Case Vignette: Child Abuse or Acceptable Cultural Norms -- Child Psychiatrist's Response; Ethical Issues in Culturally Relevant Interventions; Cultural Contexts
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AbstractThree families from the nation of the Gambia have become socially acquainted in the greater Metropolis area where they have relocated from their native country. All three families have preadolescent daughters. None of the girls has as yet undergone the ritual "female circumcision" commonly practiced in their native country. Five of the six parents think it would be a good idea to hold such a ritual ceremony in Metropolis next month. The sixth parent is uneasy about the procedure and wonders if it is appropriate anyway. The parent comes to talk with you, a physician or mental health professional, about this. The parent describes concerns about the procedure and the practice in general, but notes that some groups in the United States do "similar things," referring to the ritual circumcision of Jewish boys at 8 days of age. The parent adds that if the procedure is not possible in the United States, it could be done in the Gambia when the family returns there on holiday. Discussants were asked for their opinions regarding advice to the parent's ethical obligations (especially in the case of mandated reporting of suspected child abuse).
Ethics and Behavior. 1995; 5(3): 283-292.