Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It's also known as cutting or sunna.

Religious, social or cultural reasons are sometimes given for FGM. However, FGM is not a religious practice, it can not be found in any of the religious books. FGM is a cultural practise. FGM is child abuse.

There are no medical reasons to carry out FGM. It doesn't enhance fertility and it doesn't make childbirth safer. It is used to control female sexuality and can cause severe and long-lasting damage to physical and emotional health.

The Procedure

Female genital mutilation is usually carried out on girls between the age of 0 and 15 years, however, it can be carried out at any age and varies according to the traditions in the area. 

The cutting is performed according to the level of FGM required by that culture, and healing is attempted by rubbing the wound with remedies such as herbs and salt. The legs are tightly bound together for days or weeks to ensure that the wound heals closed. 



Clitoridectomy: partial or total removal of the clitoris (a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals) and, in very rare cases, only the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris).
This practice is extremely painful and distressing, damages sexually sensitive skin and is an infection risk. 


Excision: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (the labia are the ‘lips’ that surround the vagina). 

This practice is extremely painful and distressing, damages sexually sensitive skin and is an infection risk. 


Infibulation: narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and sewing over the outer, labia, with or without removal of the clitoris or inner labia. 

 The closing over of the vagina and the urethra leaves women with a very small opening in which to pass urine and menstrual fluid. The opening can be so small that it needs to be cut open to be able to have sexual intercourse. 


Other: all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping, stretching and cauterising the genital area.


Call the NSPCC FGM helpline if you're worried a child is at risk of, or has had, FGM. It's free, anonymous and they are here 24/7. 0800 028 3550

or email fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk 

If you would like to have more information on female genital mutilation. visit the website below or email us.

Click here to accesses the NHS information on FGM

You can contact Hidden Scars by using the form below:

Name *

Email *



Thanks! Message sent.

Success! Message received.