Female Genital Cutting
About Female Genital Cutting
According to the World Health Organisation, female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.”
Women and girls are living with the consequences of FGC in the UK
Women and girls worldwide have undergone FGC
Girls are at risk of experiencing FGC each year
Female genital cutting, also referred to as female genital mutilation (FGM) and female circumcision, is classified into four major types:
- Type 1– Clitoridectomy: this is the partial or total removal of the clitoral glans (the external and visible part of the clitoris, which is a sensitive part of the female genitals), and/or the prepuce/ clitoral hood (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoral glans).
- Type 2 – Excision: this is the partial or total removal of the clitoral glans and the labia minora (the inner folds of the vulva), with or without removal of the labia majora (the outer folds of skin of the vulva).
- Type 3 – Infibulation: this is the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the labia minora, or labia majora, sometimes through stitching, with or without removal of the clitoral prepuce/clitoral hood and glans.
- Type 4 – Other: this includes all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area – including labia elongation.
Why does FGC happen?
Many cultures have different reasons for continuing FGC. From upholding the status of the community to maintaining her virginity, marriageability and bride price. From enhancing her beauty to increasing her husband’s sexual pleasure. These cultural, economic and religious justifications assume FGC benefits the girl as she transitions to womanhood.
If you would like to refer yourself for therapy at HERSANA you can do this through our online self-referral form or you can phone us.
FGC & The Law
The law states that:
A person is guilty of an offence if he excises, infibulates or otherwise mutilates the whole or any part of a girl’s labia majora, labia minora or clitoris
This means that it is a criminal offence to carry out FGC. If you (the victim) live in the UK, then it is a criminal offence whether the procedure/FGC happens in the United Kingdom or abroad.
The law also states:
A person is guilty of an offence if he aids, abets, counsels or procures a person who is not a United Kingdom national or permanent United Kingdom resident to do a relevant act of female genital mutilation outside the United Kingdom
This means that it is a criminal offence to help or encourage or advise or arrange for any other person to perform FGC. If you (the victim) live in the United Kingdom, then it is an offence for anyone to arrange for the FGC to happen in the United Kingdom, or abroad.
It is also a criminal offence to help or encourage a girl or a woman to perform FGC on herself.
If you are aged under 16 then whoever is responsible for you or cares for you (such as your parents) must protect you from FGC. If you are a girl aged under 16 and you have been subjected to FGC then your main carer or whoever is responsible for you will be guilty of a criminal offence. This is a new law so your main carer will only be guilty of a criminal offence if the procedure/FGC happened after 3rd May 2015.
The criminal offence of FGC and the associated offences listed above are punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment, or a fine, or both.
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