We won’t eradicate FGM if we keep misunderstanding its history (Opinion)

by Sada Mire, The Guardian, Mon 9 Mar 2020

FGM researcher says midwives are the frontline of Australia’s fight against the practice

ABC Radio Sydney, 6/2/2020

For Western Sydney University researcher Olayide Ogunsiji, female genital mutilation was so prevalent where she grew up in Nigeria, her own cutting was never questioned. When her daughter was born, there was every chance her child would have also undergone the traumatic practice if not for the education Dr Ogunsiji received in antenatal care. 

Key points:

  • Female genital mutilation/cutting refers to procedures that removed or injured female genital organs for non-medical reasons
  • The practice is illegal in Australia but roughly 53,000 women have been living with female genital mutilation in Australia
  • Antenatal clinics were often on the frontline of helping these women, but one expert said staff needed more specialised training to be better equipped in dealing with these patients

Female genital cutting (FGC) & cervical screening: A guide for practitioners

CANCER COUNCIL VICTORIA & WOMEN’S HEALTH WEST FARREP
PROGRAM, First published 2017

The World Health Organization defines female genital cutting (FGC) as ‘all procedures that include partial or total removal of female genital organs or other injury to female genital organs for non-medical reasons’.

‘Female genital mutilation’ is the term used in Australian and Victorian legislation, but the preferred way to refer to the practice using culturally sensitive language is ‘female circumcision’ or ‘traditional cutting’. The age at which this occurs varies from infancy to 15 years.

The practice is referred to as FGC throughout this document.

This 2-page guideline document includes facts about prevalance, type, appropriate questioning, examination technique, and more.

 

Exploring HIV risks, testing and prevention among sub-Saharan African community members in Australia

International Journal for Equity in Health, 2018, 17:62

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-018-0772-6

Abstract

Background

Significant health disparities persist regarding new and late HIV diagnoses among sub-Saharan African (SSA) communities in Australia. Personal/cultural beliefs and practices influence HIV (risk, prevention, testing) within Australia and during visits to home countries.

Method

A community forum was conducted involving 23 male and female adult African community workers, members and leaders, and health workers; facilitated by cultural workers and an experienced clinician/researcher. The forum comprised small/large group discussions regarding HIV risk/prevention (responses transcribed verbatim; utilising thematic analysis).

Results

Stigma, denial, social norms, tradition and culture permeated perceptions/beliefs regarding HIV testing, prevention and transmission among African Australians, particularly regarding return travel to home countries.

Conclusions

International travel as a risk factor for HIV acquisition requires further examination, as does the role of the doctor in HIV testing and Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). Further assessment of PrEP as an appropriate/feasible intervention is needed, with careful attention regarding negative community perceptions and potential impacts.

First criminal prosecution of female genital mutilation in Queensland goes to trial today

ABC News, 21/05/18

The first couple to be prosecuted on female genital mutilation charges in Queensland have pleaded not guilty to allegedly taking two girls aged nine and 12 to Africa to undergo the procedure.

The African man and woman—who cannot be named for legal reasons—were charged in 2015 on two counts each of removing a child from the state for female genital mutilation.

Their case is being heard today at a Beenleigh sitting of the District Court.

Psychosexual Complications of FGM for Couples: A Comparative Study in Iran

wadi.org, 29.04.2017

Most research on the health and sexuality consequences of FGM has been limited to circumcised women, and prior to this study, no research was done on the effects of FGM in couples. With attention on psychosexual problems related to FGM and on increasing numbers of women who were circumcised in childhood and who have now reached the age of marriage or of being married, the sexual function, mental health and marital satisfaction of these women and their husbands is going to become an increasingly important issue.

Our study makes several contributions to what is known about the association between the relationship of mental health, marital satisfaction, and sexual function among couples who are victims of FGM. We found that FGM is strongly associated with marital dissatisfaction, sexual dysfunction, and psychiatric symptoms for both wife and husband victims of FGM. As we expected, in the field of fear, paranoid thoughts, psychotic thoughts, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive tendencies, and feelings of inferiority, couples who were victims of FGM were in worse mental condition than normal couples Second, we found that marital satisfaction of couples who were victims of FGM was lower and worse condition than that of normal couples, specifically in the fields of personal issues, marital relationship, solving problems, and sexual relationship Finally, we found that sexual function of couples who were victims of FGM was lower, specifically in psychological arousal, physiologic arousal, ease of orgasm, and orgasm satisfaction, compared with normal couples.

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