Why is FGM practiced?
Communities give several reasons to justify why they perform fgm. Some of the justifications are:
• To control women’s sexuality and to reduce sex drive. FGM is perceived to prevent promiscuity.
• To preserve their girl’s virginity particularly for Type 3. FGM is used as a physical barrier to maintain virginity.
• Religion is commonly used as a justification for FGM. By passing off FGM as religious duty, communities are more likely to sustain the practice.
There is no religious basis for FGM in Christianity, Islam or Judaism.
• FGM is performed to get women ready for marriage.
• Some women choose to undergo FGM because they fear social exclusion.
• FGM is seen as a rite of passage from girl to womanhood.
• FGM can also be performed out of love. It is often carried out to ensure that a young woman will get a good husband, be admired, cherished and respected by her community. Families will try to protect their girls from being ridiculed or shunned by their community.
1. World Health Organization. (1995).
2. PATH Publications – FGM-The Facts
3. Home Office Publications- Female Genital Mutilation