David Worboys – Persecution of the female

Photocredit Yana Mazurkevitch

The crime of rape is among the most serious and abhorrent. The violation of a woman’s body for short-term self-gratification frequently damages the victim for the rest of her life.

There are, of course, varying degrees of both harm and culpability. At worst, the rape may be compounded by the murder or life-changing mutilation of the victim. At the other extreme, there may be genuine confusion over the degree or presence of consent. The perpetrator could be a violent stranger or a friend who got “carried away”.

There are also varying degrees of murder, robbery and blackmail. Threatening the disclosure of sexual behaviour (whether deviances or infidelity) does not equate to the threat of murder of kidnapped hostages. But they are both detestable crimes.

There is nothing in the defence of genuine rape. However, there is one crime with no mitigation, and that is the genital mutilation of toddlers, girls and women (FGM). This is a life-changing violation of the natural rights of any female. The victim is usually defenceless – often a baby girl or a small child. The “operation” is painful – and the pain, along with the consequences, can endure for a lifetime. It is often performed by a female relative with no medical qualification. Consequently, the practice can and frequently does go wrong with disastrous results, such as recurrent infections, cysts, and difficulty urinating and menstruating. It can result in the inability to become pregnant, problems in childbirth and fatal bleeding.

In all these respects FGM has nothing in common with male circumcision. There are no health benefits from this practice which is performed simply to control women and their sexuality. The reasoning behind it seems to be a distorted interpretation of the beauty and sexual attraction of the female as an “affront to purity and modesty”. Those who refuse to submit to this barbaric act can suffer social exclusion, family abandonment or worse.

Allegedly, a majority of women in Egypt and several other African countries are in favour of its continuance. This is probably because it is claimed as a cultural tradition. Well, so was throwing Christians to the lions, burning to death suspected witches and foot-binding of girls in China.

Last year a woman was convicted of FGM for the first time in the UK. She assisted in the removal of the c******s of a three-year-old British girl on a trip to Kenya in 2006. Not until she was sixteen, did the girl tell a school friend about her ordeal which was reported immediately. She is now twenty-one and the courts have finally responded.

There are of course differences between FGM and rape. For example, the nature of the physical and mental damage suffered by the victim. The motive for rape is either selfish carnal pleasure or humiliation while FGM is based on a sickening interpretation of “purification”. The physical consequences of FGM are normally even more damaging than from rape.

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Written by

David Worboys

Offering a unique insight into everything from politics to food to sport, David is one of the Euro Weekly News´ most popular columnists.