sarah Rodriguez’s book “Female Circumcision and Clitoridectomy in the United States: A History of a Medical Treatment.” Dr. Rodriguez teaches in the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, USA; Readers may also want to take a look at Isaac B. Brown’s book “On the Curability of Certain Forms of Insanity, Epilepsy, Catalepsy, and Hysteria in Females” for more information on clitoridectomy in 19-century Europe, Britain to be precise).

Well, this two-part article takes a general look at the practice as it is done across Africa.

Need for change

The dilemma here is that proponents advance their arguments without evidently paying sufficient attention to what the practice actually is and to the enduring health hazards and psychological disequilibrium to which these female infants and young women are constantly exposed.

Indeed, some of these arguments are subtly constructed to further complicate the subject; for instance, the case is often made that male circumcision is no different from the female version, yet nowhere is it mentioned that the consequential long-lasting medical and psychological hazards resulting from the latter far outweigh those from the former (PalMD, 2008).

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The following arguments therefore provide the requisite grounds for the active monitorial presence and educational intervention of the World Health Organization in countries known to tolerate the practice.

The first issue is the four major classification groups subsumed under female genital mutilation. These four groups are very important for the debate because they provide us with a vivid picture describing in some detail the various forms under which mutilation of the female genitalia is generally conducted.

In most of these cases the same excision instrument is used on several persons without the benefit of sanitizing. In this regard, representatives from the World Health Organization should team up with the clergy, traditional rulers, lawyers, politicians, local scientists, and the like to collect and collate data in order to objectify the health hazards of the practice, as could be deduced from the following four broad categories defined by The Center for Reproductive Rights:

• Type I (also referred to as “clitoridectomy”): the excision of the prepuce with or without excision of the clitoris.

• Type II (also known as “excision”): the excision of the prepuce and clitoris together with partial or total excision of the labia minora.

• Type 111 (otherwise termed “infibulation”): the excision of part or all of the external genitalia and stitching or narrowing of the vaginal opening.

• Type IV: all other procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reasons.

The second pertinent controversy commonly encountered in the heated debates associated with female genital mutilation concerns the serious nature and permanency of the psychological perturbations many of these women inescapably inherit from the largely anesthesia-free surgeries, as well as from the multifariously severe medical consequences.

For the most part, these victims are surprisingly left to fend off these deleterious effects without the timely medical and legislative interventions required of the medical establishment and lawmakers, respectively, and the lack of political action or will on the part of politicians to reverse age-old cultural norms that have long provided the necessary ideological leverage for the practice.

In fact, supporters of the practice are quick to cite a plethora of reasons including custom and traditions, among others, as viable justifications for its incessant observation.

Here, for instance, the World Health Organization can wreck the cultural foundation of female genital mutilation by the sheer invocation of statistics exposing the cultural vacuity of the practice.

This suggestion is strongly supported by facts presented in the article “Female Genital Mutilation—The Facts,” a piece authored by Laura Reymond, Asha Mohamed, and Nancy Ali. They write:

• Intense pain and/or hemorrhage that can lead to shock during and after the procedure: A 1985 Sierra Leon study found that nearly 97 percent of the 269 women interviews experienced intense pain during and after FGM, and more than 13 percent went into shock.

• Hemorrhage can also lead to anemia.

• Wound infection, including tetanus: A survey in a clinic outside of Freetown (Sierra Leone) showed that of the 100 girls who had FGM, 1 died and 12 required hospitalization. Of the 12 hospitalized, 10 suffered from bleeding and 5 from tetanus. Tetanus is fatal in 50 to 60 percent of all cases.

• Damage to adjoining organs from the use of blunt instruments by unskilled operators: According to a 1993 nationwide study in the Sudan, this occurs approximately 0.3 percent of the time.

• Urine retention from swelling and/or blockage of the urethra.

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Third, statistical validation from the medical profession establishing the causal relationship between female genital mutilation and the psychological health of victims is not extensive enough to merit considerable quotation here for purposes of serious analysis, since such data from the medical literature are shockingly lacking.

However, some evidence does seem to suggest that the causal relationship is there, but has not been thoroughly studied.

Therefore, there is the need for more research resources to be made available to those with the expertise to study the correlation between these two variables.

For this reason, the World Health Organization can provide much-needed technical assistance in this area. Despite this constraint, the Center for Reproductive Rights has this to say:

“There have been few studies on the psychological effects of FGM. Some women, however, have reported a number of problems, such as disturbances in sleep and mood.”

Furthermore, Reymond, et al., relate this causal relationship to their readers:

“Some researchers describe the psychological effects of FGM as ranging from anxiety to sever depression and psychosomatic illnesses. Many children exhibit behavioral changes after FGM, but problems may not be evident until the child reaches adulthood.”

Fourth, what is more, a constellation of problems of infertility, death, increased risks of maternal and child morbidity and mortality resulting from obstructed labor, painful or blocked menses, post-coital bleeding, tissue damage, urine retention, urinary infection, and difficult penetration during sexual intercourse have all been identified with FGM (Reymond at el.).

The practice also reeks of sexism and violation of girls’ and women’s rights (WHO). Also, in some of the areas where the practice is still deeply entrenched, for instance, in Somalia, the level of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, have increased because of the failure of traditional circumcisers to sterilize excision tools between surgeries.

The gravity of this claim demands the undivided attention of the World Health Organization and FGM-prone national governments in addressing this complex issue, especially as it relates to the curtailment of disease transmission. It is reported in the piece, “Somali-Somaliland—Excision—AIDS: Female Genital Mutilation: Cause of Increased HIV/AIDS in Somalia: Doctors,” that:

“Objects used for the excision are not sterilized and at the same could again be used to mutilate more women, who could already be HIV-positive.”

Additionally, Margaret Brady, a nurse practitioner, with a master’s in nursing and extensive experience in her field of expertise, concurs in her masterfully written expose, “Female Genital Mutilation: Complications and Risk of HIV Transmission”:

“It has been postulated that FGM may play a role in the transmission of HIV. One recent article which, was presented at the International Conference on AIDS 1998, was a study performed on 7350 young girls less than 16 years old in Dar-es-Salaam. In addition to other aspects of the research, it was revealed that 97% of the time, the same equipment could be used on 15-20 girls. The conclusion of the study was that the use of the same equipment facilitated HIV/AIDS/STD transmission.”

As a final point, the UNFPA also reports:

“A recent study that surveyed the status of FGM/C in 28 obstetric centers in six African countries—Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan—found that women who had undergone FGM/C were significantly more likely than others to have adverse obstetric outcomes such as Caesarean sections, post-partum hemorrhaging, prolonged labour, resuscitation of the infant and low birth weight and in-patient prenatal deaths. The inquiry also discovered that the risks seemed to increase among women who had undergone more extensive forms of FGM/C.”

Fifth, why does female genital mutilation continue to exist despite widespread backlash against it? Part of the answer relates to the ideological, cultural, and psychological manipulation of the citizenry.

The other part lies with the immense power vested with traditional practitioners to carry out the mutilations, in addition to the attractive financial incentive and coveted social prestige they stand to gain.

Accordingly, any fruitful attempt designed to ameliorate female genital mutilation’s harmful consequences or to extirpate the practice from the unfathomable recesses of man’s consciousness must ultimately come from a frank and profound familiarity with the realistic interplay of these socio-cultural and economic elements.

Therefore, a defensive maneuver calculated to enervate proponents’ viewpoints and to divest them of their flimsy ideological clothes must surely connect well with these noble objectives. This is also why the following reasons presented by the World Health Organization should be challenged:

• It endows a girl with cultural identity as a woman.

• It imparts on a girl a sense of pride, a coming of age and admission to the community.

• Not undergoing the operation brands a girl as a social outcast and reduces her prospects of finding a husband.

• It is part of a mother’s duties in raising a girl “properly” and preparing her for adulthood and marriage.

• It is believed to preserve a girl’s virginity, widely regarded as a prerequisite for marriage, and helps to preserve her morality and fidelity.

Not unsurprisingly, however, these misguided claims are made without any concrete allusion to scientific verification or approbation, even though they may possess some measure of anthropological verity.

Yet the harsh realities on the ground do not impute substantial health benefits to anthropological claims of the practice, let alone be used to justify it.

Thus, the preceding analyses can provide the World Health Organization with indubitable moral and political impetus, at least from the perspective of this essay, to monitor and educate countries associated with the practice and the masses populating them.

Moreover, the challenge now is to formulate a corrective framework within which the World Health Organization should operate in order to bring about the needed changes. This concern is expressed below.

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America and Europe are evil. Let them self-destruct by fostering sexual hatred. They will kill each other, and the system will kill itself.

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