Playboy takes aim at catcalling.

Playboy nails it with this flowchart (at bottom).

I love this approach to educating men about catcalling. It's effective without shaming, and acknowledges and validates men's sexuality without letting them off the hook for shitty behaviour.

Someone on a related Reddit thread clearly described why catcalling can feel so threatening. She invites men to imagine what it would be like to experience the following:

  • being catcalled by someone over a foot taller than them
  • who starts bothering them while they were busy
  • and then starts ordering them around or making sexual comments and won't go away
  • and is much stronger and could easily hurt them
  • and makes them feel afraid and ashamed
  • and that this happens week in, week out

Check out the entire Reddit thread here: link.

Playboy catcalling sexual harassment | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy Vancouver | Squarespace Blogging

Penis-stealing witches.

monty python witches penises holy grail | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy Vancouver | Squarespace Blogging

The Middle Ages (5th-15th centuries, AD) were characterized by anti-intellectualism, cultural stagnation, and the predominance of magical thinking regarding the sciences and medicine. Not surprisingly, books were burned, education was discouraged, and the arts were basically banned.

It's during these times that belief in witchcraft became a dominant theme in understanding illness, disease, and mental health. Pretty much any problem you can think of was blamed on witches. And if a woman was accused of being a witch, there was no recourse - she would be typically be killed.

*As an aside, if you've never seen Monty Pythons and the Holy Grail, you should. The witch scene is at 16:30.*

It likely won't come as a shock, but people believed that witches would steal men’s penises. This belief is described in the 15th-century book Malleus Maleficarum, which is ostensibly about witch hunting.

A recent article in Broadly described this belief in more detail:

Witches Allegedly Stole Penises and Kept Them as Pets in the Middle Ages
by Callie Beusman
According to a 15th century guide to detecting and eradicating witchcraft, witches were capable of making penises vanish—and some even kept them in nests and fed them oats.
Since time immemorial, men have worried irrationally about perceived threats to their penises. Long before there was castration anxiety, there was something far more sinister: the myth of phallus-stealing witches who kept wriggling, dismembered members as pets.
The best-known description of this practice occurs in the Malleus Maleficarum, a 15th century witch hunting manual written by Heinrich Kramer. Historians typically regard it as a ludicrous and misogynistic text that nonetheless resulted in countless vicious murders of women accused of witchcraft; in The Salem Witch Trials Reader, Frances Hill describes it as "one of the most terrifying and obnoxious books ever written." The Malleus is rife with obvious anxieties about female sexual desire—as folklorist Moira Smith notes in her paper, Penis Theft in the Malleus Maleficarum, "Many of the crimes (maleficia) attributed to witches concerned sexuality: copulation with incubus devils, procuring abortions, causing sterility and stillbirth, and impeding sexual relations between husbands and wives."

Read the rest here: link.

The unique experience of living trans.

trans man dowling | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

It’s literally impossible for most of us to understand what it’s like to be the other sex.

It's easier to try on being the other gender, but most of us don't take the opportunity (nor would we even know how).

* Crash course in sex versus gender: sex is our physiological make-up, or our maleness/femaleness; gender is how much we identify with and/or take on the roles of man or woman. The two typically overlap, but not always.*

There are two interacting forces at play that are crucial when considering differences between living as a male/man, and living as female/woman.

Our sex hormones (testosterone for males and estrogens/progesterone for females) have a significant impact on our development, including our brains. They also affect the way we think and our emotions (among other mental processes). Sex hormones impact us on a physiological level.

Our gender roles, which are related to both our biological make-up and how we are socialized, affect the way in which we see ourselves and interact with the world, including our interactions with other people. They also dictate how people interact with us, based on social rules and norms.

People who have transitioned from one gender to the other, and who have been through sex hormone therapy, have unique insight into what it’s like to be both a male/man, and a female/woman, and the good and bad that can go along with each. This includes sexism.

A colleague of mine who transitioned described very similar experiences to those described in this piece. Give it a read – it’ll probably blow your socks off.

From Time

What Trans Men See That Women Don’t
By Charlotte Alter
“Cultural sexism in the world is very real when you’ve lived on both sides of the coin”
Three guys are sitting at a Harlem bartop eating fries, drinking whiskey and talking about love. One of them, Bryce Richardson, is about to propose to his girlfriend.
“I’m putting it together in my head, I’m like: ‘He’s gonna be one of my groomsmen, he’s gonna be one of my groomsmen,’” he points to his two friends and grins. The other men light up when they hear the news and start talking about rings, how much they cost, will it be princess cut or pear shaped? Pictures are Googled, phones are passed around. “That was one of my dreams, to get married, to be somebody’s husband, to be somebody’s father,” says one of the friends, Redd Barrett. “From when I was like 12, I used to think about that all the time.”
I ask the groom-to-be how he knew his girlfriend was the one. They met at work, he says, and by the time he came out to her, they were already in love. “I said ‘I’m trans, and you’re not gonna want me anyway,” he recalls, unable to keep the smile off his face. “And she said ‘I’m in love with you, I don’t care about that.’” His friend Tiq nods and says, “That’s your wife, right there.”
All three men are trans. But if they hadn’t said so, you wouldn’t have known.

Read the rest here: link.

Woman recounts her rape and meets her rapist.

An extremely brave and compassionate personal accounting of rape and its impacts.

For those who have never experienced sexual assault, or never witnessed the effects of it on someone close to you, Ms. Aguirre's story will help you understand what it's like. It's a tough read, but valuable.

Photograph: Brian Howell for the Guardian

Photograph: Brian Howell for the Guardian

From the Guardian:

‘I’m Carmen. Nice to meet you again’: why I faced my rapist in prison
Thirty-three years after she was raped, Carmen Aguirre travelled to meet the man who attacked her
It is the last day of summer, and I am walking under a blue prairie sky through the grounds of a medium-security prison in Alberta, Canada. It has been 33 years since I was raped, and I am on my way to meet my attacker. Laura, who was also raped by him, has travelled with me. We spent last night at the Best Western, where wrought-iron signs dared us to “Walk on the Wild Side”.
Everyone has asked us why we want to meet him. I tell them what Laura, one of the wisest, most articulate people I’ve known, says. “Because I’d like to meet the man I’ve been in a relationship with for my entire life.”
For myself, I want to even out the power imbalance between us, to sit across the table on my terms and look into his eyes. The meeting has been arranged by Brad and Abbey, restorative justice facilitators with experience not only in Canada but in Rwanda and South Africa. Abbey has had several talks with the man, John Horace Oughton, once only known as the “paper bag rapist” on account of him covering his victims’ heads with a paper bag or with a piece of their own clothing during the attacks. She warns us about the Nirvana Outcome, which rarely happens and consists of the offender offering a heartfelt apology to his victims. Laura and I tell her that we are expecting no such thing.

Read the rest here: link.

Interviews with three female porn producers.

joanna angel female porn producers stars | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

The porn industry is still largely run by men. But over the last ten years, many women have taken on the roles of producers and directors. And it's been a good thing; porn has arguably changed for the better because of it. Additionally, there's now much more content that appeals to women.

In this piece, three female producers share some of their insights about the industry. From the Guardian:

'I have to remind people I can still be dirty': the female porn directors calling the shots
Bree Mills, Tasha Reign and Joanna Angel represent a growing number of women directing the action and with five women out of 15 nominees for best director at the recent adult video awards, could the Oscars take notes?
by Gabriella Paiella
The 33rd annual Adult Video News awards, colloquially known as “the Oscars of porn”, were held in Las Vegas last weekend. It was a decidedly less stuffy affair than its mainstream counterpart: the red carpet was smaller, the ceremony blessedly shorter, and there was no Mani Cam in sight.
The AVN Awards celebrate talent in the adult entertainment industry – an industry which, despite growing more popular and accepted each year, still faces substantial criticism for its perceived mistreatment of women.
And yet, out of this year’s nominees for best director of a feature, five out of 15 were women. Compare that to the entirely male roster of nominees for best director at this year’s Oscars – and every year since since 2010, when Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win that award in the Academy’s 87-year history.
So what is it like to work – and succeed – in the industry? I spoke to three female directors at different stages of their careers to find out.
Read the interviews here: link.




Women and minorities face the brunt of online harassment.

online bullying sexual harassment | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

The findings of this research are entirely unsurprising, but somehow seeing the data is still shocking.

Online harassment has become one of most pressing issues within the digitally connected world. Many large online publications have stopped providing the platform to comment on their articles. Others have opted to link accounts to social media so that commenting is not anonymous.

Even on social media itself where people are easily identifiable, comments can be cruel, persecutory, and harassing. It's largely attributed to the distance created by digital interactions (as opposed to face-to-face). People act likes dicks.

The findings of the research by the Guardian are even more saddening; they show that women and minorities, who are already disenfranchised in relation to white straight guys, take the brunt of online harassment.

From the Guardian:

The dark side of Guardian comments
As part of a series on the rising global phenomenon of online harassment, the Guardian commissioned research into the 70m comments left on its site since 2006 and discovered that of the 10 most abused writers eight are women, and the two men are black. Hear from three of those writers, explore the data and help us host better conversations online
by Becky GardinerMahana MansfieldIan AndersonJosh HolderDaan Louterand Monica Ulmanu
Comments allow readers to respond to an article instantly, asking questions, pointing out errors, giving new leads. At their best, comment threads are thoughtful, enlightening, funny: online communities where readers interact with journalists and others in ways that enrich the Guardian’s journalism.
But at their worst, they are something else entirely.
The Guardian was not the only news site to turn comments on, nor has it been the only one to find that some of what is written “below the line” is crude, bigoted or just vile. On all news sites where comments appear, too often things are said to journalists and other readers that would be unimaginable face to face – the Guardian is no exception.
New research into our own comment threads provides the first quantitative evidence for what female journalists have long suspected: that articles written by women attract more abuse and dismissive trolling than those written by men, regardless of what the article is about.

Read the rest here: link.


What it's like to be a romance novels cover model.

romance novels beefcake model hot | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

Curious about what it takes to be a romance novels cover model?

The romance novel industry is growing at a rapid rate. In 2013, it was worth almost 1.1 billion dollars and the expectations are that it's going to be worth even more as new reading platforms continue to develop.

Consumers are no longer satisfied with paintings of Fabio gracing the covers. They're demanding photos of men, and variety. While the demand is there, the money for models isn't.

From the New York Times:

With Romance Novels Booming, Beefcake Sells, but It Doesn’t Pay
This corner of the book world is red hot and among the most innovative, with
e-books and apps, and it needs a steady stream of fresh-faced cover models.
By Laura M. Holson
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Jason Aaron Baca is good-looking, not handsome like the Ryans (Gosling and Reynolds) or rugged like Daniel Craig, who is fetching in a tailored Tom Ford suit. But when Mr. Baca, 42, slipped on a pair of dark aviator glasses recently, he looked remarkably like Tom Cruise in “Top Gun.”
He was dressed for work in a khaki military jumpsuit. And even though it was barely noon, he had already stopped by the gym to make sure his biceps and legs looked combat-strong. His assignment: To be a military helicopter pilot saved in a crash by a female rescuer with whom he once had a torrid affair. Now that they’re reunited, their passions have flared.
Mr. Baca is a cover model for romance novels. He has been on nearly 500 book covers, by his own account — one of scores of men like him vying to be heroic heartthrobs. Not since the flaxen-haired Fabio Lanzoni dominated drugstore book racks in the 1980s and 1990s, with his lion’s mane and bulging biceps, have cover models been in such demand.

Read the rest here: link.


Vice documentary: Reversing Female Circumcision - The Cut That Heals.

I've posted about female genital mutilation (FGM)/cutting several times in the past. Check the links for a description of the procedures and the rationals behind them (link, link, and link).

This recent documentary by Vice follows the story of a Somali woman who pursues surgery to restore her sexual functioning, which she lost when she underwent FGM. Check it out.

Stephen Colbert on the drug flibanserin.

Last year, the drug flibanserin, trade name Addyi, was approved by the US Federal Drug and Administration, the regulatory body overseeing the approval of medical drugs (among other things). The drug is intended to treat low sexual desire in females, once other concerns are ruled out (i.e., relationship problems, anxiety, etc.).

The approval was met with major criticism, as the effectiveness appeared low and the side effects can be significant. Also, many clinicians (and researchers) argue that there are more effective, non-medication ways to treat low sexual desire.

Although there isn't good data available yet, it seems like it's not been that successful - in other words, very few prescriptions have been written for the drug.

In this clip from last fall, Colbert takes a swipe at the drug, and many would likely agree.

Gen Z much more accepting of non-binary identities and orientations.

Recognition and acceptance of LGBT(QIA) identities and rights have come a long way in the last few decades. Each newer generation is more accepting than the previous, and as such, younger generations have very different perspectives than older generations.

Researchers from The Innovation Group, a "creative think tank," (i.e., non-academic), asked Gen Zers about sexuality and gender. The results were recently reported online and presented at SXSW.

From Broadly:

Teens These Days Are Queer AF, New Study Says
by Zing Tsjeng
A new survey of young Americans aged 13 to 20 years old (also known, in marketing-speak, as "Generation Z") has found that they are far more open-minded and permissive than their older millennial counterparts when it comes to issues of gender and sexuality.
According to a report by trend forecasting agency J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group, only 48 percent of Gen Zs identify as exclusively heterosexual, compared to 65 percent of millennials aged 21 to 34.
On a scale of zero to six, where zero signified "completely straight" and six meant "completely homosexual," more than a third of the young demographic chose a number between one and five, indicating that they were bisexual to some degree. Only 24 percent of their older counterparts identified this way.
Fifty-six percent of 13-to-20-year-olds said that they knew someone who went by gender neutral pronouns such as "they," "them," or "ze," compared to 43 percent of people aged 28 to 34 years old. Over a third of Gen Z respondents also strongly agreed that gender did not define a person as much as it used to. This figure dropped to 23 percent among millennials who were 28 and up.

Read the rest here: link.

And some infographics:

sexual orientation identity queer | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

More infographics here: link

Animation of MtF sex reassignment (corrective) surgery.

Passed along by Afrooz (thanks!).

While many people have heard of sex reassignment/corrective surgery (i.e., surgically changing someone's genitals to match their experienced sex), most have no idea of what the surgery involves. It's a tricky process, and one that is constantly being refined to produce more optimal results for the patient in terms of both appearance and functioning.

Surgery typically follows after sex hormone therapy has begun. Sex hormones are required for the person's lifetime. For someone who transitions physiologically from male to female, female sex hormones are necessary as the body does not produce its own, even after surgery (i.e., we're not at a point where ovaries, which are the primary source of female sex hormones, can be transplanted).

The video below depicts the surgical procedure required for transition from male to female. Keep in mind that it was produced in 2009, and there have been major advancements since. Nonetheless, it gives you a good idea of how complicated the procedure can be.

Is it possible to be a feminist and like rough sex?

rough sex feminist kink bdsm | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

The feminist movement, in its various forms, has fought long and hard against gender power inequality and the oppression of women by men (intentional and unintentional).

When it comes to sex, power is almost always at play. And in the context of consensual sexual experiences, playing with power dynamics can be hot and a fun part of sexual experiences. Rough sex is an extension of power.

For opposite sex couples, it might seem that feminism and male dominance in the bedroom are incompatible. But that's not necessarily the case, as explained in this article.

From Mashable:

Can you be a feminist and like rough sex?
By Yana Tallon-Hicks
Slapping, choking, spitting — if a woman gets off on a little consensual degradation in the bedroom, does that make her less of a feminist?
Many women who demand equal pay by day and harder spanks by night wake up feeling conflicted (and a little bruised) about their two favorite F-words: feminism and fucking.
Almost every version of feminism has been hell-bent on equalizing power structures and fighting gender-based oppression. But those feminists who are also hell-bent on bending over in the bedroom — using those very same power structures to get off — may be faced with questions about whether or not their political walk matches their pillow talk.
“I love being spat on during sex,” says Zoe, a 28-year-old graduate student I’m sipping espressos with. “The nastier the spit, the better. Does that make me a bad feminist? Do I need to burn all of my Audre Lorde books? Give back my Smith College degree?” She tosses aside a lock of hair as she laughs at the ridiculousness of her own rhetorical questions. I wonder how many times she’s caught a loogie.
Of the 1,500+ self-described “kinky” women Jennifer Eve Rehor studied in 2011, the majority were found to have participated in “at least one of the following activities for their own sensual or erotic pleasure: physical humiliation, deprivation, punishment (physical), breath play, obedience/training, verbal abuse/humiliation, other forced activities and service-oriented submission/domestic service.” They did so in the role of the receptive or submissive partner.

Read the rest here, including the ways in which kink, rough sex, and feminism can work in harmony: link.



TEDx talk on female genital cutting.

Female genital cutting (FGC), otherwise known as female genital mutilation or female genital circumcision, is the ritual removal of part or all of the vulva. It's practiced in regions of Africa and the Middle East, even though it's illegal in most countries. It tends to be most common in areas of greater gender inequality, where women have no options but to be married. The procedure is required to be eligible for marriage and is considered a rite of passage.

The theory behind FGC is that women will be overcome with desire and will have sex before marriage if their genitals are left intact. FGC is intended to maintain their purity by removing any structures that could bring them sexual pleasure, thus reducing temptation.

FGC is usually done around puberty, and in some places at much younger ages. Usually female village elders will do the procedure, and rarely ever is it performed in sanitary and safe conditions (by western surgical standards).

Gena (thanks!) passed along this TEDx clip of a talk by a woman struggling with her cultural roots as an immigrant growing up in Australia, in relation to her beliefs about FGC. Check it out. 

For more posts on FGC click here, here, and here.

Purity balls.

Second post this week about purity balls. I can't help but be fascinated (I've posted about purity balls previously: link and link).

In many cultures, religious denominations, and families, virginity until marriage is considered sacred. Virginity is typically associated with purity, innocence, virtuosity, and thought of as a gift to a future marital partner. Loss of virginity prior to marriage is equated with being a used, cheapened, damaged, or otherwise unappealing (keep in mind this isn't the case for all people are waiting for marriage to have penetrative sex).

Women are often held to this standard much more so than men (a great example of the double standard). In some cultures, a non-virgin woman is unable to get married, and often times in those cultures, there are no options for women other than being a wife.

Purity balls are a logical extension of the abstinence-only approach in Western culture (particularly North American). If you're unfamiliar with purity balls, the following clip provides a pretty superficial glimpse. Keep in mind that it's from a mainstream American network, so it's a bit sensationalized.

Certificate of purity presented at wedding kicks off polarized debate.

Sent along by Ola with the following message (thanks!):

An instagram photo is going viral of a daughter presenting her father with a certificate of purity, signed by a doctor, saying her hymen was intact before her wedding. Her older sister also presented their father (a Reverend) with a similar certificate at her wedding.
I am just cringing will reading it, because not only is a hymen not a way of "testing" virginity (I believe it's unsettling to even test this), but also, as the article mentions multiple times, it seems there is no male version of this certificate. Her husband claimed to be pure as well at the time of the wedding, but again, no certificate was presented.
The family also seems to be monetizing on this, posting a certificate on their website you can fill out, as well as t-shirts and merchandise pushing the idea of purity and virginity before marriage. 
Honestly, the article just makes me sad. I understand she and her family feel pride at the commitment she made, but it's sad that they don't even understand the concept (of virginity) that they are striving so much to "maintain". It also just makes me sad in the larger sense of bodily autonomy, and that somehow a woman is "lesser" if she for some reason could not get such a certificate signed on her wedding.

The certificate that started the firestorm:

Check out the article on CBC, with lots of photos: link. The piece includes a pile of commentary from Twitter and Instagram. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground. People are either highly supportive, or find the story entirely objectionable.

Putting on my clinical hat (and not my personal-opinion hat), the main questions are: Is this causing any distress or harm to anyone? Is this simply a matter of different beliefs and values? Based on my reading of the story, the answers are no, and yes.


The village where girls grow penises.

In a place called Salinas in the Dominican Republic, a strange thing happens to some girls as they enter puberty - they begin to grow penises. This is know as guevedoces, which translates roughly to balls at twelve (heuvos are eggs).

It's prevalent in Salinas, as many families carry a mutation of the gene that is responsible for 5α-reductase, the enzyme that converts testosterone (T) into 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a much more potent androgen (male sex hormone) than T, and is largely responsible for male sexual differentiation of the genitals in utero. It is also responsible for male pattern baldness and enlarged prostates. The drug finasteride (Proscar) inhibits conversion of T to DHT, which makes it effective in treating these problems.

During development of a male embryo, an absence of DHT due to a mutation of the gene responsible for 5α-reductase means that the genitals will remain female, or intersexed (all embryonic genital tissue comes from the same origins in males and females). However, at puberty, there is often a sufficient surge of T produced by the testes for male sexual differentiation to happen. This can account for females seemingly becoming male.

A recent article in the Washington Post describes this in more detail: link.

Documentary on sexual health program in Uganda: When a Mother Lives.

Passed along by Miranda (thanks!) with this comment:

I came across a really interesting video a while ago and thought it was super relevant to today’s lecture. It is about a project happening in Uganda where they are getting women to self swab to screen for cervical cancer in hopes to catch it early, as cervical cancer is the number one cancer in Uganda and it is very preventable if caught early. I thought it was relevant to what we were talking about today with women's reproductive health being taboo in some cultures and those barriers that exist in getting these women adequate health care. I thought the approach that this project takes is great to break down those barriers and still be respectful of the cultural norms.

The description, from the BC Centre of Disease Control, which collaborated on the project:

What happens to a family, community and country when a mother lives instead of dies? This is the fundamental question at the heart of When a Mother Lives, a 23 minute documentary from ASPIRE, a global health initiative about cervical cancer from the BC Centre for Disease Control.  Set in Kisenyi, Uganda, the story is told through the lives of three women who live in Kisenyi as well as by interviewing various stakeholders in the project, including Ugandan researchers, clinicians, and the Ministry of Health.  The goal of the documentary is to spread a positive message to funders and policy makers on how practical and sustainable action around cervical cancer screening can be taken in places where no screening currently exists. By transporting the viewer into the lives of the women, the video also brings greater understanding to their experiences and provides motivation to move forward for change.  

When a Mother Lives was inspired by the idea of pairing a ‘tried and true’ model of community engagement and mobilization with a new and novel ‘leapfrog’ screening technology called HPV DNA testing.  The video outlines “The ASPIRE Process” as an ecosystem consisting of six distinct, yet mutually reinforcing steps: Educate, Mobilize, Collect, Test, Treat, and Grow. Taken together, these steps layout a road map for how a cervical cancer screening program might be realized in low income settings like Kisenyi and provide a potential ‘recipe for success’ in further reducing the burden of cervical cancer in sub-Saharan Africa.

And the documentary:

Female genital cutting/mutilation.

Female genital cutting/mutilation (FGC/M) is the ritual removal of part or all of the vulva, practiced in several countries in Africa and a handful in the Middle East. It's considered a right of passage and necessary if a woman wants to be married. Places where it is practiced are characterized by extreme gender inequality, and if a woman is unable to marry, she has no value.

FGM/C is done based on the belief that women's purity and modesty can only be guaranteed through these types of procedures. The procedure is most often done by village elders with rudimentary tools in unhygienic conditions with no anesthetic. Because of this, it's very painful, and it can result in a variety of medical complications and problems, including infection and death.

The United Nations considers FGM/C a violation of human rights, and the World Health Organization, among other agencies, calls it "female genital mutilation," and warns of its impact on health and functioning. Many of the countries where FGM/C is practiced have made it illegal, but the law is rarely enforced.

Some have been critical of the West's approach to FGM/C, claiming that it's another example of cultural imperialism and ethnocentrism. I've posted about this before, with video clips of women talking about their experiences (link).

The recent article linked below provides a very good overview of FGM/C. It's a good, but quite critical, read if you're interested in finding out more.

From the World Economic Forum:

10 Things To Know About Female Genital Mutilation
“The time has come for us to eradicate this bad practice and protect the rights of girls and women in our country,” said Somalia’s minister for women’s affairs at a conference earlier this month. The bad practice she was referring to was female genital mutilation – procedures that intentionally alter or cause harm to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
The World Health Organization categorizes the procedure into four types: they range from the partial or complete removal of the clitoris to a procedure where the genitalia is sewn closed (which over 60% of women in Somalia are forced to undergo).
Although, as a UNICEF survey found, many people draw on cultural, social and religious justifications for the practice, it has been recognized as a human rights violation since 1993. And yet still, 3 million girls and women are at risk every year. Here are 10 more facts about a practice almost all nations have committed to wiping out.

Read the rest here.