Female Genital Mutilation


Female genital mutilation, according to the World Heath Organisation, is the partial or total removal of female genitalia for no medical benefit. It has no health benefits and harms girls and women in many ways. 

It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and hence interferes with the natural function of girls' and women's bodies.


The practice causes severe pain and has several immediate and long-term health consequences, including difficulties in childbirth also causing dangers to the child. It is a form of abuse and a gross violation of human rights. 


Despite it being a traditional norm in some societies, FGM is an illegal practice in the UK. It is increasingly becoming illegal across the world.

Types of FGM

There are four types of Female genital mutilation:


1. Clitoridectomy: a removal of part or all of the clitoris.  

2. Excision: removal of the clitoris and part of the innner labia.

3.Infibulation: the narrowing of the vaginal opening, using a seal, after respositioning the labia

4. Other harmful procedures:  pricking, piercing, scraping and burning the area

Credit: Images belong to SAFEHANDS FOR MOTHERS.


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In the UK?

There is an estimation that there are 137, 000 women affected by FGM within the UK. However, due to the taboo nature of this practice the true extent of those affected is unknown.


The NSPCC has responded to over 2,100 calls regarding FGM since June 2013. More than a fifth of these calls has resulted in referral to the police or children’s services. Despite this, 23,000 girls under the age of 15 could be at risk of FGM in England and Wales.

Around the world

FGM is a practice that occurs in over 50 different countries, though predominantly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Ethnic minority citizens from the UK often take their young daughters to their country of origin, generally around the age of 15 to conduct FGM. 


FGM is often seen as a cultural and traditional practice in ethnic minority communities.


A common reasoning that many mothers use to justify FGM on their daughters related to the norm of a girls’ virginity and purity kept intact until marriage. In these communities, FGM is often carried out to reduce a woman’s sexual urges and activities before marriage. Despite FGM being an invasion of basic human rights, as it is often done without consent and through force, many parents justify their actions through age-old norm and ‘safeguarding’ their daughters’ womanhood.

FGM is not justifiable as a cultural practice. It is a form of abuse and must be eradicated. 

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A closer look at a crime never once prosecuted: Female Genital Mutilation

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Educating to Eradicate Forced Marriage, FGM and Honour Abuse.