Female Genital Cutting (FGC)

FGC tree

Female Genital Cutting (FGC) is commonly practiced in about 28 countries predominantly in Africa and Asia.  It can be performed for a variety of reasons including 'coming of age' or rite of passage from child to adulthood; it can signal in a physical way the full membership of a girl or young woman in their clan, lineage or ethnic community; it can be used to indicate marriageability within the community. FGC is a multi-generational issue, and must be addressed across generations. Women from these countries are migrating with increasing frequency to Canada, the USA, the UK, Europe and Australia.

BRYCS Publications, Toolkits, Trainings & Webinars:

To see any of the BRYCS-authored resources on Female Genital Cutting, visit the health section of the publications page.

Promising Practices:

BRYCS has identified and documented a number of "promising practices" on this topic

Highlighted Resources

The following Highlighted Resource List has been hand chosen by BRYCS staff to assist service providers in working with newcomers that have experienced FGC. It includes the following topical areas:

Research & Background Information (Back to Top)

  1. End Violence Against Girls Summit on FGM/C Report. United States Institute of Peace , Equality Now , Safe Hands for Girls 28 page s . December 2, 2016. English . https://www.equalitynow.org/sites/default/files/2016%20Violence%20Against%20Girls%20Summit%20on%20FGM_C%20report_web_cmprsd_0.pdf

    This report is the result of a summit meeting in December 2016 that brought together over 250 thought leaders from 28 countries, political leaders, and donors in Washington, DC to end FGM/C. The Summit explored how the US can protect all girls at risk of FGM/C and provide services to girls and women that have experienced it. This report presents recommendations, emanating from months of civil society and government collaboration, and refined by Summit panel discussions. Recommendations include the following categories: government, health care, community and faith-based leaders, education, and donors.

  2. Exploring Female Genital Cutting among West African Immigrants. Akinsulure-Smith, Adeyinka M. 559-561 page s . June 2014. English . http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10903-012-9763-7

    This pilot study sought to examine the experiences of FGC among West African immigrant women in the U.S. 

  3. Fact Sheet on Violence Against Women. Tahirih Justice Center 2 page s . January 1, 2016. English . http://www.tahirih.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Tahirih-Violence-Against-Women-Fact-Sheet.pdf

    Violence against women and girls is a global epidemic of staggering proportions. Get the facts and learn more about why immigrant women and girls are acutely vulnerable to violence with this fact sheet from the Tahirih Justice Center.

  4. Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting: An Anatomical Review and Alternative Rites. Puppo, Vincenzo 8 page s . September 2016. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    This article provides an overview of the World Health Organization's four classifications of FGM/C and explores alternative rites of passage which are seen as an important strategy for eliminating this harmful practice. Such alternative rituals avoid genital cutting and involve educating girls about family life and women's roles.

  5. Female Genital Mutilation in the U.S. Factsheet. Equality Now 6 page s . 2016. Arabic English French Spanish . http://www.equalitynow.org/FGM_in_US_FAQ

    Gives information on female genital mutilation (FGM), its presence in the U.S., and the laws against it. Available in English, Spanish, French, and Arabic.

  6. U.S. Government Fact Sheet on Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGM/C). U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) 1 page . February 5, 2015. English . https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/criminal-hrsp/legacy/2015/02/05/01-22-15fgm-notice.pdf

    This information sheet from the Department of Justice provides an overview of FGM/C
    the United State's view of the practice. It also provides information about additional resources available to women at risk and those who have been affected by the practice.

  7. Women and Girls at Risk of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in the United States. Mather, Mark , Feldman-Jacobs, Charlotte page s . February 2016. English . http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2015/us-fgmc.aspx

    This report examines the prevalence of FGM/C in the U.S. and discusses how better methods of collecting data on this topic are needed.

Legal Considerations (Back to Top)

  1. U.S. Department of Justice's Female Genital Mutilation Brochure. U.S. Department of Justice 2 page s . February 4, 2015. Amharic Arabic English French . https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/criminal-hrsp/legacy/2015/02/05/hrsp-brochure-%28fgm%29-rev215.pdf

    This brochure from the U.S. Department of Justice is aimed at immigrant communities and aims to educate about Female Genital Mutilation and a woman's rights in the U.S regarding the practice.

  2. A State Letter on FGM/C. Carey. Robert page s . July 24, 2015. English . http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr/resource/state-letter-15-08

    This State Letter provides resources and updated information about the law related to Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C), also known as female circumcision.

  3. Female Genital Cutting: An Evidence-Based Approach to Clinical Management for the Primary Care Physician. Hearst, Adelaide A. , Molnar, Alexandra M. 12 page s . June 2013. English . http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2013.04.004

    This article provides an introduction to the practice of FGC and practice guidelines for primary care physicians. It also discusses important cultural considerations for physicians caring for patients with FGC, the common early and late medical complications and their management, and psychosocial issues associated with FGC. It is important to note that this article was written in 2013 before the Transport for Female Genital Mutilation Act passed making it illegal to knowingly transport girls out of the U.S. for the purposes of performing FGC.

  4. The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGM/C) Outreach Strategy. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 8 page s . January 18, 2017. English . https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Humanitarian/Special%20Situations/DHS_FGM_Outreach_Plan_-_Final_-_1-17-17.pdf

    This information guide from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is intended to describe the general approach and some specific future actions that DHS plans to undertake over time in working toward its goal of educating and reaching key stakeholders in the United States with relevant information about FGM/C. 

Resources for Service Providers (Back to Top)

  1. "Female Genital Mutilation: A Visual Reference and Learning Tool for Health Care Professionals". Abdulcadir, Jasmine , Abdulcadir, Omar , Petignat, Patrick 6 page s . November 2016. English . https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27741194

    This article can be used by caregivers when unsure of the type of female genital mutilation diagnosed. Additionally, the article can be used for training and surveys for monitoring the prevalence of female genital mutilation types and subtypes.

  2. “Providing Information about the Consequences of Female Genital Mutilation to Healthcare Providers Caring for Women and Girls Living with Female Genital Mutilation: A Systematic Review”. Oringanje, Chioma M. , Okoro, Anthony , Nwankwo, Ogonna N. 7 page s . February 6, 2017. English . https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28164292

    This article examines the capacity of healthcare workers and institutions to provide optimal care for women and girls who have undergone FGM. It discusses the impact that providing information on FGM had on heathcare provider attitudes and quality of care.

  3. A Resource Guide to Best Practice for Sensitive and Effective Reporting on FGC/M: With Special Reference to Khatna in the Dawoodi Bohra Community. Sahiyo 80 page s . January 31, 2017. English . https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3Zf5O1hDZTkN1l3SGw0UXdUczVrZnktaTU3SDM2Qk00cE1J/view

    This resource guide from Sahiyo acknowledges the role of the media and organizations working to shed light on female genital cutting/mutilation and highlights best practices involved in reporting and writing on the subject. It is intended to help journalists and organizations understand how to effectively and sensitively talk about the practice.

  4. Assisting Girls at Risk of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: What Child Abuse Professionals Need to Know. O'Connor, Kathleen , Green, Andrea , Eyega, Zeinab page s . August 2016. English . https://www.nttac.org/index.cfm?event=trainingCenter.traininginfo&EventID=1793&from=upcoming

     The multidisciplinary panel will address the emerging FGM/C problem in the United States. Performing FGM/C on girls under the age of 18 is illegal under federal law and under the laws of 25 states. It is also illegal to transport a girl from the United States to another country to undergo FGM/C. The increase in the number of immigrants and refugees from countries that practice FGM/C brings this issue to the forefront for professionals who provide services to these populations. During this webinar, presenters will focus on areas of concern for professionals who deal with children and families at risk. (Description from source.)

  5. Clinical Practice Guidelines- Female Genital Cutting. Perron, Liette , Senikas, Vyta , Burnett, Margaret 18 page s . November 2013. English . https://sogc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/gui299CPG1311E.pdf

    This guide from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada provides health care professionals with information to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the practice and directions with regard to the legal issues related to the practice. Additionally, it covers clinical guidelines for the management of obstetric and gynaecological care and guidance on the provision of culturally competent care to adolescents and women with FGC.


  6. Educating about female genital mutilation. Holmes, Victoria , Farrington, Rebecca , Mulongo, Peggy 3 page s . January 2017. English . https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27788630

    This article highlights the importance of sharing experiences and expertise across health and social care professionals as well as working in partnership with culturally sensitive NGOs and other organizations.

  7. Engaging Schools on Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage: A Guide for Education Professionals. CREATE Youth-Net 23 page s . March 2015. English . http://forwarduk.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Educational-Professionals-Resource-English.pdf

    This guide is intended to be used by school staff and education professionals to engage on the issues of FGM and forced marriage. It provides basic information about both FGM and forced marriage; gives an overview about the importance of schools engaging on the issues and provides guidance on how to respond to and deal with disclosures. (Description from source)

  8. Female Genital Cutting in the United States: Implications for Mental Health Professionals. Akinsulure-Smith, Adeyinka M. , Sicalides, Evangeline I. 7 page s . October 2016. English . http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/pro/47/5/356

    This article from the Journal of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice discusses and reviews the prevalence of FGC in the United States, the literature regarding the physical, psychological, and social consequences of this practice, and the practice's implications for mental health services. The authors also provide recommendations for clinical practice, education and training, research, and advocacy.

  9. Management of Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Postpartum Period in the Presence of Female Genital Mutilation. World Health Organization (WHO) 48 page s . 2001. English . http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/maternal_perinatal_health/RHR_01_13_/en/

    This resource outlines the major health complications of female genital mutilation (FGM) associated with pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. The report defines the essential package of care required to manage and/or prevent these complications in settings where resources are limited and discusses service barriers and other problems in providing care. (Description from source.)

  10. Trauma and Female Genital Cutting, Part 1: What is trauma?. Vergoth, Joanna page s . February 2016. English . https://sahiyo.com/2018/02/26/what-is-trauma-part-1/

    This is the first article of a seven-part series on trauma related to FGC. The article provides a deeper understanding of what trauma is and possible symptoms women who have undergone FGC may experience. It aims to help women feel less isolated and open to seeking professional help.

Personal Stories (Back to Top)

  1. I Carry the Name of my Parents': Young People's Reflections on FGM and Forced Marriage. Hemmings, Joanne , Khalifa, Saria 62 page s . November 2013. English . http://preventforcedmarriage.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/I-carry-the-name-of-my-Parents-young-peoples-reflections-on-FGM-and-forced-marriage.pdf

    This report is a collective of young people' views and experiences of female genital mutilation and forced marriage across the UK, Portugal and the Netherlands. Peer interviews also cover a range of themes, including migration experiences, gender and social norms and notions of cultural identity.

  2. Maasai Daughters. Andre, Samantha . July 2015. English . https://vimeo.com/133085631

    This documentary short about the lives of three girls and the women who rescued them from retrogressive cultural practices in their own Maasai community at the AIC Girls School and Rescue Center in Kajiado, Kenya.

  3. The Girl with Three Legs: A Memoir.. Miré, Soraya 400 page s . October 2011. English .

    Tells the story of Soraya Miré, a native of Somalia, and her experience with female genital mutilation and an arranged marriage.