Female Genital Mutilation/ Cutting. Gillian Kariuki Program Coordinator – Refugee Women Health and Safety WHS. Introduction. FGM Program Goals Definition of FGM History of the practice Types of FGM Prevalence of FGM Reasons given for the practice Health consequences
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Program Coordinator – Refugee Women Health and Safety
FGM Program Goals
Definition of FGM
History of the practice
Types of FGM
Prevalence of FGM
Reasons given for the practice
Health needs of the women affected by FGM
Efforts to address FGM
What the law says about FGM in SA
Assessing the controversy
To prevent the occurrence of FGM in South Australia through an emphasis on community education, information, referrals, advocacy, linkages and support.
Promote community awareness of health and the psychosocial effects of the practice of FGM.
To develop culturally appropriate information and educational resources for women and their communities.
To provide education and training for professional groups on the prevention and illegality of FGM in SA.
Female Genital Mutilation is defined, as comprising ‘all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the female genitalia and /or injury to the female genital organs for cultural or any other non-medical reasons’.
Communities’ definition of FGM
Mummies of Egypt dating back to the 16th century.
In Roman times forms of Infibulations was used on female slaves as a form of contraceptive(French,1992)
United States (1890s) FGM was practiced by doctors to cure female weakness
Western countries including England have used FGM to “cure” women for psychological ailments and so called “female deviances”(Toubia 1995,p.21)
Partial or total removal of the clitoris .Other terms used to describe Type 1 procedures include circumcision, ritualistic circumcision, sunna, clitoridectomy.
Excision: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora including partial or total excision of the labia minora.
Removal of part or all of the external genitalia and stitching and/or narrowing of the vaginal opening (infibulations) leaving a small hole for urine and menstrual flow
Other terms used to describe Type III procedure include Pharaonic circumcision and Somalian circumcision
Pricking, piercing or incising of the clitoris and/or labia
Stretching of the clitoris and/or labia
Cauterisation by burning of the clitoris and surrounding tissue
Scrapping of the tissue surrounding the vaginal orifice (angurya cuts) or cutting of the vagina (gishiri cuts)
Introduction of corrosive substances or herbs into the vagina to cause bleeding or for the purpose of tightening or narrowing it,
And any other procedure which falls under the definition of female genital mutilation
Aesthetics and hygiene
Gender roles and sexuality
These will depend on the type, practitioner, where it’s performed, and method used. The following are some of the possible consequences
Immediate/short term complications include
Long term complications include
Regular gynaecological check ups
Intensive ante-natal and post natal care
Restorative surgery (De-infibulations)
Access to female health care workers and centres
South Australian response
In December 2012,the UN General Assembly accepted a resolution on the elimination of female genital mutilation
In 2010 WHO published a Global strategy to stop health care providers from performing female genital mutilation together with other key UN agencies and International organizations
In 2008 WHO together with 9 other UN partners, issued a new statement on the elimination of FGM to support increased advocacy for the abandonment of FGM
Since 1997,great efforts has been made with revised legal frameworks and growing political support with 24 African countries outlawing the practice of FGM
Research show that in most countries, the prevalence of FGM has decreased and an increasing number of women and men in practising communities support ending its practice
All states and territories have developed laws that prohibit the practice of FGM.
In December 2012,the then PM announced a $500,000 Commonwealth grant to support action to end FGM.
In July,2013 the Minister for Health announced a further $500,000 for 15 new projects aimed at ending FGM in Australia.
The projects will focus on raising awareness in affected communities, training health professionals and gathering more information on FGM in Australia.
A National Compact has been developed which States and Territories have signed and committed to eradicating the practice of FGM.
In South Australia FGM is covered by section 26 of the Children’s Protection Act,1993 and section 33 of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act.
33A : Prohibition of female Genital Mutilation
(1) A person who performs female genital mutilation is guilty of an offence
Penalty :Imprisonment for 7 years.
(2) This section applies irrespective of whether the victim, or a parent or guardian of the victim consents to the mutilation
33B : Removal of child from State for genital mutilation
(1) A person must not take a child from the State or arrange for a child to be taken from the State with the intention of having the child subjected to Female Genital Mutilation
Penalty : Imprisonmentfor 7 years
World Health Organization, Female Genital Mutilation: Fact sheet,2012,World Health Organisation, Geneva.
Masterson, J.M and Swanson,J.H. (2000). Breaking the Silence, Enabling Change. International Centre for Research on Women.
The Royal Women’s Hospital, Victoria,2009, Fact sheet for health professionals: female Genital Mutilation.
Brockington, M.H, Assessing the Controversy: Female Genital Mutilation or Legitimate Rite of Passage,(2012).Honors College, Paper 36.
South Australian Criminal Law Consolidation Act,1997
In every culture important practices exist which celebrate life-cycle transitions, perpetuate community cohesion, or transmit traditional values to subsequent generations. These traditions reflect norms of care and behaviour based on age, life stage, gender, and social class. While many traditions promote social cohesion and unity, others erode the physical and psychological health and integrity of individuals, particularly girls and women. Factors such as limited access to education, information, and services allow those that may be most harmful to persist.