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What is FGM?

FGM is the abbreviation for female genital mutilation. It's illegal in the UK as it's carried out for non-medical reason but it's still performed on young girls who aren't able to say no because of cultural stigmas. Ultimately, what is FGM other than a form of mutilation that should be stopped?

Female circumcision

There are many different forms of FGM or “female circumcision”, none are legal in this country. So what is FGM good for? The quick answer is that it’s not good for anything as it has no medical benefits. It’s carried out on girls who have not yet hit puberty and it often causes injury to their genitalia. Some of the injuries happen because the operations are carried out by unqualified practitioners or because of the conditions under which it occurs. As it’s illegal in the UK, some girls are taken back to their countries of origin for the operation. Government figures suggest that 20,000 girls aged between 2 and 15 are currently at risk in Britain. The same statistics show that 66,000 UK woman currently live with the after effects of the operation.

Forms of FGM

The procedures are often carried out by individuals without any medical training, and they’re painful because anaesthetics aren’t normally used. Knives, scalpels and scissors are used, and equipment normally associated with torture are also said to be used as some girls need restraining during the operation.

There are three main types of genital mutilation. The first is a clitoridectomy, where part of the clitoris is removed. Excision is the second type of mutilation. In this operation the clitoris and the inner labia are removed. Type 3 involves the narrowing of the vaginal opening by repositioning the labia. There are other types of procedures that mainly involve piercings.

Why is FGM done?

So what is FGM for? It's carried out for cultural or religious reasons. In some cultures it's considered a necessary part of raising a girl. Some people believe that it reduce a woman's libido and therefore makes her less likely to have sex before marriage. Whatever you're beliefs, it's illegal in the UK.

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