FGM Survivor Christina:
They Were Preparing Me for Marriage
At the age of 16, Christina was forced to marry a man older than her father and take part in a secret FGM ceremony to ‘initiate her’ into womanhood. Help us end the misery FGM causes for millions of girls by donating to our Girls Fund today.
Impact of FGM
The damage that FGM inflicts can be life threatening as well as psychologically traumatic. The impact of FGM includes:
- The risk of infection or death. Deaths from FGM do happen, usually as a result of haemorrhaging during or immediately after the procedure or due to tetanus and other infections in the weeks following. The majority of procedures are carried out by untrained women, in non-sterile settings using implements such as scissors, razor blades, and even broken glass. This means that girls will typically suffer from painful infections.
- Increased chance of complications during childbirth. The damage wreaked on the female reproductive system means that women who have undergone FGM are twice as likely to die in childbirth and are also more likely to give birth to a stillborn baby.
- Lifetime susceptibility to infection. Victims of female genital mutilation are more likely to suffer from recurrent uterine, vaginal and pelvic infections throughout their life.
- Sexual dysfunction. Due to the trauma inflicted on their genitals, women who have been subjected to FGM typically experience pain during sex and physiological problems with sex.
- Psychological damage. Women who have undergone FGM can be affected by a wide range of psychological problems. One study revealed that 46 per cent of those cut develops an anxiety disorder, while in another 78 per cent reported feelings of intense fear and horror that plagued them long after the event.
Our Work to End FGM
We're Fighting to End FGM in a Generation
Our work focuses on helping young people take a leading role in the global campaign to end FGM. It is their generation that can break the cycle.
Meet the girls in Ethiopia who are fighting to end FGM in a generation with the Uncut Girls’ Club.
We’re working with communities and young people to end FGM by:
- Educating women and communities. We need to make girls and women aware of the harmful effects of FGM. That not only empowers women to make choices, but it also educates the women who carry out the procedure. Because men and boys tend to have greater power and influence in cultures that practice cutting we also work to change their attitudes.
- Increasing legal protection. Part of our work involves working with governments and community leaders to put in place legal restrictions and make sure they’re enforced.
- Supporting victims. Those who have suffered FGM need help and support, so we work with local health workers and the wider community to provide psychological and medical support to victims.
An infographic that looks at the main reasons why FGM happens
Discover four projects in Africa that are engaging and empowering communities to end FGM
When I was 13, it was my turn to undergo FGM. I was so scared I ran away to the church and I hid
Here are three things you can do to help bring ‘cutting season’ and FGM to an end
FGM in the UK
FGM isn't just a problem in developing countries. While the majority of cases do occur in Africa, the issue is a global one. Girls are at risk in the UK, and even though it’s illegal here, it continues to be a hidden, but growing, problem on these shores.
FGM in the UK is a big problem during the summer holidays – a time referred to as the ‘cutting season’. Girls are flown abroad, often under the pretence of a holiday visiting relatives. On arrival they are then subjected to FGM, sometimes at the hands of someone with no medical training, with non-sterile instruments including razor blades, scissors or shards of glass. Check out the 3 ways you can help stop FGM and cutting season.