From Associated Press
By D'Arcy Doran
LONDON - Female genital mutilation, commonly associated with parts of Africa and the Middle East, is becoming a growing problem in Britain despite efforts to stamp it out. London's Metropolitan Police, Britain's largest police force, hopes a campaign beginning on Wednesday will highlight that the practice is a crime here.
To make their point, police are offering a $40,000 reward for information leading to Britain's first prosecution for female genital mutilation, Detective Chief Superintendent Alastair Jeffrey said.
In Britain, the problem mostly involves first-generation immigrants from Africa and the Middle East.
Police say they don't have comprehensive statistics about the number of victims. But midwife Comfort Momoh, who specializes in treating them at London hospitals and clinics and who works with police, told the news conference she treats 400 to 500 victims every year.
This is our Debby Downer moment for today. The clitorectomy (removal of the clitoris and sometimes labia) is performed at times as part of a ritual for young girls in some African and Middle Eastern tribes. The procedure rarely has medical benefit. It’s mostly thought to be a means of removing the pleasure from sex and thus decreasing the likelihood of a straying wife. For the most part, it has been a third-world problem, but it looks like some third-world immigrants bring their customs with them. This may be insufficient on the rage factor, but we thought that part of coming to the ‘free world’ was ditching oppression and joining mainstream. It could be argued, we suppose, that male children aren’t given any choice in their circumcision, but it’s a far safer procedure on the whole (though there is an ugly running theme in the novel Absurdistan about a botched bris). Hopefully, the British authorities and community leaders will figure out a fix to this problem right away.
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