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Female Genital Cutting

Female circumcision, also called female genital cutting (FGC), is a cultural procedure regularly practiced in 28 African countries, 5 countries on the Arabian Peninsula, Indonesia, and Malaysia. FMC consists of all procedures that involve either partial or total removal of the external female genitalia and other injury modification to the female genital organs. Often FCM/FGC is misunderstood as a religiously (mainly Islam) charged act, however, it is practiced by other religions other than Islam. FGC/FGM is a cultural practice, rather than a religious one. It is important to note that for some Muslim patients this is a culturally sensitive issue. Some women may be deeply upset about having undergone this procedure, while others view it as a normal part of their lives. FGC is classified according to four types depending upon the amount of tissue removed and the procedure used: Type I – Sunna: excision of the prepuce with or without excision of part or all of the clitoris; Type II –Clitoridectomy/ Excision: excision of the prepuce and clitoris together with partial or total excision of the labia minora; Type III – Infibulation: Excision of part or all of the external genitalia and the stitching/narrowing of the vaginal opening (also called infibulation); and Type IV — unclassified procedures that could include pricking, piercing, or incision of clitoris and/or labia; stretching of clitoris and/or labia; cauterization by burning of clitoris and surrounding tissues; and scraping of the vaginal orifice or cutting of the vagina; introduction of corrosive substances or herbs into the vagina with the aim of tightening or narrowing the vagina. (Management Sciences for Health 1999-2004). FGC is also practiced by Ethiopian Coptic Christians, Bedouins, and others (Kemp 2004).

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