Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a form of child abuse which is estimated to affect around 140 million girls and women around the world.
FGM is the partial or complete removal of a girl’s external genitals, and is a practice undertaken without any medical supervision or pain relief.
There are no health benefits and the effects on girls and women who have FGM last forever. Girls and women who have had FGM may have problems urinating, menstruating and there may also be issues with childbirth, as well as long lasting psychological effects.
Some use ‘religion’ as an excuse for practicing FGM, but there is nothing in the Bible, the Koran or any other religious text that supports FGM.
FGM is cultural practice which violates a girl’s human rights. It is cruel, inhumane, and is a form of honour based violence as girls are being controlled in order to increase their marriage-ability.
If you are worried, you could speak to a school nurse for support and advice - they offer weekly confidential 'drop-ins' in secondary schools. Send a text to ChatHealth (07507 333356) or ask in school to find out more.
You could speak to a youth worker at 4YP online on Wednesdays and Thursdays 5-7pm or drop in or call for support, visit their website for more details www.4yp.org.uk
The video on this page shows the story of a 12 year old girl in the UK who struggles between her family's wishes and the facts about FGM.
For a two minute explanation of FGM and the problems it causes, check out this short clip on YouTube.
If you have undergone FGM yourself, there are services in Suffolk which can provide support for you. For more information, get in touch with Suffolk Refugee Support.