Friday, 26 April 2013

Female Genital Mutilation: Just another reminder

Women suffer from FGM as young children from the operation, at the time of their marriage as adults and later during their child delivery. Female genital mutilation has detrimental effects on the physical and psychological health of the infants, girl-children and women operated. The degree of complications depend on various factors including the nature of the mutilation (excision or infibulation), the types of tools used, the physical environment of the operation, the skill of the operator and the physical response of the operated individual at the time of the operation.

The consequences which begin immediately at the time of the operation can be grouped into long- and short-term. The latter manifests itself within a very short period extending from a few hours of the operation to some ten days. Long-term complications are life-long, irreversable and require medical attentions to mitigate their effects. One study, for example, found out that 83% of women whose genitals have been mutilated required medical attention at some time in their lives for problems related to the procedure they went under (African Env’t 1999). Lack of access to health facilities and ignorance of the cause of their suffering prevents most of the women to look for medical attention. Of all of the forms of FGM, excision and infibulations lead to severe complications

Immediate complications and consequences

  • Shock from bleeding, pain and stress resulting from cutting very sensitive and delicate area of the genitalia without the use of anaesthetic.
  • Bleeding or hemorrhage: the cutting of the blood vessels in the vulva (clitoral artery) during the operation leads to bleeding. Serious bleeding can also cause shock. Protracted bleeding can lead to anaemia and even death.
  • Urinary retention from fear of pain, tissue swelling or injury of the urethra cause pain and discomfort which could easily lead to bladder and urinary tract infections.
  • Infection caused by the use of unsterilized instruments in unhygienic environment may lead to other complications and even to death. Infections can also cause pelvic inflammation. It could result directly in blood poisoning and in having tetanus, and if untreated finally death may follow. There is also high risk of HIV transmission through the use of one instrument for multiple operations

  • Damage to organs such as the anus, urethra and the bladder from inexperienced circumcisers
  • In the case of infibulations, the consequences are compounded by frequent cutting and stitching. Thus, bleeding and the risk of haemorrhage, pain, risk of infection and urine retention are much severe and serious.

Long-term consequences

Infibulation and excision cause long-term complications of gynaecological, obsterics and urinary tracts. The main ones are the following (MGR 1992/3; African Env’t 1999; Toubia 1993; Smith 1995; Leye 1998; WHO)


  • Repeated urinary infection because of the narrowing of the urinary outlet which prevents the complete emptying of urine from the bladder.
  • Extremely painful menstruation due to the build up of urine and blood in the uterus leading to inflammation of the bladder and internal sexual organs.
  • Formation of scars and keloid on the vulva wound. The growth of dermoid cysts which may result in abscesses.
  • Formation of fistula – the rupture of the vagina and/or uterus.
  • Vulval abscesses.
  • Severe pain during intercourse which may consist of physical discomfort and psychological traumatisation.
  • Difficult child birth which in case of long and obstructed labour may lead to foetal death and brain damage of the infant.
  • In the case of infibulations acute and chronic pelvic infection leading to infertility and/or tubal pregnancy.
  • Accumulation of blood and blood clots in the uterus and/or vagina.

Lets put an end to this.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Female Genital Mutilation: Ignorance not an excuse

I have always been disgusted by how much people avoid realities of life. I have always had a curious mind and wanted to know things. I have never been the sort that is content with the obvious. It’s called thinking outside the box and having a bird’s eye view of everything rather than insular thinking.  The reason I am writing this is our campaign on Female Genital Mutilation.  This is something happening in the communities we live and to people we know but there is in us the tendency to ignore and pretend it’s not happening. Even if its’ not happening in your community, would it not make you feel good about yourself to know you have been part of history in making this practice end?

Women had no rights but by raising awareness, acknowledging the inequality, things have since moved and changed for the better. What surprise me are the excuses made by some of the people out there. I will list below some of the excuses and to be honest, one is made to conclude that there is some bit missing in some of these people’s brains.  Below are the words of someone who really does not deserve the title of a doctor since they seem not to understand life. I have highlighted their words

’Female circumcision has not been prescribed for no reason, rather there is wisdom behind it and it brings many benefits.

Mentioning some of these benefits, Dr. Haamid al-Ghawaabi says:

The secretions of the labia minora accumulate in uncircumcised women and turn rancid, so they develop an unpleasant odour which may lead to infections of the vagina or urethra. I have seen many cases of sickness caused by the lack of circumcision.

 Really? How ignorant! How many of you go around smelling? And besides, surely that is why we bath daily, or am I missing something here? There is no shred of evidence to support this in women. It’s all in the mind of a sick Doctor. All the physical and mental pain just for ‘’unpleasant odour’’ that does not exist? I find this insulting to all women!

‘Circumcision reduces excessive sensitivity of the clitoris which may cause it to increase in size to 3 centimetres when aroused, which is very annoying to the husband, especially at the time of intercourse’-

Annoying to the husband my arse! Is that not part of enjoying sex? What of what the wife actually wants? To be cut and go through that pain so as not to annoy a future husband is that not a form of control?

Another benefit of circumcision is that it prevents stimulation of the clitoris which makes it grow large in such a manner that it causes pain.

The more I go on reading the so called ‘Benefits’ the more angry I become. There is no woman out there who can ever agree with such a thing.

Circumcision prevents spasms of the clitoris which are a kind of inflammation. – I wonder how this doctor has sex with the wife.

 Inflammation or arousal? I pity whoever is married to this man!

Circumcision reduces excessive sexual desire- Why should a woman have their sexual desire reduced? For whom? It’s back to controlling women

Does any of the above sounds like benefits of FGM to anybody with 5 senses? – Not to me.

Let’s face it; there is absolutely no reason for FGM whichever type it is. I am not in any way a medical person but it does not need a degree in medicine to see how unnecessary FGM is in any girl or woman’s life.

The good thing is there are people out there who are saying it as it is, that is,  how evil this practice is, and as always with evil practices ,there are people who still think it’s OK to put women through that misery in order to ‘’please men’’ .

 The good will always triumph over evil and we shall see an end to FGM.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Rape: Who is to blame? Maximum Sentence for perpetrators!


The recent news headline on women being gang raped in India, in the CAR and Democratic Republic of Congo and recently the rape of my 8 year old niece, I thought it’s time I share my feelings. Like any other form of violence, women are dehumanised and blamed at the same time and many a time perpetrators get away with this.

With so many rape incidents worldwide, the courts have an important role to play in deterring violence against women. Drastic measures are needed. Rapists should get a maximum sentence once convicted and societies should really move away from blaming victims.

It is sad to think of how many women and children are deprived of their rights by sexual offenders, who all too often are their uncles, fathers, brothers, husbands, or supposed friends.

There is need to focus on preventing rape and other violent sexual offences and punish the perpetrators. Half the time witnesses are threatened (especially in South Africa). In some situation the violated women gets the blame. So in the end victims just suffer silently. This demands a shift in culture and in the way women and children are seen and treated. In Zimbabwe for example, the rank touts (mahwindi) attacks any woman they think is not properly dressed. I was victim to that when I went home and wore shorts in the blazing of Africa. I decide what I wear, not some good for nothing men who are only after controlling women.  Just another excuse for abusing women, I say.

Schools must do more to educate kids on sexuality and respect. Some of the kids especially from violent or dysfunctional homes would require the help of the educational system to impart an understanding of human rights to them.

Courts must also play their part by imposing harsh sentences for sexual offenders to send a message that these types of crimes will not be tolerated.

Governments should step up to defend the rights of women and children.

Let’s face it, something drastic needs to be done before we loose an innocent group of people  to sick men.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Women and Virginity: Who decides?

I've always been uncomfortable with the idea of virginity. It's so unfriendly. If you are "a virgin" in the traditional sense, you are somehow more innocent and pure (regardless of how much of a little bitch you may be) than your somehow wiser, shiftier and dirtier counterparts.

It's also physiologically dodgy (horses, bicycles, sports at school etc, could be the culprit). Yet it's also so ingrained into our culture, that young girls routinely think blowing their boyfriends or allowing back access "preserves" their innocence. And all that's aside from the very common, clumsy logistics of heavy petting and "almost penetration" fumbles.

Some women have even been forced to buy virginity back through surgery just to convince their future husbands of their purity- all because ‘men are expected to marry virgins’. Yes in some cultures virginity is a must have or else
But "virginity" as we currently define it is much more ominous than that.

We were discussing the ages we lost our virginity, and a friend mentioned a horrifyingly pre-sexual age, and then apologised, saying that "it's a different thing for her, because she'd been raped as a child and her virginity stolen".
My next reaction was one of outrage... seriously? We have a society so lavishly rotten that we don't only routinely maim and hurt children, but that we leave them with a societal taint too? This intelligent, brave and interesting woman – who is now fifty – feels she does not have the right to mark her own passage into sexual identity.

We  live in a sick world where girls are violated at an early age, so what are the chances of them being virgins? And if men have become so sick to rape toddlers, why then should they expect to marry virgins

Some of the girls are so traumatised that hearing other girls talk about virginity makes them cry. I was recently chatting to my niece who lives in Johannesburg. When I asked how her children were, she informed me that they were alright except the 8 year old was raped! Yes you heard me alright.  What are the chances of her being a virgin-obviously none, yet our society will expect her to be a virgin when she marry.

Honestly, I believe that until we reinvent the idea of virginity, an outdated, possessive male construct, we can't give real weight to women's sexual liberation.

I have a question for ladies out there: - At what age did you lose your virginity? And I don't mean your hymen. I mean how old were you when you had your first satisfying sexual experience, penetrative or not? The first time you had an intimate, consensual sexual experience?

It’s time to re invent the idea of virginity and question why should it be women who should be ‘pure.’

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Women: Cheap ways to get your body in shape

Most of the people want to improve their health and stay in shape but will face tough task in order to maintain their regimen. There are number of ways out there to get a perfect body shape. Many of these ways will cost you more money.

Try these cheap and easy ways to a healthy body:

1. Go for walk: It is one of the cheapest ways to stay in shape. Simple walk in the morning or evening is good for overall health. If you can walk regularly, you can control your weight, improves your mood, manages Type 2 diabetes and lowers the blood pressure levels.

2. Drink tons of water: You have to drink at least five litters of water every day in order to stay healthy. Water regulates body temperature and help in excreting urine and other poisons items from body. Water also helps in protecting body from shocks, injuries and frictions.

Water is the cheapest liquid available in the world so make use of water.

3. Be natural: Always prefer natural foods. As they contain more nutrients, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Avoid unprocessed food as they contain toxins which are bad to your health.

4. Plan your portions: Many people eat too much, gain weight and join in weight reduction programs. To avoid all these plan your portions well before you eat.

5. Take steps instead of elevator: If possible take steps instead of elevator as it is one form of exercise. Most of the people are identifying the importance of taking steps and avoiding the elevator.

6. Sugar is you enemy: If you love sweets, candy and cookies minimize them for your own safety. According to new survey eating too much sugary items can affect your immune system, causes tooth decay and other adverse health problems.

7. Eat at home: Any item which made in home nearly 50 % of the cost of hotel. It is every economical to cook with your own hands in your own home. You will have full awareness on cleanliness standards as you prepare in home.

8. Stay away from salty foods:
Excess intake of salty foods will show adverse effects on your health. It is closely linked with blood pressure, hypertension and stroke.

9. Start exercising:
Regular exercise is very important to stay in shape as it controls your body weight, improves quality of life and strengthens muscles.

10. Buy fitness book or use the internet: This is also one of the cheap way to stay fit. If you crawl through web, you will find loads of information regarding health. Buy a good fitness book to know the ways of staying healthy and fit.

11. Make use of recreation programs and parks: Check out are there any free wellness programs, low cost exercise tips and free gym access.

You can a hire a personal trainer to get your body in shape. If you can’t afford to hire a personal instructor, you can apply for same day loans which are easy to apply.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Ladies Beware: Harmful Beauty Products

The simple beauty routines you follow on a day to day basis could be responsible for some of your worst health problems.

Yes, it’s a scary thought, and while many of us simply can’t do without some of these products, it would be wise to practise some caution when using them.

Here’s a list of some beauty products that could be bad for your health:

Skin Lighteners

There are certain skin lightening creams that contain poisonous amounts of mercury and other heavy metals. Checking the labels of the facial creams you use may save you from some scary side effects, such as memory loss and impaired vision and hearing.


Certain lipsticks are known to contain dangerous levels of lead, which is detrimental to your health when ingested.

And even though some of the best lipstick brands have been known to contain lead, there is no safe level of lead that can be used in products.

The best way to avoid it, is by trying to keep from licking your lips or swallowing bits of your lipstick (which is very possible).

Nail polish

Many trendy nail polishes contain over 30 toxic chemicals. In worst case scenarios, some of these have been known to lead to birth defects and infertility.

What’s even worse is that getting your nails done at a nail bar or salon can cause a number of infections if the equipment isn’t sterilised properly.

Always make sure that your salon is clean and sterile, and try to buy products that are non-toxic.


Bacteria can easily be found on mascara wands that are more than three months old. Most mascaras do contain preservatives that kill bacteria, but they don’t last forever and have been known to expire after about 3 months.

So, if yours is more than three months old, perhaps it’s time to consider a new one!

Eye shadow

Because eye shadow is applied so closely to the eye, infections can easily be transferred. Old and un-cleaned make-up carries a higher risk of giving you an infection, so always make sure to keep yours hygienic.

Fake Tans

Spray tans may seem to be a safer option to tanning beds, but they too have their hazards. Self-tanning sprays are known to contain DHA which is highly toxic to the skin.

The ingredient reacts to the skins amino acids and can over time cause changes in the skins pigmentation.

Stay away from any form of tanning!


Thursday, 4 April 2013

Ladies: Cheat your way to looking younger

These instant tips for the lazy woman will knock years off your age in mere hours.


Looking good and feeling youthful is hard work. You need to eat whole, wholesome foods, drink lots of water, do regular exercise, protect your skin from the sun, not smoke or drink alcohol, get at least 8 hours sleep every night AND have amazing genes and even then you will still lose the battle against ageing.

So if you “ain’t got no time for dat” here’s how you cheat your way to looking younger:

Stop using powder
Rather use a light cream foundation to make your face look dewy and fresh than have powder take the natural glow from your skin. If you do use powder instead of foundation, use something with a bronzing agent in it.

Start wearing blusher

A bit of healthy colour in your cheeks is the fastest way to drop 5 years off your face. Just don’t overdo it, and remember to dab a spot on your chin, nose and forehead.

Take a really hot bath

In the long run hot baths drain your skin of natural oils and will make you look older, but as an emergency measure it works a charm. By dilating all the small blood vessels in your skin your face suddenly looks plumper, younger and fresher. Just give yourself enough time so that you don’t have to face people looking like a lobster.

Change your lipstick

If you’re of an age to worry about looking older then I bet you’ve been wearing the same shade of lipstick for the last 5 years. Mix it up a bit. Try something new. And go for a lighter colour as harsh colours drain the skin of colour and make you look older.

Take a nap
Beauty sleep is not a facetious term. When you sleep your body has time for skin cell regeneration. Although the ideal is to get regular sleep, an emergency nap will lighten your eyes and help with puffiness.

Change your hair

Are you living in 2013 but your hair is still in the late 90s? For shame! There is nothing that ages you faster than an out of date hairstyle. I’m not saying you should go all Lady Gaga on your locks, but at least get it into the right century


Look great and you will think great.


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Would you cut your vaginal lips?

A noteworthy number of women shave their legs. Then some people (mostly women) question the leg-shaving norm. Then other people enter the discussion to say “There’s nothing wrong with shaving your legs! It’s all about choice!”

Yes. It’s all about choice. There is nothing wrong with shaving your legs. It’s your body. You can do what you want with it.

A noteworthy number of women opt to have their labia minora surgically removed. Then some people (mostly women) question the merits of such a procedure. Then other people enter the discussion to say “There’s nothing wrong with having your labia minora surgically removed!

It’s all about choice!” Yes. It’s all about choice. There is nothing wrong with having your labia minora surgically removed. It’s your body.

You can do what you want with it. However, it is not a waste of time to interrogate the pathology of a society that deems it obligatory for women to alter their natural state. (In this instance, painful, dangerous, and at great a cost.) This interrogation, this conversation, is important.

I see this happening in these conversations over and over again. I am tired of it. It slows things down.

Please, well-meaning people with your vocal support of personal choice. Please. It’s not a conversation about choice. It’s a conversation about pressure and influence.

Everyone knows that having choice is important, and that you should be able to choose what you do with your body. We’re trying to move beyond that.

What most of us want is a conversation about the underlying causes of unhealthy trends. When such a choice is made by an insignificant number of people, then it’s probably just that.

A simple, straightforward choice, but when a choice, particularly one as troubling as the surgical removal of the labia minora, is made by a noteworthy number of people and starts to look like a trend, then we have to start looking at what is driving people to make these choices.

The objective is not to shame the people making the choices but to help them understand the risks.

The objective is to figure out why they’re making these choices and, where appropriate, to challenge the source of their body issues.

Be yourself and love your body. Do not make unnecessary alterations!