Half the Sky

Obstetric fistulas (referred to as fistulas) are holes between the vagina or rectum and bladder, which cause waste to leak from the body. Common in much of the developing world, women develop fistulas from rape, other violence, and childbirth, often with no following treatment. Fistulas are devastating and often fatal, and ensuring that women receive treatment for fistulas is one of the key women’s rights issues Kristof and WuDunn say needs urgent addressing.

Fistula Quotes in Half the Sky

The Half the Sky quotes below are all either spoken by Fistula or refer to Fistula. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Oppression of Women  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Half the Sky published in 2010.
Chapter 6 Quotes

“No one reading this book, we hope, can fathom the sadistic cruelty of those soldiers who used a pointed stick to tear apart Dina's insides. But there is also a milder, more diffuse cruelty of indifference, and it is global indifference that leaves some 3 million women and girls incontinent just like Dina.”

Related Characters: Nicholas D. Kristof (speaker), Sheryl WuDunn (speaker), Dina, Mahabouba Muhammad
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
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Fistula Term Timeline in Half the Sky

The timeline below shows where the term Fistula appears in Half the Sky. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
The Oppression of Women  Theme Icon
...village – raped her, then punctured her insides with a stick. Afterward, she developed a fistula in her organs, with feces and urine draining down her legs. The authors describe meeting... (full context)
Chapter 6
The Oppression of Women  Theme Icon
The Complexity of Aid Theme Icon
...but an even more pernicious cause of oppression exists: “the cruelty of indifference.” Outside Congo, fistulas like Dina’s are caused less often by rape and more often by lack of medical... (full context)
The Oppression of Women  Theme Icon
The Complexity of Aid Theme Icon
Solutions to Address the Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...a day to the house of a missionary, who took her to the Addis Abba Fistula Hospital. There, she joined other girls also being treated for fistulas, with urine leaking to... (full context)
The Oppression of Women  Theme Icon
The Complexity of Aid Theme Icon
Solutions to Address the Oppression of Women Theme Icon
The Addis Abba Fistula Hospital is run by Catherine Hamlin, an Australian woman who denies any claim of sainthood,... (full context)
The Oppression of Women  Theme Icon
The Complexity of Aid Theme Icon
Fistulas are inexpensive and usually easy to repair, the authors explain. Yet, most of the tens... (full context)
The Oppression of Women  Theme Icon
The Complexity of Aid Theme Icon
Solutions to Address the Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...and WuDunn write about Simeesh Segaye, an Ethiopian woman they met at the Addis Abba Fistula Hospital. At nineteen, Simeesh was thrilled to be pregnant, but her obstructed labor, then a... (full context)
Chapter 7
The Complexity of Aid Theme Icon
Solutions to Address the Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...the authors, is how to pay for such emergency services? They use the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital as a model with an answer: the hospital has trained staff without medical degree... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Oppression of Women  Theme Icon
Solutions to Address the Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...alongside bleeding-heart liberals in fighting for aid money,” to tackle problems such as malaria and fistulas—a major advancement. (full context)