With (he)art against FGM

also in de, es, fr – Linked on our blogs with Give someone you never met, a gift they will never forget, and with Clinic to fight taboo of female mutilation.

  • … FGM is affecting an estimated 500,000 immigrant girls and women here in Europe, and putting another 180,000 girls at risk each year. The majority of them come from Egypt, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
  • I created this website with the intention to recognize the work of many artists committed in the fight against FGM, and at the same time, to encourage many more to deal with the issue as well. With their artistic interpretations they can help the world to better understand and to see this problem for what it really is: the cruelest act of violence against women happening under the sun! (Isabel Henriques … full text Welcome Page).

Authors; Artistis; Videos; Music; Supporters; News;
Address: Isabel Henriques, Laubacher Str. 14, 35321 Laubach, Germany;

FGM – A wound for life: Worldwide there are 138 million women victims of female genital mutilation, from practices that hurt or destroy the external genitalia for non-therapeutic reasons. 

The most dramatic form is the infibulation or pharaonic circumcision. Not only the external genitalia are removed, but the entire vulva is sewn up to a minimum opening. Despite sexual intercourse, the vagina from infibulated women remains closed until the birth of their first child, with exception of a opening as small as a raspberry. Most women let themselves be re-infibulated after each birth, to the original small opening.

According to estimates by the World Health Organization two to three million girls are circumcised each year, usually without anesthesia, with razor blades, knives, broken glass, sharp stones. Many are at the time of their circumcision 8 to 14 years old, but increasingly the procedure is also performed on small children and even infants. The consequences are often dramatic: in addition to complications during urination, menstruation, sexual intercourse and birth, women often suffer from anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress disorder.

Although female genital mutilation has long been outlawed as a violation of the human rights and considered a serious crime in most states where it is practiced, it is widespread in almost thirty countries in Africa and Asia, such as Egypt, Mali, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan , and in smaller communities in Palestine, Yemen, in northern Iraq, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia. According to reports, there are even cases of genital mutilation in Guatemala, and because of migration, also in North America, Australia and Europe. In England there should be up to 90 000 circumcised immigrant women living in the country, in France, 60 000, in Switzerland, an estimated 7000 women. The majority of them come from Egypt, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The female circumcision is a ritual that lies in the acceptance of deep-rooted social traditions, norms and myths, and is practiced among others by Muslims, Catholics and Copts. Some African Muslims see circumcision as a religious duty, even though the female genital mutilation is not mentioned in the Koran with a single word. On the contrary, any action that prevents a satisfying sexual relationship (in marriage), contradicts according to the Shariah the essence of Islam. The origins of circumcision goes back to 500 years before Christ. Grave finds revealed that female mummies in the entourage of a pharaoh were showing signs of infibulation, presumably as evidence of sexual fidelity to the ruler. And here lies ultimately the main motive for female genital mutilation.

Virginity until marriage and sexual fidelity are still considered today in many countries pillars of the family honor, who is not circumcised, is stigmatized, ridiculed, and often expelled from the society. A woman with an open vagina, the people of Somalia say, has hung around with men, “was on the road,” no one wants such a women. Girls insult each other with “You uncircumcised!” when they are fighting. When an aunt comes running to settle the dispute, the girls ask her to look at them between their legs, to confirm that their opening is not bigger than just a raspberry.

Research has shown that parents coming from countries that practice genital mutilation, call into question the necessity of circumcision, after their emigration to European countries. Nevertheless, there are reasons for many families to have their daughters circumcised in the new home country. “They hold on to the praxis, either in view of a possible return to the country of origin,” says Elsbeth Müller, Managing Director of UNICEF Switzerland, “or the parents are afraid of being excluded of the community in the Diaspora, if they evade the circumcision”. Sometimes it happens, that the daughters want to get circumcised, even when the mother is against it … (full text).

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