Despite growing up and studying in the United States, Fuambai Ahmadu chose to return to her native Sierra Leone as an adult to be circumcised. At the age of 21, she underwent a traditional initiation ceremony in which her clitoris and labia were cut. Fuambai says circumcision is an essential part of her culture and the experience filled her with pride. She says she doesn’t feel mutilated.
When she was eight years old in Somalia, Ubah Abdullahi underwent a type of female circumcision called 'infibulation", whereby the clitoris was cut and external labia stitched together. Ubah’s grandmother organised the procedure against Ubah’s parents’ wishes. Ubah says she was initially pleased at the thought of being circumcised and 'being like the other girls at school’ but the subsequent pain changed her view. Ubah migrated to Australia at the age 15 and had her infibulation reversed at the age of 19. She now lives and works in Sydney.
Mansura Dopico says it is wrong to assume that all circumcised women don’t enjoy sex. She wrote her thesis and PhD on female circumcision and spoke to several circumcised women who report that they have enjoyable sex lives and are able to reach orgasm. She says the direct experiences of circumcised women are often neglected in the research and debate in Australia. Mansura is a lecturer at the Australian Catholic University.
Dr Ramsis Gayed is a General Practitioner in the western suburbs of Sydney. He says a significant number of his patients – male and female - have been affected by female circumcision. He says women struggle with physical side-effects, while men complain about their wives’ absence of libido which often leads to frustration and sometimes marriage breakdowns. Ramsis is an active campaigner against the practice of female circumcision.
Dr David Caminer is a Sydney-based plastic surgeon specialising in genital cosmetic surgery. He says there’s increasing demand for labiaplasty in Australia. He says women as young as 17 have come to his practice asking to have their inner and outer labia reduced, often for cosmetic reasons. David says he sees no parallel between labiaplasty and female circumcision because his clients are of consenting age and he would never completely remove a woman’s labia or clitoral hood. David believes female circumcision is against the Hippocratic Oath.