Female genital mutilation/cutting – towards abandonment of a harmful cultural practice.

Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2014 May 6. doi: 10.1111/ajo.12206. [Epub ahead of print]

Female genital mutilation/cutting – towards abandonment of a harmful cultural practice.

Varol N, Fraser IS, Ng CH, Jaldesa G, Hall J.


Globally, the prevalence of, and support for, female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is declining. However, the entrenched sense of social obligation that propagates the continuation of this practice and the lack of open communication between men and women on this sensitive issue are two important barriers to abandonment. There is limited evidence on the role of men and their experiences in FGM/C. Marriageability of girls is considered to be one of the main driving forces for the continuation of this practice. In some countries, more men than women are advocating to end FGM/C. Moreover, men, as partners to women with FGM/C, also report physical and psychosexual problems. The abandonment process involves expanding a range of successful programs, addressing the human rights priorities of communities and providing power over their own development processes. Anecdotal evidence exists that FGM/C is practised amongst African migrant populations in Australia. The Australian Government supports a taskforce to improve community awareness and education, workforce training and evidence building. Internationally, an African Coordinating Centre for abandonment of FGM/C has been established in Kenya with a major global support group to share research, promote solidarity, advocacy and implement a coordinated and integrated response to abandon FGM/C.


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