Female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM) is a harmful practice that involves the removal of part or all of the female genitalia.
FGM can have lifelong health consequences including:
- Chronic infection
- Complications during childbirth
- Increased risk of newborn deaths
- Psychological trauma
- Severe pain during urination, menstruations, and sexual intercourse
While cases of death as a direct or indirect result of FGM are occasionally reported, there is currently no statistical data on how many girls die from the procedure.
WHAT IS THE PREVALENCE OF FGM IN THE U.S.?
More detailed statistics on FGM are needed. In January 2016, in response to advocacy by Equality Now, Safe Hands for Girls, and other civil society partners, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a study on the number of women and girls in the U.S. who are at risk of or have been subjected to FGM. According to it, the number is estimated to be 513,000, more than three times higher than an earlier estimate based on 1990 data.
HOW SHOULD WE ADDRESS FGM?
Ending FGM requires a multi-sectoral approach that brings together law enforcement, child protection professionals, educators, physicians, religious leaders, government agencies, advocates, and survivors. The approach must be holistic and always keep the best interest of the girl or woman who is either at risk of or a survivor of FGM at the center of its efforts.