Thousands of New Cases of FGM Reported in England

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Girls take part in anti-FGM education in Somalia
Girls take part in anti-FGM education in Somalia (Photo: Nichole Sobecki/AFP/Getty Images)

Newly released data shows that 5,391 new cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) were reported in England this year, reported the BBC.

The statistics were presented by the National Health Service.

As per a law in the UK, doctors, hospital and other medical practitioners are required to report new cases of FGM.

The majority of women who were reported were victims of the barbaric procedure as children living abroad.  One-third of the newly reported victims were born in Somalia. UK-born victims comprised 112 of the reported cases.

Any intentional altering or injuring of the female external genitalia for non-medical reasons is illegal in the UK. Violators can be punished with up to 14 years in prison.

In a statement by the NSPCC, the UK’s leading child charity reiterated, “FGM is child abuse. Despite being illegal for over 30 years, too many people are still being subjected to it and it is right that health services have started to properly record evidence of this horrendous practice.

“It takes courage to report concerns as many feel ashamed or worry they will betray friends and family. But we need to end the silence that surrounds FGM to better protect children.”

Most girls who have undergone FGM are cut between the ages of four and 12. The World Health Organization regards FGM as a worldwide public health issue because of its harmful physical and mental effects.

Short-term complications can include hemorrhaging, pain, shock, and even death, while long-term complications include formation of cysts, problems with sexual intercourse and giving birth, chronic pelvic infection and sterility.

The trauma of FGM often lasts a lifetime and can cause depression and anxiety, among other psychological problems. FGM also reduces or eliminate sexual pleasure for the victim.

Types of FGM include:

Type I: the removal of the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris) with or without removal of the entire clitoris (sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals)

Type II: excision of the clitoris with labia minora and partial or total labia majora

Type III: the removal part or all of the external genitalia and stitching/ narrowing of vaginal opening, leaving a small opening for urine and menstrual blood (infibulation)

Type IV: pricking, piercing or incising of the clitoris and/ or labia; stretching of the clitoris and/ or labia; cauterization by burning of the clitoris and surrounding tissue; scraping of tissue surrounding vaginal orifice or cutting of the vagina; introduction of corrosive substances or herbs into the vagina to cause bleeding or for the purpose of tightening

For a complete report about FGM, see Clarion Project’s in-depth Fact Sheet on the subject or our brief summary, FGM 101.


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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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