Frontline Stories

6 Facts about Female Genital Mutilation

Tags:

More than 200 million women and girls around the world are living with the results of the dangerous practice of female genital mutilation (FGM/C), also known as cutting, according to a report by UNICEF.

In the next decade, 30 million more are at risk of being mutilated. The United Nations created the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, observed every year on February 6, to stop the harmful practice to girls and women.

The following are some female genital mutilation facts and frequently asked questions.

1. What is female genital mutilation (FGM)?


Female genital mutilation is defined as the removal of part or all of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is also called female circumcision and cutting. The procedure is most often done to minors.



2. What are the consequences of FGM?


Often carried out under primitive and unsanitary conditions without anaesthetic, FGM can cause severe pain, bleeding, and swelling that may prevent passing urine or faeces. In the long term, it leads to chronic pelvic infections, urinary tract infections, and birth complications for mothers and children. The horror of the event — including being physically restrained against their will — affects many women for years. There are no health benefits from the procedure that is not medically necessary or condoned by the World Health Organisation, most governments, and reputable medical associations.



3. Where is FGM practised?


FGM is practiced in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, but Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Sudan account for about 42 percent of all cases. Migrants have carried the traditional practice with them to other countries in Europe and the Americas.



4. Why is FGM still practised?


Most women and men familiar with FGM say they would like to see it end, but there is social pressure to continue cutting. Mothers, fathers, extended family, and community leaders may force or coerce girls and young women to be cut so that they will be accepted as “clean” and ready for marriage.



5. There is a trend to having the procedure done in a clinic. Isn’t that better than cutting in unsanitary conditions?


It is better not to be done at all. The long-term effects of FGM are just as harmful either way. The “medicalisation” of FGM serves to legitimize a harmful practice that is also a violation of human rights.



6. How can we end FGM?


Most of the 30 countries where FGM is practiced have legislated against it. However, until social norms change, the practice continues in secret. World Vision and other organisations are educating and empowering girls and their communities to end FGM. There’s strong evidence that it can be eliminated in one generation.

Father and Girl Sketching Hope on Life

[2018/05/21] 45-year-old Prabhakar lives with his daughter Swathi in a single-room house on the outskirts of a city in Andhra......

Honouring Mothers Around the World

[2018/05/13] Mothers play an important role in families in every corner of the world. On this Mother’s Day, let’s honour some......

Malaria: More Than Just a Health Issue

[2018/04/25] On a Wednesday in late 2017, Francine, 29, a mother of 3 in Burundi, held a young baby in her hands, while her s......

Restoring the Lives of Children Affected By Conflict

[2018/04/16] In Kasai region, in southern Democratic Republic of Congo, a mother is working hard to normalise the lives of ch......

A Chicken-and-egg Solution

[2018/04/03] Harriet’s four young stars can finally dream of eating eggs again. The family of six just received 16 chickens f......

Goals for Syrian Refugee Children

[2018/03/27] When it rains in Za’atari Refugee Camp, it’s chaos.

Empowering Ethiopian Women through a Gardening and Savings Club

[2018/03/08] When Workalem was married at 16 and had her daughter by the age of 17, she seemed to be stuck in a cycle that so......

10 Ways How Children Value Friendship

[2018/02/28] From abuse to hatred, we live in a world constantly confronted with many challenges that affect the lives of mil......

8 Reasons to Have Hope in 2018

[2018/01/20] Hope is infectious, even healing. But in a world that’s often dark, what is there to be hopeful for? Here are 8 ......