UN features film about female genital mutiliation July 10

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UN to Feature “Lost Maiden,” A Film
About Female Genital Mutilation on July 10th                                                               by Deardra Shuler

With women being the target of abuse
and violence throughout the world, America is now seeing in their
hospitals the cultural abuse and torture that women from countries in
Africa, the Middle and Far East, experience via their own families
and communities. Sadly this is not a torture imposed on young girls
and babies (as early as 6 months) from cruelty but rather from

Few American women can imagine their
families forcing them to undergo a procedure that will leave a hole
where their clitoris once was, savagely cut out of them via anything
sharp; a knife (not always sterilized) a razor blade, sharp rock and
even in some cases, jagged glass. Hard to believe that this can
still be happening in the 21st century but some traditions
are blindly followed for no other reason than that people always
have. Even though, most people cannot even remember when the
tradition began or why.

Nigerian born nurse and Nollywood star,
Chisom Oz-Le, sees birth mothers who have undergone this procedure
coined “Female Genital Mutilation” in hospitals where she works.
These women are in great pain because the scar tissue resulting from
this form of mutilation often prevents the vaginal elasticity
necessary to allow the baby to be born naturally through the birth
canal. Unfortunately, the baby experiences great stress and in some
incidences dies. Chisom decided to stand against thousands of years
of tradition and do something to end this unnecessary practice
through her film “Lost Maiden.”

Lost Maiden is a film about
female genital mutilation. I was inspired by the fact that I see
what girls and women go through when they come to deliver their
babies in hospitals. I began to research, interview and tackle this
problem once I understood that some females who undergo female
genital mutilation (FGM), do not understand the root of their
delivery problems. I believe much of their delivery problems stem
from the cuts involved in FGM. The way this procedure is done, is
the clitoris is cut off as well as the adjacent tissues, oftentimes
with unsterilized equipment by unexperienced villagers under
unsanitary conditions,” explained the RN and actress.

You may be asking yourselves why would
the parents allow this and why would some women who have undergone
the cruelty of this practice, condone it. Well, because its
tradition. Throughout the centuries, countries that enforce this
practice like Africa see it as law. They are taught that female
circumcision is a rite of passage. They believe that if you are not
circumcised you are not a full woman.

“You must be circumcised to be
recognized in the society. You are expected to be a maiden. But
it’s a tradition that has no benefit whatsoever. It’s more of a
selfish thing to cut off something that is the only source of
pleasure for women during intercourse. The reason behind this, I
believe, is that men think that when a woman can’t have sexual
feelings, then she is less promiscuous. Whoever invented this
tradition and implemented it, did it out of cruelty and selfishness”
stated Chisolm who produced and stars in the “Lost Maiden” film.

Many women get infection and if not
treated die as a result. Also, some young girls who undergo the
procedure while being forcefully held down by family or community
members, are expected to remain silent while their labia is being cut
out. If they cry or scream while suffering excruciating pain, it is
deemed they are not fully women and can be later ostracized by the
community as a result.

“The labia that covers the vaginal
opening is cut off and then the woman tightly stitched leaving the
woman susceptible to infection because infection can freely go into
the vagina. Most of the problem is urinary tract infection. The
bladder gets infected and sometimes urine gets backed up. When you
have frequent urinary tract infection it causes bladder cancer.
Also, excruciating pain is another complication as well as
hemorrhaging. Before marriage these women are unstitched, thus
subjecting women to another unnecessary procedure by non experts.
They just do these circumcisions without knowledge and therefore can
cut off an artery causing the person to bleed to death. Women lucky
enough to survive it, often have scar tissues that forms around the
vaginal opening making it difficult for child birth. Due to the
high mortality rate among circumcised females and their babies, I
wanted to do something to educate these potential mothers and show
them that there is no reason for these circumcisions whatsoever.”

Chisom Oz-Lee is showcasing her movie
“Lost Maiden,” in conjunction with Save Africa Concerts
Foundation, Femmes Africa Solidarite and Best Icon Productions in
hopes of educating the world about the harmful effects of female
circumcision in an attempt to end this dangerous practice. The film
stars Nollywood actors: Ngozi Ezeonu, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Binbo
Akintola, and Kalu Ikeagwu and will be shown at the United Nations
Church Center, located at 777 United Nations Plaza, 2nd Fl
(corner of 1st Avenue and 44th Street in NYC)
on Friday, July 10th at 4:00 p.m.
Program starts at 5PM. Admission is free. Both Michelle Lopez and
Chisom are Save Africa Concerts Foundation spokespersons, as are
Adama Duof, UN Representative; Dr. Dorothy Ogundu, President/Founder
of AngelDocs and spokeswoman for Femmes Africa Solidrite. Additional
special guests are: Dominican actress Wanda Eferreiras, Ini Edo, Kalu
Ikeagwu, Chigozie N. Atuanya, Emmanuel Ehumadu, Chris Iheanacho and
Moses Inwang.

Interested parties can RSVP Hardy
Jimbes at [email protected]
or visit www.tuffgig.com

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