Female Genital Mutilation

What is Female Genital Mutilation?


Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises 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.

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More than 125 million girls and women alive today have been cut.

FGM is mostly carried out on young girls, sometime between infancy and age 15.

More than 2 million females are cut each year and approximately 6,000 daily.

Recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women, FGM reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. In certain rural communities across Africa, FGM is considered the norm and is nearly always carried out on minors.

“Magdalene came into my life as a caretaker for my father. She was from the West African country of Sierra Leone. Magdalene told me she left her country so that her two daughters wouldn’t endure the same physical and psychological trauma she continues to suffer as a result of having been cut,” explains Donna L. Valverde, founder and Director of Valvisions. Founded in 2007, the Houston-based non-profit organization produced “HEALING MAGDALENE.” The film creates and increases awareness about FGM, while opening minds and forcing us to question why we do what others say is “best or better,” without thinking about the effect, or simply asking: “Why?

Key Facts about FGM:

  • The practice of FGM violates a female’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, as well as the right to life when the practice results in death.
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
  • The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.
  • FGM occurs in Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, occupied Palestinian territories, as well as immigrant communities in Europe, Australia, Canada and the United States. FGM is practiced predominately, however, in the 28 countries that form a band across the heart of Africa.

Health Risks of FGM:

  • AfricaProblems with urination
  • Cysts
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Life threatening infections
  • Vaginal fistula
  • HIV
  • Complications in childbirth
  • Problems during pregnancy
  • Increased risk of newborn deaths
  • Stillbirths
  • Numerous additional surgeries (including for sexual intercourse and childbirth)
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Infertility
  • Psychological trauma
  • Death













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