What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?




Female genital mutilation (FGM) is any procedure involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs. FGM is often performed on girls between the ages of 4 and 14 to ensure their virginity until marriage.


The World Health Organization reports that FGM has no health benefits and can cause serious and often lifelong physical and psychological health problems.




FGM is a Reality in the U.S.

FGM is illegal in the United States but it still takes place



The number of girls under 18 at risk of FGM in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1997.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 513,000 women and girls are at risk or have already undergone FGM in the U.S.

In 2017, the FBI arrested a doctor in Michigan for allegedly cutting up to 100 girls.

More than 110,000 girls are at risk of FGM and live in the remaining 24 states that do not have state legislation against the practice.




 

Read our report on Why we hesitate to protect girls from FGM in the U.S.

 

What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?


Female genital mutilation (FGM) is any procedure involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs. FGM is often performed on girls between the ages of 4 and 14 to ensure their virginity until marriage.


The World Health Organization reports that FGM has no health benefits and can cause serious and often lifelong physical and psychological health problems.

Read more

Immediately following the procedure, girls are at risk of severe pain, shock, bleeding, bacterial infection, and injury to nearby tissue. In the long term, women and girls are at risk of recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections, cysts, infertility, and complications during intercourse and childbirth. Depression, anxiety, PTSD and other psychological issues often follow the trauma of the procedure.


FGM Fact Sheet




FGM is a Reality in the U.S.

FGM is illegal in the United States but it still takes place



The number of girls under 18 at risk of FGM in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1997.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 513,000 women and girls are at risk or have already undergone FGM in the U.S.

In 2017, the FBI arrested a doctor in Michigan for allegedly cutting up to 100 girls.

More than 110,000 girls are at risk of FGM and live in the remaining 24 states that do not have state legislation against the practice.



Read our report on Why we hesitate to protect girls from FGM in the U.S.

Stories from Survivors and Advocates


April 25, 2018

AHA Foundation Therapist on Her Clients Journeys to Overcome Stigma and Fear of Seeking Help

Every month, dozens of people reach out to AHA Foundation for help. They are people who have survived […]
March 28, 2018

Penn State Students Fight to End FGM From Their Classrooms

A group of talented and determined students from Penn State’s Dickinson Law have taken up the challenge of […]
March 27, 2018

A Survivor Shares: When Female Genital Cutting Occurs, Childhood Ends and Trauma Begins

** Please note the photo above is a stock photo and not a photo of the survivor. It […]
February 20, 2018

By Educating Legislators Across the Nation, Alex Still Helps Protect Girls in the U.S. from FGM

AHA Foundation: Alexandra Still is our Program and Policy Associate. Alex researches cultural practices that harm women and girls in […]
February 20, 2018

AHA Foundation Campus Program Fellow Breaks Silence About FGM at Vassar College

Grace Roebuck is a sophomore at Vassar College studying Psychology and is a Critical Thinking Unit (CTU) Fellow, […]
December 12, 2017

Dr. Mwangi-Powell Leads African Anti-FGM Initiative, Believes the Practice Can be Stopped in One Generation

Dr. Faith Mwangi-Powell, MSc, Ph.D., is the Global Director for The Girl Generation, a ten-country social change communication […]
November 22, 2017

Activist and Survivor of FGM, F.A. Cole, Refuses to be Silent About the Night She was Mutilated

F.A. Cole is an award-winning author, speaker, and anti-FGM activist. At 11 years old, she was forced to […]
November 21, 2017

Not Comfortable with How Female Genital Mutilation is Shown in Photos, A Swedish Photographer Applies a New Approach

Elisabeth Ubbe is an award-winning photojournalist who strives to highlight issues that are taboo to create conversation and […]
August 23, 2017

Survivor of Female Genital Mutilation Pleads to Other Parents to Have Mercy on Their Girls

It is the recovery room in a hospital in Egypt. The girl is six or seven years old. […]
July 19, 2017

American Psychotherapist Devotes Her Career to Helping Survivors of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) Heal From Trauma

Psychotherapist, Joanna Vergoth, has advocated against FGM for over 15 years. The AHA Foundation had the pleasure to […]
July 19, 2017

While His State Makes the News Due to Cases of Genital Mutilation, This Michigan Physician Argues for Cutting Off the Roots of the Practice

Dr. Mohammed Arsiwala is a board certified internist who practices urgent care medicine in Southeast Michigan. He is […]
April 28, 2017

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Female genital mutilation and what we’re really talking about beneath the weasel words ‘genital cutting’

Originally published by Fox News: 28 April, 2017 The recent news that a grand jury in Michigan has […]
December 13, 2016

Khadija Gbla, Survivor of Female Genital Mutilation, Turned Her Anger with Injustice Into Action to Protect Girls at Risk of FGM

Since she was only 13 years old, FGM survivor Khadija Gbla has been an outspoken advocate working to […]
July 20, 2016

An Interview With Hilary Burrage: How She’s Fighting to Stop FGM in the UK

Hilary Burrage, British sociologist and author, on the fight against FGM: We must never, for one moment, be […]
June 16, 2015

Women Forced to Undergo FGM Find Strength to Break the Silence

Ayaan When Ayaan Hirsi Ali, founder of the AHA Foundation, underwent female genital mutilation (FGM) in her native […]