Female Circumcision, or Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is illegal in the United States. Michigan Doctor, Jumana Nagarwala, has been caught preforming FGM on two girls from Minessota whose parents brought them across state lines to have the custom performed. Cultures that practice FGM site many of the same reasons for the practice that Americans use to justify male circumcision, or Male Genital Mutilation (MGM), and activists are calling for American boys to receive same legal protection as girls. The girls did not consent and did not know that they were going to have their most sensitive and private body parts cut.
Michigan doctor, Jumana Nagarwala, 44, was arrested on Wednesday for cutting the genitals of two 7-year-old girls at an unnamed medical clinic in Livonia, Michigan. According to the New York Times, the complaint said that “multiple” other girls, including some from Michigan, may have been victimized in the past decade. She is charged with transporting minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and with lying to federal agents.
The Justice Department released a statement Thursday that had intactivists (intact activists), human rights activists fighting for the right of bodily autonomy for all children, screaming “YES!!…but what about boys?!?”
In the statement, Kenneth Blanco stated “Dr. Nagarwala is alleged to have performed horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims. The Department of Justice is committed to stopping female genital mutilation in this country, and will use the full power of the law to ensure that no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemish also commented “The practice has no place in modern society,” and in the same report, Special Agent in Charge David Gelios reinforced that the FBI and its law enforcement partners are committed to ending the “barbaric practice and to ensure no additional children fall victim to this procedure.”
Special Agent Francis stated that “The allegations against the defendant in this investigation are made even more deplorable, given the defendant’s position as a trusted medical professional in the community.” But, infant male circumcisions are repeatedly preformed by doctors who likely do not know the many functions of natural male anatomy or how to properly care for it. In fact, bad advice from doctors to retract, or pull back, a baby’s foreskin and clean under it is the main reason that baby boys get infections.
NPR reports that the victims’ parents told them that the procedure was “to get the germs out,” which shows their parents may believe the same thing that many American parents believe—that foreskin is dirty. Nations that support FGM condone it for “health reasons” such as preventing infection and odors and to “keep clean” even though there is no medical evidence that cutting off their foreskin remedies such things. Proper hygiene, medical care and accessible remedies for UTI’s and yeast infections prevent having to have a functional, sexual, and highly sensitive body part cut off.
The girls were told that the “procedure was a secret and that they were not supposed to talk about it.” Likewise, parents who have opted to have their son’s penis cut do not want their son to be aware of what they have done to him even though they may believe that they have done their son a favor by cutting his penis. People are uncomfortable talking about circumcision and uncomfortable seeing protests against it.
Because circumcision is rarely talked about, Americans do not view it as sexual violation to boys and do not realize that men do complain. In a sexist, insensitive manner, people tease the victims by stating they must have “botched jobs.” Every circumcision is a botched job because it alters the natural functioning of the penis.
On Thursday, Dr. Nagarwala appeared in court and was ordered to be held in jail until a hearing on Monday. She denies all charges. The New York Times reports that Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital, where she practiced emergency medicine, has placed her on administrative leave.
Circumcision is a cosmetic surgery that comes with risks including death. It makes sex less pleasurable for both genders. It causes unnecessary pain. It eliminates the protection and other functions that foreskin provides. It is a human rights violation.
Doctor Nagarwala has been treated as a criminal and sex predator for mutilating the genitals of two girls. Intactivists hope male circumcision will gain the same opposition. The consent to cosmetic surgery upon an individual’s genitals lies with the person who owns the genitals, not their parents or doctors.
Three women recount the day they had their khatna, a mandatory practice of circumcision in the Dawoodi Bohra community.
Posted by Scroll on Wednesday, April 12, 2017