FGM stands for Female Genital Mutilation; FGM is when a girl’s private parts are cut without any medical reason. FGM can happen to girls whose families are from certain places, normally countries in North Africa. FGM is sometimes given different names such as ‘cutting’, ‘sunna’, ‘khitan’ and ‘bondo’. FGM is very painful and upsetting for the girls it happens to and can lead to lots of problems with a girl’s health and happiness. It can make girls very ill and also cause problems if they have a baby when they are older. In extreme cases, people can die from having FGM.
FGM is seen as traditional in some cultures but this does not mean it is ok.
FGM is illegal; the people that carry out the FGM and any other adults involved can be arrested and sent to prison. If FGM happens to a girl under 18 it is child abuse. This means that it is something harmful and unacceptable that should not happen to a child.
Just Like Me?
We know that FGM is more likely to happen to girls if their sisters, cousins, Mums, Aunts or Grandmas have also been cut. Sometimes, girls are taken away to another country during Summer Holidays to have FGM done, and it may be talked about as a special ‘ceremony’. FGM can happen to girls at different ages.
FGM is not an easy thing to talk about. A lot of girls find it embarrassing or may also be worried about getting others into trouble.
But it’s important to remember that FGM is dangerous and illegal and should not happen. If you are worried that FGM may happen or has already happened to you or someone you know, it’s very important that you tell someone. This could be a relative, a teacher or a doctor.
There’s also lots of help and information available online:
The Petals app can be downloaded to your phone; the name and icon do not identify it as being connected with FGM so you don’t need to worry about someone spotting it on your screen
FGM Every Bodys Biz gives a lot of information about the issue and how young people Just Like You are helping to end it. This site also allows you to quickly cover your tracks if you are worried about someone finding out you have been on the site