FGM stands for Female Genital Mutilation. It is sometimes called female circumcision, cutting or sunna. This is the partial or complete removal of a girl's external genitals (private parts). Sometimes the vagina is also sewn up too. FGM is a tradition practiced on girls in 28 African countries and parts of the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.
There are 4 types of FGM:
FGM has no known health benefits and can be extremely dangerous; sometimes leading to death. Religious, social or cultural reasons are sometimes given however FGM is illegal in the UK – it’s also illegal to arrange for someone to be taken out of the country to be cut.
The immediate effects and risks of FGM are:
· FGM can sometimes cause death.
The long term effects and risks of FGM are:
Those most at risk of FGM are girls between infancy and the age of 15 – majority of cases occur between the ages of 5 and 8.
If you are worried someone you know may be at risk of FGM, or has already gone through FGM and may need some support; these are the things to look out for!
· Someone absent from school for a long period of time, usually either side of the school holidays, with no reason/ you are going to another country for a long period of time and are unsure why
· If a mother/family member has already gone through FGM – as this means someone in the family believes in FGM
· If a family belongs to a community where FGM is practiced
· If someone is talking about having a ‘special procedure’ or ‘becoming a woman’
· Continued prolonged absence from school or other physical activities
· Someone returns from a long stay away and their behaviour has changed
· Bladder or menstrual (period) problems – like needing to go the toilet a lot or spending a long time in the toilet
· Having difficulty sitting still, or complaining about a pain between their legs
· Someone talking about something somebody did but they are not allowed to talk about
WHO CAN HELP?
If you are worried about FGM happening to you or a friend, or have gone through FGM and feel you need support, here are some people and places you can go for support:
SOME OTHER THINGS YOU MIGHT WANT TO CHECK OUT
Daughter’s of Eve is a great charity set up to support young girls experiencing or at risk of FGM: