Female Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a collective term involving the cutting, or partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for cultural, religious or other non-medical reasons.

It may also be called female circumcision or female genital cutting.

The practice is extremely painful and has serious health consequences, both at the time when the mutilation is carried out, and in later life.  It can also be psychologically damaging.

Some may believe that it is a religious obligation but no religion requires FGM.

Neither the Bible nor the Koran endorses FGM and the leaders of all major religions have condemned it.

The procedure is typically performed on girls aged between 4 and 10, but in some cases FGM is performed on new born infants or on young women prior to marriage or pregnancy.   The myth is that FGM enhances fertility. 

In some countries/communities FGM is a deeply rooted, traditional cultural practice. Reasons cited for it include: maintaining virginity, chastity or fidelity; custom, tradition and social acceptance (especially for marriage); hygiene and aesthetic reasons.

FGM is illegal in Scotland.