TORONTO, Feb. 4 – Dr. Harold Henning, volunteer surgeon for Clitoraid, a humanitarian organization that assists victims of female genital mutilation (FGM), will speak at the Humber College Lakeshore Campus in Toronto on Friday, Feb. 6, at 11 a.m., in honor of United Nations Zero Tolerance for FGM Day.
Henning, an American gynecologist, recently received permanent residency status in Canada. As a Clitoraid volunteer surgeon, he performs a revolutionary clitoral restoration procedure for FGM victims in both the United States and in Burkina Faso, West Africa, where Clitoraid is about to open the Kamkaso Pleasure Hospital in Bobo Dioulasso. The procedure restores clitoral functioning and the ability to experience sexual pleasure.
In addressing graduate students from the International Development Institute at Humber’s College Lakeshore Campus, Henning will focus on his life-changing, humanitarian mission to Bobo Dioulasso last March. While there, he and another Clitoraid surgeon, Dr. Marci Bowers, operated on 38 FGM victims.
“These women, like millions of others in sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world, endured the horrific practice of genital cutting when they were little girls,” Henning explained. “For most of their lives, they lived with a mutilated vulva and multiple health consequences, plus the inability to feel sexual pleasure. They were thankful to be free from this brutal past and to be given back their human dignity, in which sexual pleasure and integrity plays a central role.”
Throughout the year, Dr. Henning operates on FGM patients in Upstate, New York, U.S.A. Although FGM victims from Australia, Europe, Indonesia, Africa and the Middle East seek Clitoraid’s assistance, hundreds of thousands of victims also reside in North America, according to Henning.
“Many genitally mutilated women have migrated to Western countries,” he said. “An increasing number of them are actively seeking ways to reverse the damage done to them by FGM. Over and over, patients confide that FGM has ruined their lives and relationships.”
Henning said he is looking forward to training Canadian gynecologists in performing the clitoral repair procedure. And he hopes Canada will eventually cover patient costs, as France does now.
In Bobo Dioulasso, Feb. 6 will be celebrated on the grounds of Clitoraid’s Kamkaso Pleasure Hospital, where FGM-recovered patients and those awaiting surgery will gather.