But for some girls, the message is that, to be accepted by the wider community, their bodies must be cut, altered and even reshaped through a practice known as female genital mutilation FGM. Often viewed as a rite of passage, FGM can result in serious health complications, including infections, chronic pain and infertility. It can even be deadly. Despite being internationally recognized as a human rights violation, some million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM, and if current rates persist, an estimated 68 million more will be cut between and Girls at a school in Kenya, where many students are receiving support after running away from home to avoid FGM and child marriage.
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Female genital mutilation
Female genital mutilation FGM , also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision , [a] is the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. Typically carried out by a traditional circumciser using a blade, FGM is conducted from days after birth to puberty and beyond. In half of the countries for which national figures are available, most girls are cut before the age of five. They include removal of the clitoral hood and clitoral glans ; removal of the inner labia ; and removal of the inner and outer labia and closure of the vulva.
Annemarie Middelburg does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Her work as a gynaecological surgeon over the past 25 years has made her one of the leaders in this field — and also in restoring sexual function in clitorises. She is one of only a handful of surgeons who performs this surgery on women who have suffered female genital mutilation FGM or cutting. Reconstructive surgery to repair the physical damage of FGM has been around a long time. His idea was to not only reconstruct the clitoris, but also nerve networks to restore sexual sensation.