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International Clitoris Awareness Week and Clitoraid

This week is dubbed International Clitoris Awareness Week by Clitoraid, an organization that claims to be building a “pleasure hospital” in Burkina Faso to restore the clitorises of victims of genital mutilation.

“There are many goals for Clitoraid. First, to stop female genital mutilation, but also, one of the goals is to have the clitorises of those women rebuilt,” Clitoraid volunteer Nadia Salois told Xtra at the Ottawa edition of Sexapalooza in February.

“There’s a French doctor that found a technique to rebuild the clitoris because the nerves are still inside the body; there’s a way to pull the nerves out and rebuild the clitoris and still have the sensation. Since it’s still inside and is pulled out to the outside the sensation can be found again, and we can help these women to enjoy their clitoris.”

If Clitoraid’s claims are true, I fully support their endeavours. However, I am a bit skeptical as Clitoraid is a project of the Raëlians, a UFO religion that claimed to have cloned a human being in 2002.

Spacemen aside, there are groups who are opposed to Clitoraid, as they believe that by restoring a victim of female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision or excision, you degrade the victim and send the message that victims who cannot access “restoration” are incomplete.

Salois disagrees with groups like Feminists Challenging Clitoraid.

“One of . . . [our goals] . . . is to restore the integrity, the femininity of these women and to help them feel whole again. It’s not just rebuilding a clitoris, but it’s helping them, as well, to feel that they are a woman and to enjoy life as a woman, as a human being first but as a woman as well. We accompany them, as well, psychologically,” Salois says. “If your clitoris was cut at, say, five years old and many years after you restore your clitoris, it’s not just having your clitoris restored. It’s really just to help them feel like a woman, not make them feel like we’re just putting a little piece of their body back. It’s really to get that integrity back, that feeling of being a woman and being feminine, to enjoy your sexual life. It’s more than just putting back a piece of skin.” Construction on the hospital will be complete in October, Salois says.

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