ONE of the worst things that can happen to a woman or girl around the world is a fistula, an internal injury caused by childbirth (or occasionally by rape) that leaves her incontinent, humiliated and sometimes stinking.
Victims are the lepers of the 21st century, and although the condition is almost entirely preventable, it is suffered by hundreds of thousands of women worldwide.
The condition is invisible because it distastefully involves sex, odor and private body parts, and because victims tend to live in impoverished countries and already have three strikes against them: They’re poor, rural and female, and thus voiceless and marginalized.
They’re the same group that is routinely denied education, denied the right to own property, denied jobs and denied any recourse after being battered, raped or married against their will — and that’s why gender equity worldwide should be a top item on the social justice agenda.
This is fuck all to do with womens’ rights or gender equity. It’s to do with poverty.
No one, no matter how rich, poor, patriarchal or just plain flat out stupid wants women stumbling around smelling of piss and shit. No one wants their mother, sister, daughter, nor day I say it their potential fuck, to be in this condition.
So, why doesn’t it get fixed? Because these places have been run by terminal dimwits for the past couple of centuries and they’re as poor as fuck. It’s not a rights nor gender issue, it’s a poverty issue. Get GDP growth up and this will be one of the first things that that newfound wealth is spent upon. By common agreement and desire, no armtwisting needed, no campaigning.
Hmm, so, to calm down a bit. What was the incidence of fistulas before modern surgery? Is this current poor world incidence any greater than our own ancestors went through?