12 February 2014

Liberia: Rush for Clitoris Repair

Photo: Newtown grafitti/Flickr
Graffiti opposing female genital mutilation or cutting.

As the international community led by the United Nations and its supporting agencies as well as human rights groupings worldwide step up advocacies and campaigns against one of the world's devastatingly barbaric traditional practices, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a more tangible approach is being put into place to address the problem.

As gathered by this paper, victims of the so-called barbaric tradition of FGM across the West African sub-region are exodusing in mass to a new clitoris repair hospital which is about to open to the public.

A specific number of victims that have already showed up for registration and/ or possible surgery was not available up to press time, but the number is said to be huge and overwhelming.

Established in 2013 by some concerned medical doctors to aid FGM victims, it is the world's first Clitoral Repair Hospital located in Bobo Dioulasso, a city in the West African state of Burkina Faso.

Women's Rights and Democracy Centre, a Liberian-based human rights women group informed this paper in Monrovia a US-based, nonprofit organization is offering clitoral repair surgery to FGM victims in West Africa.

The women dominated organization is part of the Liberia's Civil Society Organization (CSO) that is strongly canvassing against FGM practices.

Madam Agatha Kenndy, Program Officer of the organization, said the Clitoral Repair Hospital was built with funds donated by non-governmental groupings as a worldwide volunteering venture to help victims of FGM in West Africa.

The hospital which has begun receiving inquiries and visitations by throng of victims from parts of West Africa will be officially opened to the public with Liberia expected to be represented at the program by Madam Kennedy.

The first lady of Burkina Faso will grace the opening of the Clitoral Repair Hospital on March 7, 2014, a communication sent to Women's Rights and Democracy Centre by the Clitoraid Communication Director from Burkina Faso said.

Clitoraid is an American institution that has been working to find solutions to problems arising from FGM and at the same time dealing with victims.

First lady Chantal Compaore has been a steadfast voice against the horrors of FGM, the communication said.

Hundreds of women who are FGM victims are already on waiting list to undergo clitoris repair surgery at no cost to them at all.

"Their wait is almost over" Gray said. "The new facility, the 'Kamkasso' which means the house for women has been nicknamed 'the Pleasure House', since the surgery will restore their dignity as women as well as their ability to experience physical pleasure, which was taken from them against their will."

A spiritual leader, Maitreya Rael, who heard about a clitoral repair procedure developed by Dr. Pierre Foldes in France launched clitoraid and the idea of building clinics that offer free surgery for FGM victims, the communication said.

"Eliminating FGM is essential for women's health, so governments must keep passing laws against it. But Dr. Rael realized that it is also important to repair the damage already caused to living victims. This hospital is the result of his vision," Madam Gray, the Clitoral Repair Hospital Communication Director stressed.

"The clitoraid volunteer surgeons from the United States, Dr. Marci Bowers, M. D., and Dr. Harold Henning Jr., M.D. are expected to perform surgeons at the new hospital and also train other surgeons to do it."

"The goal is to help as many victims as possible have this surgery which will also help discourage the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation."

The United Nations said despite of international campaigns, millions of girls in Africa remain at risk, and that the practice is still common in Liberia as there is no law against said barbaric practice.

Dozens of Liberian girls and women are being victimized by the practiced and are said to be finding it hard to live with the reality of the nightmare of FGM.

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