This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Violence Against Women

Equal status for women in society is, in my view, a key to the successful demographic future of the world. So we need to pay tribute over the next 16 days (really, only 16 days??) to activism against gender violence. Violence obviously represents the extreme example of the subjugation of women by men (not to mention by other women who buy into the idea of male superiority). Female genital mutilaton (FGM) is one of these acts of violence and only a few days ago an Egyptian court rendered a not guilty verdict against a doctor who had performed FGM on a 12-year girl who died as a result of the operation, as reported by the Guardian:
The first doctor to be brought to trial in Egypt on charges of female genital mutilation (FGM) has been acquitted, crushing hopes that the landmark verdict would discourage Egyptian doctors from conducting the endemic practice. 
Raslan Fadl, a doctor and Islamic preacher in the village of Agga, northern Egypt, was acquitted of mutilating Sohair al-Bata’a in June 2013. The 12-year-old died during the alleged procedure, but Fadl was also acquitted of her manslaughter. 
No reason was given by the judge, with the verdict being simply scrawled in a court ledger, rather than being announced in the Agga courtroom. 
Sohair’s father, Mohamed al-Bata’a, was also acquitted of responsibility. Police and health officials testified that the child’s parents had admitted taking their daughter to Fadl’s clinic for the procedure. 
Despite his acquittal, the doctor was ordered to pay 5,001 Egyptian pounds (about £450) to Sohair’s mother for her daughter’s manslaughter, after the pair reached an out-of-court settlement.
The idea behind this is that since it reduces the pleasure from intercourse, it also reduces the risk of adultery. 
According to surveys by Unicef, an estimated 91% of married Egyptian women aged between 15 and 49 have been subjected to FGM, 72% of them by doctors. Unicef’s research suggests support for the practice is gradually falling: 63% of women in the same age bracket supported it in 2008, compared with 82% in 1995.
This practice has nothing to do with Islam, per se. Rather, it is a cultural practice that continues to emphasize the lower status and "fallibility" of women compared to men. There is a world-wide movement against it and we all need to support that however we can. 

1 comment:

  1. i agree! it is incomprehensible to Americans. However, for people who have spent time in rural African villages ... it is a "fact of life". SADLY. I am well aware of the practices involcing BOTH male and female circumcision, as they are done inside the Maasai tribe in Kenya. The entire process is part of their traditional rituals, and therefore it is not easily changed, To some extent, it is going away as the entire traditional lifestyle is ebbing away. but it is also a slow process. I have argued against it (with the Maasai), but to no avail. It would be the same as if an African person came here to the USA ... and mounted a crusade to stop all birthday celebrations. Are we going to do that? ... of course not.

    While female circumcision is perplexing, domestic violence in Africa (and eslewhere) is even more troubling. There are NO curbs on that violence. It is still widely practiced in households ... with no realization by African men that it is a bad thing. Again, it is going to take a long time to change these things!!

    Pete, Redondo Beach