The surgeon helping women after genital mutilation
In Barcelona, a doctor offers reconstructive surgery to women of African origin who were subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) as children – but some experts say the operation cannot possibly work, and undermines the campaign to prevent FGM being carried out in the first place.
It is three weeks before her operation, and Wenkune is scared.
“Any surgery is frightening, but this is so serious, it affects you a lot. It’s hard to imagine that something that was taken away from you so long ago can be replaced. You have no idea how you will face the change that’s coming,” she reflects.
Wenkune was born in Burkino Faso and has been living in Spain for 10 years. She is nearly 40, the mother of four children, and an activist for women’s rights. And she lives with the memories of what happened to her when she was five years old.
“It’s like a film in my head. Whenever I go back to my village, I remember. The spot by the river where they cut me, the house they took me to afterwards. If you’ve been that maltreated and abused, it’s something you just can’t remove from your head.”
She hopes the surgery might help her recover psychologically.
Dr Barri has operated on over 40 women so far at the private Instituto Universitario Dexeus hospital where he heads up the surgical gynaecology team. The procedure involves excavating the buried clitoris – the part that was not destroyed during the mutilation – and exposing it once more.
But this Information is so important, I add it, too: (same link as above)
What is FGM?
- Procedures which alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons
- Dangers include severe bleeding, problems urinating, infections, infertility and increased risk of newborn deaths in childbirth
- Typically carried out on young girls between infancy and 15
- More than 30 million girls are at risk of FGM over the next decade, a study by Unicef has found
- More than 125 million girls and women alive today have undergone the procedure
- FGM remains almost universal in Somalia, Guinea, Djibouti and Egypt