Today, 6 February, is International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation! Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a procedure performed on a woman or girl to alter or injure her genitalia for non-medical reasons.

Here are 5 facts on FGM.

1. Today approximately 200 million girls and women have undergone FGM.

It is 2020! It is  heartbreaking that this unnecessary and abusive procedure is still being done.

2. Good news! Female genital mutilation has dropped drastically among African girls (under 14 years) this century.  However girls older than 14 years are still at risk.

3. FGM is rooted in cultural practices and not linked to religion.

It is erroneously linked to religion, is not particular to any religious faith, and predates Christianity and Islam. Female genital mutilation occurs in non-Muslim societies in Africa and is practiced by Christians, Jewish, Muslims and Animists alike.

4. FGM happens everywhere!

Africa, Asia (India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), South America (Columbia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru), Eastern Europe (Georgia and Russia), Middle East (United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Iraq, Iran and Palestine). The procedure is also performed in western countries, in diaspora communities.

5. There are 4 types of female genital mutilation

Type I – clitoridectomy : partial or total removal of clitoris and/or the prepuce.
Type II – excision : partial or total removal of the clitoris and labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora. The amount of tissue that is removed varies widely from community to community.
Type III – infibulation : narrowing of the vaginal orifice with a covering seal.  The seal is formed by cutting and re-positioning the labia minora and/or the labia majora. This can take place with or without the removal of the clitoris.
Type IV – all other harmful procedures to the female genetelia for non-medical purposes, for example: pricking, piercing, incising, scraping or cauterisation.

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