I ask you to imagine your young daughter, or granddaughter, anywhere from the age of 4 to 12 years of age, being held down on the ground by several women, her legs spread and stabilized as either a rusty knife or thorns from an Acacia Tree are being used to cut out her clitoris. Blood is flowing profusely, her screams are piercing your heart, and no anesthesia is available. There will be no stitches and your baby will be left with a hole the size of a small pebble.
You know, from experience, she will have infections for the rest of her life, won’t be able to menstruate properly because of the back flow of blood, and that sex and childbearing will be excruciatingly painful for the rest of her life (as will urinating and menstruation). But you cannot stop the process or she will be ineligible for marriage and treated as an outcast and a whore for the rest of her life. So will her family.
Such is the custom in approximately 80 percent of Earth. It’s called Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) or Female Genital Cutting (FGC). Sometimes it’s called Female Circumcision, but that’s not an accurate term. There’s a world of difference between female circumcision and male circumcision!
Now you may be asking why you should care about these little girls in Africa and Asia. As a Christian, I answer this way: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son… (Please note it does not say America, but the world.)
Asia is the largest continent in the world in both area and population. (19,189,277 miles which covers about 60 percent of Earth’s total land area, and almost 4 billion inhabitants, or about 56 percent of the world’s populations.)
Africa is the second-largest continent in the world in both area and population (11,700, 000 miles, covering about 20 percent of Earth’s total land area, and 885 million human inhabitants, about 14 percent of the world’s population.) So, if you do the math, between the two continents, we’re talking about 80 percent of Earth in area, and about 12 billion human beings, as of 2004. Don’t you think The Great Commission Go into all the world includes this 80 percent?
I’ve been reading an excellent book by Sandy Willcox with Arina Short called CutFlowers, Female Genital Mutilation and a Biblical Response. You will not find this book at Amazon, but you can find it at EqualityDepot.com
Cut Flowers contains an overview of FGM throughout Africa, some cultural characteristics of these societies, and the health consequences of FGM. Willcox gives a biblically based response to FGM, as well as resources and recommendations about ways to comfort and act on behalf of women undergoing FGM. This book is valuable to a wide range of professions, including ministers, social workers, and health care workers.
If you are just being introduced to the practice, as I was, the book may feel graphic and distressing, but I encourage you to learn about the reality of billions of women’s lives. There are many Christian Ministries present in the continents of Africa and Asia, trying to help with this problem, and I will be writing about how you can contact them and help these precious girls. In the meantime, hug your baby tight and thank God you live in a country which neither promotes nor condones this barbaric practice.