Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation Chapter 1: Demography and Epidemiology of FGM

Female genital mutilation is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women as discussed in the Introduction, it is a criminal and potentially lethal, almost always harmful, assault, both on a person’s body and on her mind.

Whilst however there is no dispute about the status of this abuse, ascertaining with any precision the incidence of female genital mutilation in any location (including the UK) is difficult, given both its general illegality and the intimate nature of the practice itself. Estimations of how frequently FGM occurs, and of the likelihood of risk for given populations, inevitably require informed guesswork and a considerable degree of sensitivity to the issues as they are interrogated.  

The damage caused by FGM is intensely personal and private, and even more so because the subjects are (most usually) minors who cannot give meaningful consent either to the procedure itself, or to any subsequent proposed medical examination. 

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