FGM – What is it and how many does it affect?
Female Genital Mutilation, also known as ‘cutting’ or ‘sunnah’ is an abuse suffered by 2 million woman and girls globally, and thought to affect over 130,000 woman here in the UK.
It is, put simply by the World Health Organisation (WHO)…
“All procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.”
The scariest thing is it is carried out by parents or elders, those that love their little girls dearly, because they truly believe they are doing the right thing.
FGM is currently happening in 25 countries, predominately in Africa, but also Russia, Asia and the Middle East. In some countries, for example Guinea and Somalia, the percentage of woman and girls in these regions currently being cut is 97-98%.
The reasons for FGM are complex and go back centuries – it’s very traditional and is all about coming of age, and even protection.
Many affected communities believe that FGM is a necessary custom to ensure that a girl is accepted within the community and eligible for marriage.
Families who practice FGM on girls usually see it as a way of safeguarding their future.
FGM is not linked to any particular faith, this is NOT supported by any religion.
It crosses through all social boundaries and affects girls across the world regardless of religion, class or caste.
There are many organisations working towards ending FGM, one of which is the National FGM Centre.
We were lucky enough to recently attend a conference organised by the the National FGM Centre, where we learnt so much about this sensitive but important issue, and how we can all help work towards ending FGM.
If you’d like to learn more, please visit the National FGM Centre’s very easy to navigate website where you can find lots of information resources and you can easily learn about how it affects woman and girls here in the UK.