October 3, 2012
Parents 'planned baby girl's circumcision'
A PERTH couple have appeared in court after allegedly organising the illegal circumcision of their one-year-old baby girl in Bali.
The 44-year-old father and 42-year-old mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared in Joondalup Magistrates Court today charged with female genital mutilation offences.
They were released on bail to appear in Perth Magistrates Court on December 12.
Police allege the parents went to Perth Airport in August with the intention of taking the girl to Bali for the circumcision procedure.
Female circumcision is performed in some cultures and religions, but is illegal in Australia.
It is also illegal to perform, arrange or take a child out of the state for such a procedure.
Edith Cowan University's head of medical sciences Moira Sim said she worked with patients who had undergone the procedure and it was important to consider their needs.
“There's not a place for mutilation in society but, in making that stance that it is not OK, we also have to make sure that we don't stigmatise the women who have had it done,” she said.
“This is part of what they have grown up with, and we should not make it hard for them to get health care.”
Professor Sim said she had treated patients from Africa who needed an operation before they could have intercourse properly, but that was no different from others who had been born with defects and needed a similar operation.
She said the women she treated did not see the mutilation of their genitals as an issue because they did not remember having the procedure.
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