But even if FGM were carried out in the best of clinical conditions on a consenting adult woman, we call it a human rights violation. Why? Because it is an intervention which is carried out solely to satisfy stereotyped notions of what a women could or should be, and which has:
1. no discernible health benefits;
2. a negative impact on women’s sexual health; and
3. permanent effects on women’s health more generally.
I realized something recently. I realized something about rights, about oppression, and about voices—specifically, Native American voices.
I can already hear some of you exhaling in thought, shuffling through your memories, trying to recall a recent incident, a story in the news, a connection between this post about Native Americans and current events. There isn’t one. There isn’t one because stories of Native American hardship don’t get told very much. While headlines do occasionally appear, most people have never heard of the abject poverty suffered by the Attawapiskat, or the imprisonment of five Makah men for their participation in a traditional hunt, or of the state of South Dakota essentially kidnapping Crow Creek children from their community. Many of us carry out our lives completely unaware of what is going on just miles away from the communities that we know.