Wednesday, June 16, 2010

i write letters [TRIGGER WARNING FOR FGM]

The following in response to this: see also:

Basically, young girls are undergoing clitoral reduction surgery at Cornell University, and then have to endure examinations where their clitorises are touched by Dr. Poppas or his nurse, so that he can chart how much sensation remains after the procedure. Both the surgery, and the touching, are medically unnecessary. The only thing wrong with these clitorises is that a doctor has decided that they are too large.


Dear Antonio Gotto and David Skorton,

I am emailing you to express my concern about the way Dr. Dix Poppas has been conducting his research. An article entitled "Bad Vibrations" (which can be found online here: explains that Dr. Poppas has been touching the clitorises of young girls in order to determine the extent of sensation after clitoral reduction surgery. The surgery, which is largely cosmetic in the first place, is invasive and abhorrent. It is completely unacceptable to alter the genitals of young girls for aesthetic purposes, especially when there is no strong evidence that these girls derive any benefit from the surgery at such a young age, while their bodies are still developing.

In addition to the surgery, Dr. Poppas has been touching the clitorises and vaginas of these girls, aged 6 and older, to determine the extent of sensation remaining after the procedure. Research is the only justification for the genital stimulation in these cases, for if sensation were reduced because of clitoral mutilation, it could not be replaced. Dr. Poppas wants to chart the amount of clitoral sensation these girls experience by touching their genitals annually. How does a conscious 6-year-old feel when her privates are touched and she is asked to rate the sensation by a grown man? Shouldn't patient psychological health trump medical interest? These children do not deserve to suffer molestation from a doctor, an authority from a practice and institution they should be able to trust.

I urge you to conduct a review of Dr. Poppas' research methods and ethics. I had always thought Cornell University had rigorous standards of academic and medical integrity, and am shocked that this could be going on at your institution.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for bringing attention to this. this is horrible.

    its amazing how we still live in a world where women are beaten, murdered, and mutilated because they are sexual beings.

    ... and holy shit... the a-hole's name is really Dix Poppas.