Tag Archives: Acculturation

Process of cultural change in which one group or members of a group assimilate various cultural patterns from another.

Factors associated with the support of pricking (female genital cutting type IV) among Somali immigrants – a cross-sectional study in Sweden

Reprod Health. 2017 Aug 8;14(1):92. doi: 10.1186/s12978-017-0351-0.FREE

Factors associated with the support of pricking (female genital cutting type IV) among Somali immigrants – a cross-sectional study in Sweden

Wahlberg A, Johnsdotter S, Ekholm Selling K, Källestål C, Essén B


BACKGROUND: Pricking, classified as female genital cutting (FGC) type IV by the World Health Organization, is an under-researched area gaining momentum among diaspora communities. Our aim was to explore factors associated with being supportive of pricking among Somalis in Sweden. METHODS: In a cross-sectional design, attitudes and knowledge regarding FGC, and measures of socioeconomic status, acculturation, and social capital, were assessed by a 49-item questionnaire in four municipalities in Sweden. Data were collected in 2015 from 648 Somali men and women, ≥ 18 years old, of which 113 supported the continuation of pricking. Logistic regression was used for the
analysis. RESULTS: Those more likely to support the continuation of pricking were older, originally from rural areas, and newly arrived in Sweden. Further, those who reported that they thought pricking was: acceptable, according to their religion (aOR: 10.59, 95% CI: 5.44-20.62); not a violation of children’s rights (aOR: 2.86, 95% CI: 1.46-5.61); and did not cause long-term health complications (aOR: 5.52, 95% CI: 2.25-13.52) had higher odds of supporting pricking. Religion was strongly associated with the support of pricking among both genders. However, for men, children’s rights and the definition of pricking as FGC or not were important aspects in how they viewed pricking, while, for women, health complications and respectability were important. CONCLUSIONS: Values known to be associated with FGC in general are also related to pricking. Hence, there seems to be a change in what types of FGC are supported rather than in their perceived values.

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‘Female genital mutilation’ in Europe: Public discourse versus empirical evidence

International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, Available online 2 May 2017.

‘Female genital mutilation’ in Europe: Public discourse versus empirical evidence

Johnsdotter SMestre i Mestre RM 


• There is a discrepancy between public discourse and empirical evidence regarding ‘female genital mutilation’ in Europe.

• Framing FGM as a widespread social problem in Europe creates myths about activities among immigrant communities.

• An analysis of court cases in Europe shows that the typical European case is FGM performed in Africa.

• Public discourse regarding FGM needs to be challenged in multicultural democracies under the rule of law.

This article can be accessed in this LINK

Cultural change after migration: Circumcision of girls in Western migrant communities

Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 2016;(32):15-25

Cultural change after migration: Circumcision of girls in Western migrant communities

Johnsdotter S, Essén B


This paper reviews the current knowledge on cultural change after migration in the practice of female circumcision, also named genital cutting or mutilation. Explorative studies show trends of radical change of this practice, especially the most extensive form of its kind (type III or the ‘Pharaonic’ type). The widespread interpretation that Islam would require circumcision of girls is questioned when, for example, Somalis meet other Muslim migrants, such as Arab Muslims, who do not circumcise their daughters. The few criminal court cases for circumcision of girls that have taken place in Western countries corroborate the conclusion that substantial change in the practice has occurred among migrants. In this literature review, an absence of reports is identified from healthcare providers who have witnessed circumcision after migration. Concurrently, a substantial knowledge exists on how to take care of already circumcised women and girls, and there is a system of recommendations in place regarding best practices for prevention. There is a great potential for healthcare providers to encourage this development towards general abandonment of circumcision of girls. The challenge for the future is how to incorporate culturally sensitive efforts of prevention on the one hand, and the examination of suspicious cases of illegal circumcision on the other. We recommend using – in a cautious way – the existing routines for identifying child abuse in general. Experiences from African contexts show that failure to generate significant change of the harmful practices/tradition may be due to the lack of multidisciplinary collaboration in different sectors of the society. In Western societies, the tendency toward abandonment of the practice could be reinforced by professionals who work toward better inclusion of men and women originally from countries where circumcision is practised.

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How experiences and attitudes relating to female circumcision vary according to age on arrival in Britain: a study among young Somalis in London

Ethn Health. 2004 9(1): 75-100. DOI:10.1080/1355785042000202763

How experiences and attitudes relating to female circumcision vary according to age on arrival in Britain: a study among young Somalis in London

Morison LA, Dirir A, Elmi S, Warsame J, Dirir S


Objective. To examine the association between age on arrival in Britain and experiences and attitudes relating to female circumcision among young, single Somalis living in London.

Design. The study population consisted of single male and female Somalis aged 16–22 years living in the Greater London area. Quantitative data were collected using a cross‐sectional survey based on snowball sampling aiming to obtain data on 100 males and 100 females. Qualitative data were collected from 10 males and 10 infibulated females.

Results. Quantitative data were obtained for 94 females and 80 males. Living in Britain from a younger age was associated with increased assimilation in terms of language, dress and socialising. Seventy per cent of the females reported being circumcised with two‐thirds of operations being infibulation. Those who were living in Britain before the usual age range for circumcision (before age six) were less likely to be circumcised (42%) than those who arrived after the usual age range for circumcision (11 or older) (91%). During in‐depth interviews, health and sexual problems due to female circumcision were described with great emotion and interviewees acknowledged the association between the importance of virginity for marriage and circumcision. Half of males who arrived aged 11 or older wanted a circumcised wife compared with less than a quarter of those who arrived at a younger age. Eighteen per cent of female respondents and 43% of males intended to circumcise any daughters. Females were less likely than males to agree with the assumptions about sexuality and religion that underpin the practice. Substantial proportions of respondents perceived that their parents’ expectations in terms of marriage and circumcision were more traditional than their own.

Conclusion. Living in Britain from a younger age appears to be associated with abandonment of female circumcision and with changes in the underlying beliefs on sexuality, marriage and religion that underpin it. Groups identified with more traditional views towards female circumcision include males, older generations, new arrivals and those who show few signs of social assimilation.

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Coping and chronic psychosocial consequences of female genital mutilation in the Netherlands.

Ethn Health. 2012 Dec;17(6):677-95. doi: 10.1080/13557858.2013.771148.

Coping and chronic psychosocial consequences of female genital mutilation in the Netherlands.

Vloeberghs E, van der Kwaak A, Knipscheer J, van den Muijsenbergh M.

Research & Development Department , PHAROS – Knowledge and Advisory Centre on Refugees’ and Migrants’ Health , Utrecht , The Netherlands.

Objective. The study presented in this article explored psychosocial and relational problems of African immigrant women in the Netherlands who underwent female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), the causes they attribute to these problems – in particular, their opinions about the relationship between these problems and their circumcision – and the way they cope with these health complaints. Design. This mixed-methods study used standardised questionnaires as well as in-depth interviews among a purposive sample of 66 women who had migrated from Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia or Sierra Leone to the Netherlands. Data were collected by ethnically similar female interviewers; interviews were coded and analysed by two independent researchers. Results. One in six respondents suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and one-third reported symptoms related to depression or anxiety. The negative feelings caused by FGM/C became more prominent during childbirth or when suffering from physical problems. Migration to the Netherlands led to a shift in how women perceive FGM, making them more aware of the negative consequences of FGM. Many women felt ashamed to be examined by a physician and avoided visiting doctors who did not conceal their astonishment about the FGM. Conclusion. FGM/C had a lifelong impact on the majority of the women participating in the study, causing chronic mental and psychosocial problems. Migration made women who underwent FGM/C more aware of their condition. Three types of women could be distinguished according to their coping style: the adaptives, the disempowered and the traumatised. Health care providers should become more aware of their problems and more sensitive in addressing them.

This article can be accessed in this LINK

Successful Cultural Change: the Example of Female Circumcision among Israeli Bedouins and Israeli Jews from Ethiopia.

Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci. 2012;49(3):178-83.FREE

Successful Cultural Change: the Example of Female Circumcision among Israeli Bedouins and Israeli Jews from Ethiopia.

Bellmaker RH.

Beersheva Mental Health Center, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheva, Israel.


Female genital mutilation (FGM) is practiced in many areas of the world, including the Middle East, Africa and Australia. Although it is most common in Muslim populations it is not a dictate of Islam. In the 1980s this practice was reported among Bedouin tribes, originally nomadic, in the southern area of Israel. Almost all of the women interviewed in the first study intended to continue the practice by performing FGM on their daughters including educated women who were teachers, dental assistants or university students. A second study was therefore done based in the obstetrical clinic where only women from tribes reporting to undergo FGM were examined for signs of FGM by an experienced gynecologist, in the presence of an Arabic-speaking female nurse and translator, as part of a gynecologic examination that was indicated for other reasons. In no cases was clitoridectomy or any damage to the labia found. All women had a small scar from a 1cm. incision somewhere on the labia or prepuce of the clitoris. this study concluded that the importance of the ritual in this population was unrelated to its severity. the ritual had apparently become over time a small symbolic scar, even though this population continued to believe in its importance. By contrast, a group of Ethiopian Jews who had immigrated to Israel was interviewed by an Amharic translator, and examined during routine gynecological examination in the same manner as the Bedouin group above. In Ethiopia, FGM is universal among Christian, Muslim and Jewish groups. All women interviewed reported that FGM was universal in Ethiopia, but none intended to continue this practice with their daughters. All stated that this was a practice that would be left behind in their country of origin. on physical examination many of the women had amputation of the clitoris. the conclusion of this study was that the severity of the operation performed had no relation to the social and cultural adherence to the operation, since the Ethiopian Jews who practiced a more severe form of the operation intended to abandon this practice while the Muslim Bedouin who had a much milder form intended to continue it. A follow-up study in 2009 of the Bedouin population of southern Israel has found that FGM had disappeared, both by self-report of women under the age of 30, and by physical examination of women under the age of 30 in an obstetrical clinic. these results suggest an optimistic approach toward cultural change involving unhealthy cultural practices and emphasize the importance of cognitive approaches to cultural change.

This article can be accessed in this LINK

The cultural context of gender, identity: female genital, excision and infibulation

Health Care for Women International. 2003 24(2) 115-124

The cultural context of gender, identity: female genital, excision and infibulation

Bilkis Vissandjée, Mireille Kantiébo, Alissa Levine & Radegonde N’Dejuru


Our goal is to explore the practices of female genital excision and infibulation as they relate to gender identity and the acculturation process in Canada. We examined relevant research on these issues and share the results of a nationwide project conducted in 1997–1999 among 162 Canadian immigrants from regions in Africa where practices of excision and infibulation are still in effect. Our discussion of gender identity is inextricably linked to notions about the ways in which girls, women, and virginity are socially constructed. The complexity of the acculturation process along with the integration within a host society is highlighted and the conflicting identities available to women are brought to the fore.

This article can be purchased in this LINK

Female genital mutilation: applications of nursing theory for clinical care

Nurse Pract. 2011 Apr;36(4):45-50.

Female genital mutilation: applications of nursing theory for clinical care.

Burke E.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a continuing practice among some immigrant groups. As mobility increases among this population, NPs in primary care will continue to see women who have experienced FGM. NPs must gain a better understanding of the practice in order to provide optimal, culturally appropriate clinical care.

This article can be purchased in this LINK