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FGM: Basic Info from the Metropolitan Police

What is Female Genital Mutilation?

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), sometimes mistakenly referred to as Female Circumcision, is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the range of procedures which involve “the partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reason”.

FGM is classified into four types. Types 1 and 2 involve excision of the clitoris and labia minora and are the most common forms of FGM. Type 3 involves infibulation where the clitoris and labia minora are completely removed and the vaginal opening is stitched or narrowed leaving only a small opening (1 – 2 cm) for the passage of urine and menstrual blood.  Type 4 includes all other procedures including pricking or piercing the clitoris, cauterisation by burning the clitoris and surrounding tissues or the introduction of corrosive substances into the vagina.

There are severe consequences, both psychological and emotional and the medical consequences include extreme pain, shock, infection, haemorrhage, infertility, incontinence, HIV and death.

It is estimated that approximately 138 million African women have undergone FGM worldwide, with up to 80% of these having undergone type 1 or type 2.

The procedure is, in most cases carried out by an older woman with no medical training.  Anaesthetics are rarely used, and the practice is carried out using basic tools such as knives, scissors, pieces of glass and razor blades.  Often iodine or a mixture of herbs is placed on the wound to tighten the vagina and stop the bleeding. 

FGM is typically performed on girls between 4 and 15, although in some cases it is performed on new babies to young women prior to marriage


Where does FGM take place?

The majority of cases of FGM are carried out, or originate, in communities from 28 African countries.  In some countries such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan, prevalence rates are alleged to be as high as 98% and in other countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Togo and Senegal, the prevalence rates vary between 20-50%.  FGM also takes place in parts of the Arabian Peninsula such as Yemen and Oman and by Ethiopian Jewish Falashas, some of whom have recently settled in Israel.  It is also reported that FGM is practised among Muslim populations in parts of Malaysia, Pakistan, Indonesia and the Philippines.

As a result of immigration and refugee movements, FGM is now being practised by ethnic minority populations in other parts of the world, such as USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

It is estimated that as many as 20,000 girls are at risk of FGM within the UK every year.

Why is FGM practised?

FGM is not an act of hate. It is carried out because their parents believe it is in the best interest of their daughters.  In certain patriarchal communities where FGM takes place, marriage, is seen as necessary for a woman’s honour and survival.  A woman who has not undergone FGM will stand little chance of marriage and will not be accepted by her community.   The practice is often carried out in the belief that it is a means of purification and ensuring a woman is clean.

Many of the communities that practice FGM are Muslim and religion is often cited as a reason, despite the fact that neither the Qu’ran or any other holy text advocates for FGM.  Also, FGM is also practiced by Christians of the Coptic Church in countries such as Egypt.


The law in the UK

Any FGM procedure on a woman or girl is unlawful under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.  It is also an offence under the Act for UK nationals or permanent residents to carry out FGM abroad, or to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad, even in countries where the practice is legal. 

What to do if you suspect a girl to at risk of FGM?

FGM is usually practised in the country of origin.  Suspicions may arise in a number of ways that a child is being prepared for FGM to take place abroad.  These include knowing that the family belongs to a community in which FGM is practised and are making preparations for the child to take a holiday, arranging vaccinations or planning absence from school, and the child may talk about a “special procedure” taking place.

Indicators that FGM may have already occurred include:

Prolonged absence from school with noticeable behaviour change on return or

long periods away from classes or other normal activities, possibly with bladder or menstrual problems.

If you suspect that any girl is at risk of being subjected to any form of FGM, take action to report it immediately!! Time counts so please act as soon as you suspect that a girl may be at risk of FGM, the instructions below tell you what to do.

To protect a girl from FGM  take the following actions:

  • You must inform your designated child protection Advisor
  • They must make a referral to the Local Authority Children’s Social Care
  • In urgent cases contact Children’s Social Care, or local Police direct

If it comes to your attention or you suspect that a girl has already undergone FGM, do not think there is nothing you can do. She will be in need of specialist care and support and if she has sisters they will be in need of protection.

Do not let labels of 'tradition' 'culture' 'religion' or a fear of being called a 'racist' stop you from taking action to protect girls at risk of FGM, it is a violation of human rights and is child abuse.

Tags: FGM, Zuk, Zwomen, articles, collected

Views: 2607


Replies to This Discussion

Will Joan Smith bring about FGM prosecutions ? - this group should have their feet held to the fire until they do ! - or exposed as a talking shop of pc obfuscators if they don't ! ;

I hear you Antony

It is hopeful that 

'Another priority is to ensure successful prosecutions for female genital mutilation (FGM)'

I do not know Joan Smith's writings much but I did hear her once at a Ex-Muslims conference.  So she is in the Islam-per-se-is-not-the-problem camp.  Anyway she does it I hope she begins the prosecutions.

Antony said:

Will Joan Smith bring about FGM prosecutions ? - this group should have their feet held to the fire until they do ! - or exposed as a talking shop of pc obfuscators if they don't ! ;

2,000 female genital mutilation victims seek help at London hospitals in just three years but true figure is 'far more than figures show'

  • 300 victims required surgery to repair damage caused by brutal ritual 
  • A dozen children needed medical help, including one with 'open wound'
  • Experts say figures do not give the full picture of growing number of cases
  • DPP says it is 'only matter of time' before prosecution is brought in UK


Needing help: More than 2,100 women have been treated in London hospitals since 2010 for female genital mutilation injuries

More than 2,100 victims of female genital mutilation have been treated in London hospitals since 2010, it emerged today.

Almost 300 women needed surgery to help them recover from the brutal ritual, new figures have revealed.

Among those treated in the capital's hospitals included 12 children, including one girl who had been left with an 'open wound' following the criminal act.

Despite being illegal in the UK, female genital mutilation is on the rise with an estimated 66,000 women dealing with the after-effects and more than 20,000 young girls thought to be at risk.

The procedure is associated with communities in Africa, particularly Mali, Somalia, Sudan and Kenya, as well as some parts of the Middle East.

Many girls living in Britain are taken to these countries for be 'cut', and some will be as young as five.

But it is becoming more prevalent in the UK and  experts say today's figures are 'truly shocking' but there are 'far more victims' than the data shows.

In the majority of cases the clitoris is removed because it gives sexual pleasure.

A total of 2,115 FGM patients were seen between 2010 and now, the Evening Standard has revealed.

Dr Comfort Momoh, a specialist in dealing with these injuries at St Thomas’ Hospital, said: 'These statistics show a very significant number of women are being treated for FGM.

 'But there are still lots out there who are not being identified because they don’t know where to go for help, aren’t being referred by GPs or are too scared to come forward.

Barbaric: A collection of knives, blades and amulet used for female circumcision in Kenya's Pokot district (left). Nine-year old Fay Mohammed pictured days after undergoing FGM at home in Mogadishu (right)


Nimko Ali was just seven years old when she was taken to Somalia for a 'holiday' where she would be subjected to the horrific procedure.

'There was a woman at the door in a burka. I was scared and instinctively started running. When I was caught, I was taken into a room filled with instruments I didn't recognise,' she said.

'The woman I was so afraid of was there waiting for me. She scolded me for running away, telling me how difficult it was to obtain equipment like this; how ungrateful I was.

'I blacked out before she started cutting. I'm still not sure whether it was the anaesthetic or pure fear'.

When Ali woke, she was in agony with her legs bound together. Taken back to the Uk two days later, Ali found that friends and teachers were unwilling to take her story seriously, leaving her feeling let down and alone.

'I’m really worried about girls, in particular. Where are they going to seek help? The GPs who are their first point of call often don’t have the knowledge. We also need teachers and lecturers to do more to at least signpost girls towards help.'

Nimko Ali was seven when she underwent Female Genital Mutilation in Somalia and now campaigns against it through her charity Daughters of Eve.

'For too long, it has been passed off as a "cultural" ritual. But this act is not about celebration. FGM is gender-based violence, it's as simple as that,' she said.

It came as Director of Public Keir Starmer said it was 'only a matter of time' before there is a prosecution for female genital mutilation.

'I think a prosecution is much closer now than it's been at any stage since this was made a criminal offence in this country,' he said.

'We have devised a strategy, and we have now got the intelligence-led operations that are bringing us very close to a prosecution.

'I do not think that's a failure - that is trying to grapple with a difficult problem. If it was easy there would have been a prosecution.'

Read more: 

Female genital mutilation FGM among Iraqi Kurdish women: a cross-sectional study from Erbil city:

I saw Antony had put a lot of wall posts up about FGM (esp. in UK), so I thought I'd better consolidate them somewhere.

Shocking to think that it's nearly 30 years since Parliament outlawed it, and the country is still acting as if it was something we only found out about last year.

Comment by Antony 1 hour ago

Comment by Antony on March 6, 2014 at 8:05

FGM campaigner to meet Gove

Comment by Antony on March 4, 2014 at 11:22

FGM laws should be tougher .. but how about enforcing the ones we've got already

Comment by Antony on March 2, 2014 at 10:33

Somali debate on FGM

Comment by Antony on March 1, 2014 at 10:50

Shy girl who spoke to Gove on FGM

Comment by Antony on February 26, 2014 at 11:24

Gove writes to schools re FGM

Comment by Antony on February 25, 2014 at 9:54

Also, it was the sudden awareness of The Guardian having an editorial on FGM that made me realise I hadn't seen that kind of thing from Leftists in 30 years.  That was what prompted me to analyse the frequency of media reports, leading to this chart showing that it was EDL who brought this back into the headlines, after decades of silence by those who supposedly care for women, for immigrants, for children.


This is not surprising. British authorities are so determined to accommodate Islamic legal and cultural norms that it is perfectly understandable that this man thought that an FGM helpline was designed not to prevent the practice, but to make it available. And if Britain continues to accommodate Sharia, that is exactly what it will become. The prosecutions of those who perform this barbaric operation and ask for it to be done have been long delayed, and ultimately will do nothing to stop it, since it is based on Islamic religious imperatives; they’ll only just drive it farther underground. And ultimately, the British authorities will have to choose between their accommodation of Islam and Muslims and their disapproval of this practice. I am fully confident, based on precedent up to now, that they will choose the former.

“Doctor becomes first person in Britain charged with performing a Female Genital Mutilation procedure,” by Martin Evans for the Telegraph, March 21 (thanks to Daniel Greenfield):

…One of the old cases involved a man calling an FGM helpline, intended for victims, to ask for the procedure to be carried out on his two daughters….

Joe - my understanding of the care professions is that they are supposed to report any cases of potential/planned child abuse, which is what the above mentioned caller to the helpline was in the process of doing .... I take it therefore that the helpline reported this man to police and social services who have the matter in hand ?!?.......


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