ISRAEL: Female Genital Mutilation By Bedouins Ends

The once prevalent custom of female genital mutilation among Israel's Bedouin population in the Negev has virtually disappeared, researchers said.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev professor of psychiatry Robert H. Belmaker said female circumcision, also referred to as "female cutting," is still practiced in many cultures around the world and is a culturally entrenched procedure -- and unless a prohibition of the practice is accompanied by educational efforts, the effectiveness of legal action is low.

In 1995, Belmaker studied the Bedouin of Southern Israel, a heterogeneous group of tribes for which female genital mutilation was a common practice. At the time, a large number of women said that they planned to continue the custom, which involved a ritual incision but no tissue removal, and would perform it on their daughters.

Fifteen years later, researchers decided to re-survey the Bedouin population. They again focused on women in the tribes previously reported to have performed this practice.

In the new study, 132 women under age 30 were given a gynecological examination and oral questionnaire. The researchers found that none had scarring from the type reported in 1995.

The findings were reported in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.


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DATE: 26/03/2009

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