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FGM (Female Genital Mutilation)

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is defined by the World Health Organisation as:

“all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”.

FGM is sometimes referred to as Female Circumcision or Female Genital Cutting however this does not depict the nature or impact of the practice. Communities use range of traditional and local names for this practice, a list of which can be found on the FORWARD webpages. FGM is based in ancient beliefs surrounding the need to control women’s fertility and sexuality. It is a cultural practice based on custom and tradition. It is also based on the incorrect belief that it protects a girl’s virginity, protects family honour, is more hygienic, desirable, and attractive and increases sexual pleasure for men. It is practiced to enhance a girl’s prospects of marriage. It is carried out in the name of culture and religion. FGM is not a requirement of any religion. It is practiced by Christians, Muslims, Jews and non-believers in a wide range of communities and cultures. FGM is most frequently carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15.

Female Genital Mutilation has a devastating impact on the health and wellbeing of women and young girls, for some it may be fatal. Short term problems caused by FGM include severe pain and emotional shock,

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