LAS VEGAS, April 12 "I was repeatedly raped and also circumcised* by my employer," a female U.S. resident recently told CLITORAID (www.Clitoraid.org), a nonprofit organization that helps victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) receive surgery that restores the capacity for sexual pleasure.
(*"Female circumcision" is a polite term for FGM, a brutal act typically performed on victims during childhood. In this case, the excision was performed on a grown woman.)
"The surgical technique brings clitoral roots back to the surface," said Brigitte Boisselier, Ph.D., who heads CLITORAID. "Those receiving this surgery have the chance to reach orgasm like any other woman."
She said that although CLITORAID receives thousands of e-mailed messages and phone calls, "the inquiry from the woman raped and mutilated by her boss is probably the most disturbing account ever received on the CLITORAID Web site."
The victim (her name is omitted to protect her privacy), told CLITORAID that while working in Saudi Arabia in her early 20s, she was genitally mutilated and repeatedly raped by her employer.
"He said women aren't supposed to have a clitoris and that it's condemned by the Holy Koran," she said. "I had to comply. Otherwise, they would have murdered me." When she later married, she kept the details from her husband. "He just knows it was part of a practice that was required during a medical examination and done without my consent," she said, adding that although she can't afford the repair surgery right now, she "will do whatever it takes to put money together and put this nightmare behind me."
"Like most who contact us, she can't afford surgery," Boisselier commented, adding that although CLITORAID's lead surgeon, Dr. Marci Bowers, performs the procedure for free, the hospital charges a fee.
CLITORAID was founded by Rael, leader of the Raelian Movement, with the goal of offering clitoral repair surgery to all FGM victims who want it. The program addresses all aspects, including counseling. But money is scarce.
"I wish I could tell all who inquire to come to Trinidad, Colorado, where Dr. Bowers operates," said Nadine Gary, CLITORAID's patient coordinator. "But we have only a few private sponsors to help pay travel expenses and hospital fees. We need more!"