C. Violence Against Women Contributes to FGM in the West
As long as violence against women is acceptable around the world, there will be FGM around the world. Female genital mutilation is ritualized torture. It is no different from rape and, in fact, it may be characterized as the rape of a woman's soul. If violence is viewed as the norm, then FGM fits right into the scheme. Below are just a few examples of the violence that women suffer on a daily basis.
• In the United States a women is raped every six minutes and a woman is battered every fifteen seconds.
• Every year in Bangladesh more than 200 women are disfigured by acid burnings by spurned husbands and suitors.
• Massive rapes of women continue to be used in Rwanda and elsewhere as an instrument of armed conflict.
[p820] • Up to 25,000 women a year are burned to death in India because their dowries are deemed too small.
• More than 15,000 Chinese girls and women are being kidnapped each year and sold as sex slaves.
• In the Russian Federation at least 36,000 women are beaten by a partner every day.
• The leading cause of death worldwide among girls and women from ages fourteen to forty-four is domestic violence.
• Each year, more than three million girls and women are estimated to be at risk of being subjected to female genital mutilation.
Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times wrote:
The global statistics on the abuse of girls are numbing. It appears that more girls and women are now missing from the planet, precisely because they are female, than men were killed on the battlefield in all the wars of the 20th century. The number of victims of this routine “gendercide” far exceeds the number of people who were slaughtered in all the genocides of the 20th century.
Simply put, unchecked violence against women is the reason why violence is able to continue; it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Violence and the threat of violence indicate that women continue to be valued less than their male counterparts. Because of this diminution of value, women worldwide are used as fungible commodities. As the above-quoted statistics indicate, women are abused at an alarming rate and on a daily basis. Without an outcry from women and those who purport to be champions of women, the abuse and torture of women will continue. Included in that litany of “wrongs” is female genital mutilation. No matter what spin is put on the practice of FGM, it must resume its rightful place among the statistics that proclaim the annual abuse, torture, and death rates that are visited upon women worldwide.
Until every country, that claims to want to put an end to FGM, stops the violence against women within their own borders and around the world, there will be no end to FGM. As long as violence in any form is acceptable, FGM will be acceptable.