Female Genital Mutilation – also known as FGM, female circumcision, cutting or sunna – involves the removal of a girl’s external genitalia, particularly the clitoris.
FGM is practiced within some cultures, as a method of controlling women’s sexuality and is seen as a way of ensuring virginity prior to marriage. Because of the circumstances in which FGM is often carried out, i.e. by unqualified practitioners, with inadequately sterilised equipment and with unsuitable aftercare, it frequently leads to infection and because of this can sometimes lead to death. FGM invariably results in life long suffering from pain, discomfort, menstrual problems and emotional scarring for the victim, while also denying them normally accepted enjoyment of sex.
FGM is usually carried out upon children who are too young to understand the consequences of FGM and are unable to offer any realistic resistance to parents, community or religious leaders who promote the practice. For these reasons: Under UK law FGM is regarded as abuse and is treated as a criminal offence! Unfortunately, FGM is usually carried out either in extreme secrecy within the UK, or upon victims who are taken abroad to be cut, meaning that cases of FGM are very difficult to identify.
If you want to know more about FGM or if you suspect that someone you know may have been or is likely to become a victim of FGM, please visit the websites below for further information about what to do:
- Childline – Female Circumcision, FGM and Cutting
- NSPCC – Female genital mutilation (FGM) at a glance
- Alternatively call the NSPCC on 0800 028 3550