Wluml dossier 3 June/July 1988 Sexual Mutilations

The entrance to the vagina

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The entrance to the vagina
This is situated just below the entrance to the urethra. It is normally covered by a thin protective skin called the hymen. The hymen is normally partially perforated or has a small opening at the side to allow the menses during menstruation to flow. When the labia minora are completely removed, this skin is also likely to be damaged. The hymen is highly valued in most tribes as a visible sign of virginity.
What happens when a girl is circumcised?

  1. When the clitoris is removed, even if only a little of it is removed:

(i) The prepuce is removed and also the glands and so the woman loses he rich supply of nerves and the part does not become very erotic during sexual stimulation.

(ii) When the prepuce and the glans are removed the woman loses the smegma that normally flows during sexual stimulation and therefore her vagina remains dry. She can

only be lubricated by smegma from her husband if the husband is not circumcised.

(iii) The removal of the clitoris interferes with the dorsal artery and the girl may have heavy bleeding which can lead to:

a. shock or instant death

b. severe anaemia.
(iv) Removal of the clitoris which is very close to the urethra may cause injury to the urethra. If the urethra is damaged it may cause urinary retention with consequent destruction of the kidneys and possibly death.
(b) When the labia minora are removed partially or completely, or when the parts are made to infuse or are sewn up:
(i) The girl may later experience difficult and painful sexual intercourse. This may be caused by lack of lubrication but also by the fact that inner lips are not now erectile because of scars.
(ii) The woman may experience difficults births. If the scar on the labia minor is very big, the scar will not stretch easily and the expulsion of the foetus (baby) will be difficult. In some cases the baby dies before delivery.
(iii) The removal of the labia minora may cause complications which may result in the woman passing urine through the vagina and therefore urinating all the time causing her to smell, or it may cause a condition whereby the faeces pass through the vagina.
(iv) When the parts are sewn up the woman will experience a very painful first sexual intercourse and also first childbirth. The pain may psychologically affect her subsequent lovemaking with her husband.
(c) In all cases of female circumcision, especially if the act is done by unqualified people, the patient may develop infection and this can make her sick. If she hides and does not go to hospital in time, she might even die from infection.

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