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The Facts
Affected Countries Further Information

Around 150 million girls and women worldwide are affected by female genital mutilation. Each year there are an estimated three million further cases. That means 8,000 new victims per day. (UNICEF)

According to the definition of the WHO (World Health Organization), Female Genital Mutilation comprises all procedures involving partial or even total removal of the external female genitalia, whether for cultural, religious or other reasons.

The acronym 'FGM' stands for Female Genital Mutilation. FGM has become the internationally accepted term for this practice. Depending on regional tradition, infants, girls of every age or (less often) adult women become victims of FGM.

WHO distinguishes four types of Female Genital Mutilation:

Type I:
Excision of the prepuce, with or without excision of a part of the clitoris or the entire clitoris;

Type II:
Removal of the clitoris with partial or total excision of the labia minora (the inner labia);

Type III:
Excision of a part or of all the external genitalia as well as stitching or otherwise narrowing the vaginal opening - the so-called infibulation;

Type IV:
All FGM practices that are not listed under Types I-III, including those not mentioned here. Among these practises are: pricking, piercing or stretching of the clitoris and/or labia, burning of the clitoris and surrounding tissue; the scraping of tissue surrounding the vaginal orifice or cutting of the vagina; the introduction of corrosive substances or herbs into the vagina, either to cause bleeding or to tighten it.

Consequences of FGM

depend, among others, on the degree of mutilation, the methods used and sanitation. The consequences comprise not just physical, but also the most severe, lifelong psychological traumata

Some consequences of FGM are: unimaginable pain during the actual procedure, shock as well as death due to bloodloss. Later consequences are pain, massive problems to urinate, during sexual intercourse, during menstruation, during childbirth and many more.

You can learn more facts about FGM under "Further Information" (see above).