Introduction

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is very deliberately included on Dare2Care.  We need to stop considering it as a cultural issue and see it as child abuse and violence against women and girls.  It is estimated that internationally, three million girls each year are subjected to this barbaric practice and 170,000 of those women and girls live in the UK.

The abuse is categorised in four types which relate to the extent and severity of the removal of some, or all, the external parts of the female genitals and the narrowing of the vaginal opening.  FGM also covers other harmful practices to female genitalia for non-medical practices.  The abuse typically happens before the individual is able to give informed consent and often by non-medical people.  FGM does not happen for medical reasons but actually causes life-long physical harm. From talking to survivors, this crime flourishes through misguided cultural justification and deliberate subjugation of women.

FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985 and from 2003, anyone taking a child out of the UK to be cut faces 14 years in prison.  But still the practice continues and, to date, we have no convictions.