FGM/C stands for Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting. It involves the deliberate cutting or altering of the external female genital organs for reasons that are not medical. It has many names such as: Female Genital Mutilation, Female Genital Cutting, Female Circumcision or Ritual Female Surgery.
There are different types of FGM/C, However, in all cases it is of no health benefit to girls or women and is considered around the world as a violation of their human rights.
"Female genital mutilation has no known health benefits. On the contrary, it is known to be harmful to girls and women in many ways. First and foremost, it is painful and traumatic. The removal of or damage to healthy, normal genital tissue interferes with the natural functioning of the body and causes several immediate and long-term health consequences."
- World Health Organization
FGM/C is a traditional practice that has been done for centuries in various cultures around the world. It is usually done by someone who is not medically trained using unsterile blades or knives with no anaesthesia. Some countries, such as Sudan and Egypt, the practice is carried out in private clinics by doctors and nurses. It is usually performed on young girls, but can be performed on babies or older women.
See below for more details on who performs FGM/C, where it happens, the classified types of FGM/C, its position in Australian Law and the related health effects.
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