June 20, 2014
Female Circumcision Likely Began As A Means To Ward Off Vaginal Infections And Diseases Where Water Was Scarce, New Research Seems To Showby Shmarya Rosenberg
New research conducted for the Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) has reportedly found that female circumcision, known more commonly in the West as female genital mutilation (FGM), is prevalent in areas of the country where water resources are lacking. The research, which has not yet been publicly released, also shows that in areas where water resources are good, like in the Rift Valley, FGM is rare.
There is reportedly a common belief among a Kenyan tribe that a woman can get vaginal yeast infections and other diseases if they are not circumcised. This appears to support the new research findings that indicate FGM likely began as a reaction to the lack of clean water necessary to properly bathe.
Male circumcision, however, likely began in ancient Egypt as a fertility rite and was later adopted by by other peoples in the region – including the ancient Hebrews, who appear to never have practiced FGM.
The Land of Israel was a less arid when ancient Hebrew civilization began there about 3,000 years ago than it is today.
[As with male genital cutting, under the conditions it began, female genital cutting would have killed far more children than it ever protected from anything. As with male cutting, the health reasons came later. This is just another similarity between the two kinds of genital cutting. The real question is not, why do we compare them, but why do we distinguish them?]