Author(s): Hilary Burrage
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the partial or complete removal of the external female genitals for cultural rather than medical or religious reasons. It is performed in some African, South American, Asian and Middle Eastern countries. The term 'female mutilation' is a Western concept and may be insulting to a person who considers that circumcision is in the best interests of their female child. Practitioners believe the procedure enhances a girl's health, hygiene, chastity, fertility and marriage prospects. This book takes an indepth look at the controversial cultural practice, which is also carried out illegally in the Western world where ethnic minorities live. It analyses the different types of FGM practised an provides an overview of the different cultures and religious persuasions that deem this to be acceptable and even prefereable for their daughters. Alarmingly, in many cases the procedure is performed by medically untrained practitioners using unsterilised equipment. The complications and health risks associated with the procedure are also discussed.There are many personal stories from women affected and the profound effect that FGM has had on their lives is recounted. Professional medical, political, and anti FGM campaigners' opinions are all included.
Since January 2014 Hilary Burrage has been working in support of TheGuardian newspaper's campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation. The campaign asks how FGM can be stopped across the globe within a generation, and what we can all do to make this happen. Previously a college senior lecturer, Hilary now works as a consultant, researcher, writer and speaker.