Warrior Marks: The Nightmare of Female Genital Mutilation

Synopsis: Warrior marks is a poetic and political film about female genital mutilation which affects one hundred million of the world’s women. This film unlocks some of the cultural, religious and political complexities surrounding this issue. Interviews with women from Senegal, Gambia, Burkina Faso, the United States and England concerned with and affected by genital mutilation are told along with personal reflections from the writer Alice Waler (The Color Purple).


1. What is the difference between excision and infibulation?
Excision is the practice whereby a woman’s clitoris is cut off, rendering a woman incapable of receiving any sexual pleasure. Infibulation, on the other hand, incorporates excision of the clitoris along with the removal of the labia and the region is sewn up, leaving only a small orifice from which urine and menstrual flow can escape. This latter practice is considered worse since severe infection can result.


2. What are some of the traditional/folk explanations as to why female genitalia are dangerous?
Female genitalia are considered “unclean.”


3. What does the Koran say about excision? Is this practice common to all Muslim countries?
Apparently, the Koran does not condone excision, and this practice is not obligatory in all Muslim countries- only in those in which male power must be absolute.


4. Is female circumcision exclusively performed by women?
Yes – for the most part, although there are some exceptions, like in Egypt.


5. Is “female circumcision” always a private rite for girls or is it ever publicly acknowledged and celebrated?
It is publicly celebrated and seen as a rite of passage.


6. How does Walker draw a distinction between culture and torture?
Culture is not child abuse, and this practice is cruel and inhumane and must be stopped- for it is not cultural, it is barbaric.


7. Under what type of hygenic conditions is excision performed? How do these relate to the spread of HIV and AIDS?
Excision is performed under very poor hygenic conditions. Razors are used on multiple victims without being sanitised. There is indeed a great correlation between excision and the spread of HIV.


8. What is the biggest challenge facing the commission against female circumcision in Gambia?


Tradition prevents people from stopping this cruel practice.


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