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Combating female genital mutilation

02 January 2024
Volume 32 · Issue 1


Saul Beeson, Holly Vincent and Joe Frankland discuss addressing educational needs to combat female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation is the cutting or changing of the female genital organs for non-medical purposes. It is a form of child abuse and violence against women and girls; it is a violation of human rights that perpetuates gender inequality and denies women control over their bodies and lives. The consequences of female genital mutilation are severe and long-lasting, including physical complications, such as bleeding, infections, pain and childbirth complications, as well as psychological trauma and a sense of violation (World Health Organization (WHO), 2023). It is a deeply ingrained social practice that inflicts physical and psychological suffering on millions of girls and women. The justifications for practising female genital mutilation vary, but are often based on misconceptions and misinformation that must be challenged.

Despite global efforts, female genital mutilation remains a prevalent issue affecting over 200 million girls and women, with approximately 3 million girls being at risk annually (WHO, 2023). Urgent action is necessary to eliminate female genital mutilation, which is typically performed by untrained individuals using unsterile instruments, amplifying the risks of infection and complications (HM Government, 2020). This article aims to shed light on the multifaceted aspects of female genital mutilation, raise awareness and promote dialogue among individuals, communities and policymakers. By understanding the complexities and consequences of female genital mutilation, we can strive for a future where girls and women are free from this violation of their rights.

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