Cesar Chelala’s July 29 article, “Safe alternative rites to female circumcision,” was well written and interesting. I would like to comment on the headline, though.

While the article talks about mutilation, the headline uses the less drastic word circumcision. The association for a less informed reader might be that the intervention in question is something similar.

But let’s be clear: While male circumcision removes a piece of skin — which hurts and hinders the function of the foreskin — female genital mutilation involves procedures such as cutting away labia and the clitoris, and stitching up the vulva. That removes a whole operative unit of the female apparatus to experience sexual pleasure.

Infections at the time of the mutilation, later, and after childbirth are horrendous. This makes it a completely different ball game from “circumcision.”

The sufferers of these horrible practices deserve the respect to have them called by the right name. I think Japan Times readers would benefit from it. Thanks for your consideration in covering this important topic.

wiebke hirose
clayton, australia

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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