Female genital mutilation (FGM)

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a collective term for a range of procedures which involve partial or total removal of the

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a collective term for a range of procedures which involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is sometimes referred to as female circumcision, or female genital cutting. FGM is a global issue and happens all over the world. Practising communities tend to originate from parts of the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

FGM is a crime in the UK. It is also illegal to take a British national or permanent resident abroad for FGM or to help someone trying to do this. The maximum sentence for carrying out FGM or helping it to take place is 14 years in prison.

FGM is recognised internationally as a gross violation of the human rights of girls and women.

Female Genital Mutilation is one of most dreadful kind of gender-based violence. This practice affecting millions of girls worldwide is still prevalent because of lack of awareness, misinformation and is often defended in the name of preserving cultural practices. The adverse impact on health is overlooked, so are the often-regressive social values associated with the practice

Health risks of FGM include:

 

  • Shock, haemorrhage and death
  • Wound infections, including tetanus and gangrene, as well as blood-borne viruses such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C
  • Damage to other organs, such as the urethra (where urine passes) and the bowel
  • Chronic vaginal and pelvic infections
  • Difficulty passing urine and persistent urine infections
  • Abnormal periods – increased pain, prolonged blood flow due to reduced vaginal opening
  • Kidney impairment and possible kidney failure
  • Permanently tender scar tissue
  • Pain during sex, lack of pleasurable sensation and related low libido
  • Damage to the reproductive system, including infertility
  • The need for later surgery to open the lower vagina for sexual intercourse and childbirth
  • Complications in pregnancy and labour, and new-born deaths
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression, anxiety and low self-esteem

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