Training urged as midwives deal with female genital mutilation cases

 by Claudia Calleja


There have been "quite a number" of women who underwent female genital mutilation and who have turned up at the hospital to give birth, a conference on FGM organised by the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses heard this morning.

 Antoinette Saliba, senior midwife and university lecturer said the patients were often "anxious and so afraid".

There was no local policy on how these cases should be tackled. For example, there was no policy on how to go about the reversal of the infibulation (the sewn vagina) before the woman gave birth. This could be done at various stages including during pregnancy or during the first stages of labour. It was against the law for the vagina to be re-sutured after birth, even though some husbands requested this.

Ms Saliba spoke about the importance of education and also the need to incorporate training on FGM for midwives that was currently obtained through experience

Laura Pullicino, a nurse who works with the Jesuit Refugee Services, said she was involved in a project with the UNHCR during which she spoke to women and men and explained to them that FGM was not accepted in Europe and why

During group sessions men and women were shown a video clip of the procedure. The clip showed a girl, about five years old, screaming as she was held down by women while her genitals were cut and sewn shut. "You could see the tears in the eyes of the women even after so many years. 

Some women were angry that their culture was being questioned but some recognised that it should not continue. Women spoke about the strong social pressure they felt to undergo FGM as otherwise they were isolated by their community. The women spoke about their experience during intercourse with some husbands slitting them with a knife

Group sessions with men revealed that some men said this was done to control their women to ensure they were not promiscuous. When they were shown the video clip some men could not take the images. It turned out they never witnessed an FGM procedure

They defended their tradition but were open to discussion. One man said that, now that he saw how it was done, he would never send a woman for the operation.

 Ms Pullicino said there was the need for more sensitivity from healthcare professionals in Malta and she gave the example of a gynaecologist who asked: "What can I do for her? Why did she let them do it to her in the first place?"

 She spoke about the need for more training and education.

Labour MP Chris Fearne urged nurses and midwives to report any cases of female genital mutilation which they knew of and that would soon become a crime under Maltese law.

 In September, Dr Fearne tabled a private members bill in Parliament to make FGM illegal in Malta. This will also apply to cases where Maltese girls are taken abroad for the procedure to be carried out overseasThe bill is being given a second reading next week and is expected to become law since there seemed to be consensus in Parliament, he said.

 Dr Fearne, a paediatric surgeon, said nurses and midwives were duty bound to report any cases they became aware of. Failing to do so made them, and anyone who did not report such a case, liable to a fine and the new law would exempt them from patient confidentiality in such cases.

 He said it was important to educate people that FGM was not a good thing and to "scare" anyone from performing it in Malta or on a Maltese citizen. He said the World Health Organisation estimated that between 150 million and 200 million women in the world were living with the consequences of FGM but little was known as the western world tended to ignore this.

 "But now we were seeing migrant communities coming into Europe and the subject needs to be discussed," he said.

 "This is not a stand against something from a foreign culture but against something that is intrinsically wrong," he said.

 FGM is a common cultural ritual carried out in many African countries. There are three man types of FGM carried out on young girls. One includes snipping off the clitoris, another removes the clitoris and the inner labia and, in the most severe case, the outer labia are also removed and there is the fusion of the wound.

Women suffer in future as intercourse is painful with some men not managing to penetrate their wives and resorting to creating a slit with a knife. This also creates complications during labour with two per cent of babies dying because of FGM.

 



A 2013 article republished here as a community education effort  The article first appeared here.

Joys of Muslim Women

by Nonie Darwish


In the Muslim faith a Muslim man can marry a child as young as 1 year old and have sexual intimacy with this child. Consummating the marriage by 9.

The dowry is given to the family in exchange for the woman (who becomes his slave) and for the purchase of the private parts of the woman, to use her as a toy.

Even though a woman is abused she can not obtain a divorce. To prove rape, the woman must have (4) male witnesses. Often after a woman has been raped, she is returned to her family and the family must return the dowry.

The family has the right to execute her (an honor killing) to restore the honor of the family. Husbands can beat their wives 'at will' and he does not have to say why he has beaten her.

The husband is permitted to have (4 wives) and a temporary wife for an hour (prostitute) at his discretion.

The Shariah Muslim law controls the private as well as the public life of the woman.

In the Western World (America) Muslim men are starting to demand Shariah Law so the wife can not obtain a divorce and he can have full and complete control of her. It is amazing and alarming how many of our sisters and daughters attending American Universities are now marrying Muslim men and submitting themselves and their children unsuspectingly to the Shariah law.



Author and lecturer Nonie Darwish was born in Cairo and spent her childhood in Egypt and Gaza before emigrating to America in 1978, When she was eight years old, her father died while leading covert attacks on Israel. He was a high- ranking Egyptian military officer stationed with his family in Gaza.

When he died, he was considered a "shahid," a martyr for jihad. His posthumous status earned Nonie and her family an elevated position in Muslim society.

But Darwish developed a skeptical eye at an early age. She questioned her own Muslim culture and upbringing. She converted to Christianity after hearing a Christian preacher on television. In her latest book, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law, she warns about creeping sharia law - what it is, what it means, and how it is manifested in Islamic countries.

For the West, she says radical Islamists are working to impose sharia on the world. If that happens, Western civilization will be destroyed. In twenty years there will be enough Muslim voters in the U.S. to elect the President!  Female Circumcision most commonly known as Female Genital mutilation is also occurring in the United States.