Deeper Into Circumcision: An Invitation to Awareness

Obstetrical/Gynecological Mutilation

Most people in this country probably think of female genital mutilation as something done to young girls in tribal Africa or Muslim countries. But there are millions of women in the U.S. today who have been genitally mutilated -- many deliberately -- by unnecessary hysterectomies[1], episiotomies[2] colporrhaphies[3], and/or other needless or contraindicated surgery, including clitoridectomies[4], but who remain silent because they think their loss of sexual sensation after childbirth is part of the price women normally pay for giving birth, because they feel too humiliated to talk about it, because their husbands feel too humiliated to let them talk about it, or because they are unaware that they have been mutilated.

Entries addressing or directly related to this rarely acknowledged, vastly misunderstood, yet very common type of female genital mutilation are preceded by "USA".

See especially "My Own Nightmare and Fight for Justice" and "A Deathblow to Denial," the letter from Eileen Wayne, MD, to Carla Miller, later in this section.

[1] Total or partial surgical removal of the uterus.

[2] The cutting of the perineum to surgically enlarge the vaginal opening. The most common unnecessary surgery performed in the U.S. (followed by infant circumcision). The only surgery for which there is no billing code and the only surgery for which doctors routinely disregard the legal requirement for signed informed consent. About 80% of women giving birth vaginally in the U.S. have episiotomies.

[3] Removal of wedge section of the anterior and/or posterior vaginal wall. May also remove the introitus and the wedge section of tissue under the wedge section of vaginal tissue removed. Surgical "repairs" that follow remove even more tissue.

[4] Removal of the clitoris.