After similar, astonishing reports in the USA, it appears that The Royal Australian New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) is about to discuss allowing doctors to perform a ‘ritual nick’ on a young girl’s genitals in order to satisfy some cultures’ needs – in place of ritual genital mutilation.
Former sex discrimination commissioner, Pru Goward has slammed the proposed option as “child abuse”. I find the very idea that RANZCOG is even discussing the option as inconceivable. There are voices within the organisation suggesting that it might be a useful compromise that would avert secret – and in Australia, illegal – female circumcision. These voices believe that by giving people the option of a ‘ritul nick’ they could do away with the more mutlitating practices performed in their home cultures. But would it? If culture and/or religion demanded circumcision, how would a little nick suffice?
There’s something of appeasement in this whole debate. Given that any form of genital mutilation is illegal in Australia (except circumcision for boys is still legal, although not so common these days) I’m at a loss as to understand why we should be discussing going back on that.
I do understand how important to immigrants retaining their culture might be. I’ve done enough travelling around the world and through Third World countries to fully grasp how Westernisation has driven a steam-roller over so much that was rich and diverse in the world. But if the West stands for anything (and there’s a whole discussion in that statement alone!) it would be that we do not go about harming children as a matter of ritual.
There is no medical reason for a nick. People who wish to perform this ritual need to be educated that it is not done here, in their new home. There is no room for discussion on this matter. The moment we allow doctors to perform a ‘ritual nick’, the door would be open to perform more extensive ritual surgery – and then where would we be?
If a surgeon is not allowed to perform a castration on a self-confessed peodophile with multiple convictions for child abuse – why should we consider allowing surgeons to become the abusers themselves? Surely they have better things to do with their time?