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female genital mutilation practices around the world

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): The Epidemic You've Never Heard Of

You're not alone if you've never heard of the phrase female genital mutilation. But just because you've never heard of it doesn't mean that it isn't one of the most prevalent emotionally and physically demeaning evils present in the world today. 30 million women and children around the world are at risk in the next ten years of falling victim to this inhumane practice.

What is Female Genital Mutilation?

Imagine this: a perfectly happy baby girl enters the world. She is introduced into a culture that is highly patriarchal; she doesn't know the difference. Before she even realizes it, she has her womanhood taken from her, and what replaces it is an understanding that she is unworthy and that her natural sexuality is wrong. This is accomplished early in her childhood, her genitals are cut, removing her ability to feel pleasure and deforming her body. She lives the rest of her life with this burden.

I'm telling you that this story is a reality for millions of women. They may not all be living in the US, but they are alive, and deserve to be whole again.

Why is it so common and who is doing it?

“FGM is the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.”

The victims today in the US mainly are immigrants who come from nations where the risk is the highest, such as Egypt, Ethiopia, and Somalia (see Figure 1).

In the countries where FGM is most practiced, there are a variety of reasons why it still exists (even though it's illegal in 24 African nations). The practice has nothing to do with religion. It also has no ties with social class or educational level. The main reason female genital mutilation is practiced has to do with the culture. Some communities believe that it makes for better wives. The practice reduces a woman's libido in an effort for premarital virginity and marital fidelity.

Percentage of girls and women aged 15 to 49 years who have undergone FGM, by country

Figure 1 - Percentage of girls and women aged 15 to 49 years who have undergone FGM, by country
Source: UNICEF, 2013

How Can You Help?

There are many organizations and governments fighting and working against FGM. Many organizations are fighting against the spread and reducing harmful stigmas around sexuality. One powerful thing is through your contributions and donations can help accomplish to give back what was taken from these women. Reconstructive surgery is now a place for hope for those affected.

Many physicians don't have the necessary training to do this complex surgery, every case is different, but the aim is to help the person feel whole again. This can be accomplished at our surgery center located in Atlanta, Georgia. We specialize in reconstructive surgery, psychological counseling, education of medical personnel and advocacy for the elimination of FGM.

We are taking new patients, so help us get the word out. The epidemic causes pain and suffering for many women, and we want to offer a ray of hope.

If you or a loved one you know needs mental and physical recovery from FGM contact us today. We are here to begin the healing process and provide a safe haven for women who are suffering. You can contact us here.


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