Female genital mutilation (FGM) has to be one of the most barbaric, horrific things one can do to a female. And don’t even dare compare it to male circumcision, because there is no comparison, whatsoever. And yet, it’s a hideous practice that continues to this day, not just in countries of origin, but in countries where those people have emigrated. To do this to a young girl is just sickening. It’s painful and traumatizing to the child, and in spite of the fact that the mothers usually have also been mutilated, they have no problems subjecting their precious daughters to the same torture.
Not so, however, for one 28-year-old divorced Bahraini mother. In her case, it was her ex-husband who had the maid chop up their 5-year-old daughter’s genitals, not the mother. Apparently FGM is not common in Bahrain and it has sent shock waves throughout the country.
The couple married six years ago, but divorced soon after the birth of their only daughter. The mother won a custody battle in Bahrain in 2006, but the father eventually had custody of the daughter after a court in his country ruled in his favour.
The mother, however, won visitation rights and often made the trip to her former husband’s country to be reunited with her daughter. She was also allowed to receive her daughter in Bahrain.
Why the father received custody of the child is inexplicable, since children should always be with their mothers, barring any mental problems. I’m sure in this case, as per usual, the court sided with the father because males take precedence over women.
It was on her last visit with her daughter that she noticed something was terribly amiss. Not eating and pale, the mother took the child to a private clinic where it was discovered there was damage to her child’s genitals. It wasn’t until a visit to Salmaniya Medical Complex, for a second opinion, that the truth was finally revealed.
A report prepared by Dr Fadheela Al Mahroos, the hospital’s consultant pediatrician and chairwoman of the Child Protection Unit, confirmed that there had been a major disfiguration of the girl’s genitals.
The mother refused to allow her daughter to return to her father and, through a lawyer, sought a court order to keep the child. A religious court subsequently issued a travel ban that effectively keeps the young girl in Bahrain and the public prosecution is now looking into the case and has ordered a fresh medical checkup.
Local child rights activists and doctors said that the case was shocking and painful.
“We have never come across such a case in Bahrain and we are all aware of the adverse effects of female circumcision on the sexual and maternal life of a woman,” Dr Amal Al Jowder, head of health promotion, said.
Dr Fakhriya Dairi who runs a health counselling centre criticised the father.
“If what was mentioned about the girl’s circumcision was true, the father is certainly to blame for mentally and physically torturing his own daughter. He must have been aware of what happened to his daughter,” she said.
FGM needs to be outlawed in every land on this earth and harsh laws enacted to ensure that young girls are not subjected to this kind of torture. Had God meant for women to not have our sexual organs we would have been born without them. In addition to laws, there needs to be some major re-education so these people realize that no religion calls for female circumcision.