News / Health

    UN: Female Genital Mutilation More Widespread Than Thought

    FILE - A Masai girl holds protest sign during and anti-female genital mutilation event in Kilgoris, Kenya.
    FILE - A Masai girl holds protest sign during and anti-female genital mutilation event in Kilgoris, Kenya.

    Millions more girls and women worldwide are victims of female genital mutilation than previously thought, according to UNICEF, the U.N. children's agency.

    A report released Thursday says at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone ritual cutting, half of them living in just three countries — Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia.

    The latest figures include nearly 70 million more girls and women than estimated in 2014, because of a raft of new data collected in Indonesia, where the practice has been banned since 2006.

    Somalia has the highest prevalence of women and girls who have been cut — 98 percent of the female population between the ages of 15 and 49. Guinea, Djibouti and Sierra Leone also have very high rates. 

    FILE - А traditional surgeon is seen holding razor blades used to carry out female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation.FILE - А traditional surgeon is seen holding razor blades used to carry out female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation.
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    FILE - А traditional surgeon is seen holding razor blades used to carry out female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation.
    FILE - А traditional surgeon is seen holding razor blades used to carry out female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation.

    Some 44 million victims of female genital mutilation around the world are aged 14 or younger, and the majority of girls who have had their genitals mutilated were cut before they were 5 years old, UNICEF's research found.

    "In Yemen, 85 percent of girls experienced the practice within their first week of life,'' the report said.

    Hard to track

    UNICEF says exact numbers are hard to come by, because few of the 30 countries where it is practiced keep reliable data on the procedure, relying primarily on household surveys.

    The practice also exists in countries not in the study, such as India, Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as in pockets of Australia, North America and Europe, where immigrants from countries with a large number of female circumcisions live.

    The good news from the report is that, overall, prevalence rates have fallen in the last three decades, but progress has been uneven. Countries that have seen sharp declines include Liberia, Burkina Faso and Kenya.

    The U.N. General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution in December 2012 calling for a global ban on female genital mutilation, a centuries-old practice stemming from the belief that circumcising girls controls women's sexuality and enhances fertility. One of the targets in the new U.N. goals adopted last September calls for the practice to be eliminated by 2030.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: George from: USA
    February 06, 2016 5:54 PM
    The more Islamic influence, the more Sharii'a the more female genital mutilation.
    I am not a bit surprised!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! because this is true ISLAM.

    by: Az gal
    February 06, 2016 3:52 PM
    This practice is overwhelmingly Muslim, perpetrated by the women, not the men. When outlawed, it just goes underground to be performed by dirty witch doctors instead of sterile doctors. Education is key.

    by: Saanya Singh from: India
    February 05, 2016 12:32 PM
    psychological effects of FGM?
    FGM may have lasting effects on women and girls who undergo FGM. The psychological stress of the procedure may trigger behavioural disturbances in children, closely linked to loss of trust and confidence in caregivers. In the longer term, women may suffer feelings of anxiety and depression. Sexual dysfunction may also contribute to marital conflicts or divorce.

    by: Danny
    February 05, 2016 4:04 AM
    And in other news, genital mutilation was found to be widespread, almost universal, in the good ol' US of A.

    But those are male babies, so screw them. Save the girls only.
    In Response

    by: Barbara from: Bremerton
    February 05, 2016 3:25 PM
    What is done to a female is mutilation so is very different from what is done to males. Suggest you do some research to learn the difference.

    by: Donna from: Washington
    February 04, 2016 11:41 PM
    What about male mutilation? Should we not stop that as well?
    In Response

    by: Jabka Almaas from: Nairobi, Kenya
    February 05, 2016 2:05 AM
    Unlike America, thanks to God, we have only Female Genital Mutilation in Africa. Males are protected!

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