Segments in this Video

Prevalence of Female Mutilation (01:45)


Female circumcision takes place in over 30 countries and is practiced by Muslims, Christians, and Animists alike. It affects over 100 million African and Middle Eastern females.

Ritual and Procedure (04:17)

Kura, 15, is circumcised with a sharp razor blade in a ritual performed by the village voodoo magician. Of the two million girls circumcised each year, 15 percent die. (Contains nudity and graphic images.)

Recovery After Circumcision (02:30)

After the circumcision procedure, the girl stays home for seven days and receives moral support from the village women. They plan a purification ceremony that will make her ready for marriage.

Consequences of Circumcision (02:47)

Female circumcision is enshrined in village life and difficult to stamp out. A family planning clinic in Togo fights the practice because of the high maternal death rate among circumcised women.

Changing Tradition (02:57)

In Burkina Faso, female mutilation is illegal, but it is deeply rooted in tradition and widely practiced. Although many women now experience painful sex, some still subject their daughters to it.

Centuries of Male Domination (03:05)

Health workers from Plan International hold a village discussion in Burkina Faso to dispel the myths surrounding female mutilation. Men discuss their fears of losing control over women.

Power of Superstition (02:06)

Superstition thrives in African villages. A midwife delivers twins on a clay floor and evokes the power of the ancestors to save a dying newborn baby.

Fighting Women's Liberation (03:22)

In East Africa female mutilation is outlawed, and its opponents dispel the false belief that the Koran mandates it. Many women continue to accept the practice and oppress themselves.

Celebration and Rituals (02:42)

The woman who circumcised 15-year-old Kura collects money to conduct the purification ceremony. She sacrifices a hen to commemorate the practice.

Escaping Circumcision (02:20)

Some women escape circumcision but are shunned by society. Some African men understand the complications and sexual implications and prefer women who are not circumcised.

Anti-Circumcision Campaign (04:19)

Plan International's anti-circumcision campaign educates people about the cultural pressures that motivate people to circumcise their children. A five-year-old child is spared a lifetime of pain.

Making a Living at Circumcision (03:11)

Midwives get together to discuss "safe" circumcision and perform the ritual on a baby girl. They believe it is right because their ancestors did it. This is also their livelihood. (Graphic nudity.)

Stopping Female Mutilation (04:02)

Women are starting to change their minds about circumcision, but they are still victims of tradition as they still do it in secret. Religion and politics are playing a role in stopping this practice.

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Female Circumcision: Human Rites

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This program documents the ritual of female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision, practiced among some African groups; explores its roots in myth; and discusses movements under way to ban the practice. Interviews with anti-circumcision activists, including medical personnel, describe the health ramifications, including hemorrhage, infection, and painful sex. Victims discuss both the physical and emotional pain of circumcision, and both males and females discuss why they support or reject circumcision as a valid cultural practice. Graphic scenes of an actual female circumcision are shown. (40 minutes)

Length: 42 minutes

Item#: BVL7854

ISBN: 978-1-4213-9477-0

Copyright date: ©1998

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

"A powerful film, highlighting the dimensions of the tribal traditions of female clitorectomy in Africa, its consequences to women, and the difficulty in eradicating it because of sexual and other mythologies which perpetuate it. An important educational film recommended especially for students of sociology, psychology, and appropriate history courses, especially African history."—Walter Renn, Professor of History, Middle Tennessee State University

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