Why does FGM happen and where is it legal? – Metro

Mila Marwa has opened up on the show as she worries that her younger sister is to receive the same treatment she got as a child.

This is a very real issue many women face: UNICEF estimated in 2016 that 200 million women living in 30 countries—27 African countries, Indonesia, Iraqi Kurdistan and Yemen—have undergone the procedures.

Why do some people believe in FGM and in which countries is it legal?

What are the reasons for FGM?

The NHS explain that there are no health benefits to FGM and it can cause serious harm, including:

  • constant pain
  • pain and difficulty having sex
  • repeated infections, which can lead to infertility
  • bleeding, cysts and abscesses
  • problems peeing or holding pee in (incontinence)
  • depression, flashbacks and self-harm
  • problems during labour and childbirth, which can be life threatening for mother and baby

The reasons why some cultures or communities practice FGM is more to do with societal norms, attitudes and beliefs.

The practice is rooted in controlling women’s sexuality and attempts to ‘preserve’ a woman’s purity.

UNICEF state the common reasons for FGM cited by women in surveys are social acceptance, religion, hygiene, preservation of virginity, marriageability and enhancement of male sexual pleasure.

Where is FGM legal?

Presently, the countries where there are no laws criminalising FGM are:

  • Bahrain
  • Brunei
  • Chad (however, a bill banning FGM has been put before the President)
  • Colombia
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Liberia (it was banned in 2018, but the ban expired in January 2019)
  • Libya
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Sierra Leone (FGM pertaining to initiations are criminalised, but the practice is not nationally banned)
  • Singapore
  • Somalia (FGM is prohibited in the Constitution, but there are no known laws or prosecutions)
  • Somaliland
  • Sri Lanka
  • Syria
  • Thailand
  • UAE (United Arab Emirates)
  • Yemen

There are further countries where the laws around FGM are unclear, either nationally or differing by states. These are:

  • Indonesia
  • Nigeria

FGM is illegal in the UK.

Anyone who performs FGM can face up to 14 years in prison.

Anyone found guilty of failing to protect a girl from FGM can face up to 7 years in prison.