In this category we have abusive practices that initiate children into a cultural group. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a prime example. Many societies that practice FGM require girls to have it done in order to belong to the group. In their societies, they are not women unless they have had the procedure. [The first link below is a chapter written by Susan Bennett from Child Abuse and Neglect: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Evidence, Carole Jenny, ed. (St. Louis: Elsevier, 2010):134-41.]
Though many Westerners think FGM is an Islamic religious practice, it has actually been practiced for about 1400 years, long before Islam arose. It is a cultural practice rather than a religious one. It was once practiced by Ethiopian Jews. Today it is found in some majority-Muslim nations, but also among Africans with Animist beliefs.
Another cultural abuse is a dangerous form of male circumcision practiced in southern Africa on adolescent boys. Again, the social pressures are enormous, as it is the way a boy becomes a man and a group member.
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Female genital mutilation/cutting (book chapter)
Courts allow dangerous circumcision ritual 8/21/2014
U.S. girls face genital cutting abroad 6/10/2014
Canadian Supreme Court rejects religious rationale for home circumcision, upholds abuse conviction 11/17/2012
Circumcision kills and maims African teens
Baby’s death sparks investigation of mohel