LETTERS: Circumcision may be unwise for men: for women it is mutilation

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WHEN are we going to stop using the misleading euphemism "circumcision" when referring to the excision of a girl's clitoris as practised in parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East ("Doctor, spare that foreskin", 7 April)?

The severity of female genital mutilation (FGM) varies from community to community, but in some cultures the ritual entails not only the removal of the entire clitoris (without anaesthetic) but also the scarring and joining of the outer labia. This suture is subsequently cut open for intercourse and childbirth.

With male circumcision, damage to the penis is the exception: in the case of FGM grave physiological and psychosexual harm is, unsurprisingly, the norm. It is not just those living in "the West" who regard this practice as mutilation; the anti-FGM campaign is led by women who have themselves suffered from clitoridectomy.

Vera Lustig

Walton-on-Thames, Surrey