Over 140 million girls and women globally have been subjected to the harmful practice of female genital cutting (FGC). While FGC is concentrated in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East, the practice is spreading to other parts of the world – including Europe and the UK – as international migration continues to increase. It is estimated that 66,000 women living in the UK are affected by FGC, with up to 98,000 girls under the age of 15 being ‘at risk’ of the procedure, and more than 30,000 of these girls being at ‘very high risk’. This article explores the ‘Mental Map’ of FGC using examples from research undertaken with Somali and Sudanese communities in the UK and Netherlands as part of a Daphne III EC-funded project.1,2 The article explains how the continuation of FGC is motivated by a complex mix of inter-related socio-cultural factors and how beliefs associated with religion, hygiene and female sexuality combine with social norms and community enforcement mechanisms to perpetuate the practice, despite negative health implications and the fact that the practice is illegal in the EU (including the UK).
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
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- female genital cutting
- female genital mutilation
- European Union