Repairing and Retelling : the Back and Forth's Medical Journeys in the Reconstruction after FGM
Michela Villani (University of Fribourg)
Paper short abstract:
According to human rights definition, female genital mutilation/cutting is defined as violation of the female body, integrity and sexual life. Based on two qualitative studies, this paper discusses the different meanings of the term "reparation" after FGM/c and various dimensions involved.
Paper long abstract:
Standing by human rights definition, female genital mutilation/ cutting (FGM/c) is defined as violation of women body integrity and sexual life. Based on two qualitative researches, this paper discusses the meanings of the term "reparation" after FGM/c and the several dimensions involved. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews have been conducted with a group of 8 immigrant women of sub-Saharan origin living in Switzerland with Type III FGM/c (infibulation) and 32 women of first and second generation living in France with Type II FGM/c (excision) having undergone or asked for a clitoris reconstruction. In total 40 women have been interrogated on the meaning they give to the term "reparation" within their health and sexual life. If socio-demographic characteristics and contexts differ, both groups affirmed their desire to improve, or at least change, their condition. Reparative approaches are then evoked by women which would « repair » something « lost » or «stolen»; the word « reparation » acquires a large scale of meanings and dimensions which are not only physical, but also psychosexual, social and moral. Thinking of specific healthcare services in terms of reparative approaches allows to develop a discussion with women with FGM/c. Medical practitioners are appealed to engage in dialogue with the patients, to provide an environment that allows women to tell their stories. Narrative is an important aspect of the restorative process and this research suggests that reparative approaches could be beneficial in the field of human rights through specific counselling on FGM/c.
Understanding "FGM" and sexual violence in diaspora: women's journeys through re-creations of identity and discourses on trauma