Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Myths

Myth 1: FGM is a religious practice

FGM is not a religious practice. No religious texts recommend FGM. FGM is often connected to Islam because it is practiced among many Muslim groups. Not all Muslim groups practice FGM. Many non-Islamic groups practice FGM including Christians, Ethiopian Jews and traditional African religions.

FGM is a cultural practice and not a religious practice.

Myth 2: FGM has health benefits

FGM has no health benefits. There is no medical reason to perform FGM. The practice only harms girls and women in many ways – physical, emotional, psychological, and even death.

FGM puts girls and women at more risk of health problems. There is greater risk with more severe types of FGM.  

Myth 3: FGM is only practiced in Africa and the Middle East

FGM is practiced in many countries around the world. While FGM is practiced more widely in Africa, the practice can be found in Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe and South America.

FGM is also practiced among migrants from these communities in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. FGM is a global problem.

Myth 4: Some types of FGM are less harmful than others

All types of FGM are harmful and increase the risk of health complications. There is greater risk with more severe types of FGM. 

FGM has no health benefits, only harm.

Myth 5: FGM performed by a health care professional makes it acceptable

FGM performed by a health care professional (e.g., doctor, nurse, midwife), also known as medicalization, does not make the practice acceptable nor safe. There are risks with all forms of FGM including medicalized FGM.

There is no medical reason for FGM. Health care professionals who perform FGM violate medical ethics and human rights.

Myth 6: FGM is no longer common

More than 200 million girls and women alive today have experienced FGM. If FGM continues to be practiced at the present rates, 68 million girls will be subjected to FGM by 2030. The numbers continue to increase as countries practicing FGM are experiencing population growth.

The Covid-19 pandemic further effected gender inequalities, economic differences and health risks faced by women and girls. It is estimated that due to Covid-19, two million cases of FGM could occur over the next ten years.  

FGM is not a woman’s issue – it is everyone’s issue.

Awareness and advocacy starts with you. Speak out using #endFGM on social media to make it known we must end this harmful practice.

Read the full article on FGM practices to understand more.

References

  1. https://www.unfpa.org/resources/female-genital-mutilation-fgm-frequently-asked-questions
  2. https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/female-genital-mutilation
  3. https://www.unfpa.org/resources/impact-covid-19-pandemic-family-planning-and-ending-gender-based-violence-female-genital
  4. https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2020/1/feature-global-fight-to-end-fgm

Header Photo: Pixaby

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