FGM. Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation refers to the partial or complete removal of the external female genital organs. This extreme form of violence to women has been practised for thousands of years, mainly for traditional reasons. The main areas where this occurs are western to north-eastern Africa, Yemen, Iraq, Indonesia and Malaysia. The World Health Organization WHO distinguishes four different types of FGM

  • TypeI
    The clitoris is partially or completely removed.
  • TypeII
    In addition, the inner labia (labia minora) are cut off.
  • TypeIII
    Infibulation – here the outer labia are also removed and the wound is sewn up to leave a small opening.
  • TypeIV
    This type includes all other damaging measures, like burns, cauterizations and incisions, not to speak of piercing the female genitals, especially the clitoris.

Worldwide, about 200 million girls and women are affected, and every year about three million girls are added. The procedure is sometimes practised as early as infancy, in most cases before the onset of puberty, and in some societies even as a preparation for marriage. It is usually performed by older women like midwives and other socially respected people, with razor blades and broken glass, etc., without anaesthesia and often under unhygienic conditions.

In the 21st century, it is still carried out in some countries under the pretext of medical necessity under medical supervision with anaesthesia. The consequences of FGM are serious and often lead to death. Female genital mutilation is not only a serious violation of human rights, but has also made a lasting contribution to the suppression of female empowerment. This practice is officially prohibited in most countries of the world, including Germany.