Highlighted Resources on Female Genital Cutting

Female Genital Cutting (FGC) is commonly practiced in about 28 countries predominantly in Africa and Asia.  It can be performed for a variety of reasons including 'coming of age' or rite of passage from child to adulthood; it can signal in a physical way the full membership of a girl or young woman in their clan, lineage or ethnic community; it can be used to indicate marriageability within the community. FGC is a multi-generational issue, and must be addressed across generations. Women from these countries are migrating with increasing frequency to Canada, the USA, the UK, Europe and Australia.The following Highlighted Resource List has been hand chosen by BRYCS staff to assist service providers in working with newcomers that have experienced FGC. It includes the following topical areas:

Research & Background Information (Back to Top)

  1. Exploring Female Genital Cutting among West African Immigrants. Akinsulure-Smith, Adeyinka M. 559-561 page s . June 2014. English . http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10903-012-9763-7

    This pilot study sought to examine the experiences of FGC among West African immigrant women in the U.S. 

  2. FC? FGC? FGM?: To Those Who Experience It, the Term Is Insignificant. The Suffering Is Not. Bedri, Rana 5-7 page s . April-May 2002. English . http://www.brycs.org/documents/upload/genitalmutilation.pdf

    Posits that the terms female circumcision, female genital cutting, and female genital mutilation all describe procedures routed in myth and misconception that result in continual suffering and often death and examines prevalence and the need for legal prohibitions and cultural sensitivity.

  3. Female Genital Cutting in Industrialized Countries. Nyangweso, Mary 251 page s . October 20, 2014. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    This book examines the practice of female genital mutilation including the origin of the practice, the countries of prevalence, and the current rise of the practice in industrialized countries, and proposes new intervention programs and community-based initiatives that protect the rights of children and women who live with the serious risks and long-term consequences of the practice.

  4. Female Genital Mutilation in the U.S. Factsheet. Equality Now 6 page s . 2016. Arabic English French Spanish . http://www.equalitynow.org/FGM_in_US_FAQ

    Gives information on female genital mutilation (FGM), its presence in the U.S., and the laws against it. Available in English, Spanish, French, and Arabic.

  5. Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) 184 page s . July 22, 2013. English French . http://www.unicef.org/publications/index_69875.html

     A new report from UNICEF analyses prevalence and trends in female genital mutilation/cutting in 29 countries. Drawing on data from more than 70 nationally representative surveys over a 20-year period, the report finds that the practice has declined in a number of countries.(Description from source.)

  6. Female Genital Mutilation: Proposals for Change. Dorkenoo, Efua , Elworthy, Scilla 43 page s . 1992. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    This report describes the prevalence of female genital mutilation and recommends changes to end this practice around the world. The report details the history of female genital mutilation and contemporary practices, the types of mutilation and when it occurs, motives and functions of such mutilation, the short- and long-term physical complications, and the psychological consequences.

  7. Female Mulitlation: The Truth Behind the Horrifying Global Practice of Female Genital Mutilation. Burrage, Hilary 198 page s . May 2, 2016. English . https://www.amazon.com/Female-Mutilation-Horrifying-Practice-Genital/dp/1742576079/ref=sr_1_sc_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1484320539&sr=1-1-spell&keywords=Female+Mulitlation

    The numbers of girls and women affected around the world are staggering. Death is not an uncommon outcome. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the partial or complete removal of the external female genitals for cultural rather than medical or religious reasons―its origin is unknown. This book covers this controversial cultural practice that is taking place around the world including in Western countries where it is illegal. (Description from source)

  8. Somali Refugees' Perspectives Regarding FGM/C in the US. McNeely, Shaunessy , Christie-de Jong, Floor 18 page s . September 12, 2016. English . http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/IJMHSC-09-2015-0033?af=R&

    This paper from the International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care explores perspectives of Somali refugees on female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and potential changes in these after migration. The study found that health care providers (HCPs) are not culturally prepared to help women with FGM/C. 

  9. The Intersectionality of Forced Marriage with Other Forms of Abuse in the United States. Swegman, Casey 16 page s . February 2016. English . http://www.tahirih.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/AR_ForcedMarriage.pdf

    We now know that many survivors of forced marriage have experienced harm that is overlapping with other forms of violence and yet unique enough to require additional skills and awareness from service providers and others in a position to assist. This paper looks at the connection between forced marriage, child abuse, sexual assault and rape, domestic/family violence, stalking, female genital mutilation/cutting, and human trafficking.

  10. U.S. Government Fact Sheet on Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGM/C). U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) 1 page . February 5, 2015. English . https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/criminal-hrsp/legacy/2015/02/05/01-22-15fgm-notice.pdf

    This information sheet from the Department of Justice provides an overview of FGM/C
    the United State's view of the practice. It also provides information about additional resources available to women at risk and those who have been affected by the practice.

  11. Women and Girls at Risk of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in the United States. Mather, Mark , Feldman-Jacobs, Charlotte page s . February 2016. English . http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2015/us-fgmc.aspx

    This report examines the prevalence of FGM/C in the U.S. and discusses how better methods of collecting data on this topic are needed.

Legal Considerations (Back to Top)

  1. U.S. Department of Justice's Female Genital Mutilation Brochure. U.S. Department of Justice 2 page s . February 4, 2015. Amharic Arabic English French . https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/criminal-hrsp/legacy/2015/02/05/hrsp-brochure-%28fgm%29-rev215.pdf

    This brochure from the U.S. Department of Justice is aimed at immigrant communities and aims to educate about Female Genital Mutilation and a woman's rights in the U.S regarding the practice.

  2. A State Letter on FGM/C. Carey. Robert page s . July 24, 2015. English . http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr/resource/state-letter-15-08

    This State Letter provides resources and updated information about the law related to Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C), also known as female circumcision.

  3. Commentary: Female Circumcision-Female Genital Mutilation in the United States: Legislation and Its Implications for Health Providers. Key, Frances L. 179-180 page s . Fall 1997. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    This resource summarizes federal and state legislation restricting or prohibiting female circumcision-female genital mutilation (FC-FGM) and the implications for health care providers. Whether criminalizing FC-FGM will prevent the practices depends on how the laws are interpreted by the courts and other authorities. The laws also may have unintended consequences for those they aim to protect, such as incarceration of a parent or deportation of an entire family, or even driving the practices underground in some ethnic communities. In addition, circumcised women may avoid seeking health care, for fear of prosecution, and health care providers likewise may avoid treating these women.

  4. Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective. Burrage, Hilary 360 page s . October 2015. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    This handbook details the present situation with regard to female genital mutilation (FGM) in Britain, referring also to other Western nations where FGM occurs. It scrutinizes current pathways to eradicating this dangerous, sometimes lethal, form of child abuse and gender-related violence. The cultural and belief systems giving rise to FGM are complex. Further, FGM is an intensely intimate matter often imposed on young and vulnerable children. Approaches to its eradication therefore demand considerable human insight and a competent grasp of inter-/cross-agency working.  (Description from Source)

  5. Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: United States Government's Response. Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools 3 page s . October 06, 2014. English . http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/oshs/female-genital-mutilation-factsheet.html

    This article gives an overview of female genital cutting (FGC) in the U.S. and globally. It also discusses the different policies, laws, and programs that exist to help end the practice.

  6. Long-term Evaluation of the Tostan Programme in Senegal: Kolda, Thies and Fatick Regions. Yoder, Paul Stanley , Ndiaye, Salif , Diop, Nafissatou 91 page s . September 2008. English . http://www.unicef.org/protection/fgmc_tostan_eng.pdf

    The main objective of the evaluation was to assess the impact of the Tostan program on the prevalence rate of female genital cutting among girls, their age at first marriage, and improvements to the health status of mothers and children. In its qualitative component, the evaluation aimed to examine Tostan's establishment process in the villages, to understand how villages organized their participation in the public declarations, and to learn women's opinions about the impact of the program. (Description from Source)

Resources for Service Providers (Back to Top)

  1. Assisting Girls at Risk of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: What Child Abuse Professionals Need to Know. O'Connor, Kathleen , Green, Andrea , Eyega, Zeinab page s . August 2016. English . https://www.nttac.org/index.cfm?event=trainingCenter.traininginfo&EventID=1793&from=upcoming

     The multidisciplinary panel will address the emerging FGM/C problem in the United States. Performing FGM/C on girls under the age of 18 is illegal under federal law and under the laws of 25 states. It is also illegal to transport a girl from the United States to another country to undergo FGM/C. The increase in the number of immigrants and refugees from countries that practice FGM/C brings this issue to the forefront for professionals who provide services to these populations. During this webinar, presenters will focus on areas of concern for professionals who deal with children and families at risk. (Description from source.)

  2. Clinical Practice Guidelines- Female Genital Cutting. Perron, Liette , Senikas, Vyta , Burnett, Margaret 18 page s . November 2013. English . https://sogc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/gui299CPG1311E.pdf

    This guide from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada provides health care professionals with information to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the practice and directions with regard to the legal issues related to the practice. Additionally, it covers clinical guidelines for the management of obstetric and gynaecological care and guidance on the provision of culturally competent care to adolescents and women with FGC.


  3. Engaging Schools on Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage: A Guide for Education Professionals. CREATE Youth-Net 23 page s . March 2015. English . http://forwarduk.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Educational-Professionals-Resource-English.pdf

    This guide is intended to be used by school staff and education professionals to engage on the issues of FGM and forced marriage. It provides basic information about both FGM and forced marriage; gives an overview about the importance of schools engaging on the issues and provides guidance on how to respond to and deal with disclosures. (Description from source)

  4. Female Genital Circumcision: Medical and Cultural Considerations. Little, Cindy M 7 page s . 2003 Spring. English . http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0MJU/is_1_10/ai_102025141

    The purpose of this paper is to address the incidence of FC and FGM, the historical background, the procedure, the medical complications and cultural considerations. Legal and ethical issues of FGM are also discussed.

  5. Female Genital Mutilation and Obstetric Care. Beverly Chalmers , Kowser Omer-Hashi 110 page s . December 2003. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    This book provides a valuable resource for those concerned with the Obstetric, Midwifery and Nursing care of women who have previously undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Unique information on the practice of FGM is also provided from a multidisciplinary viewpoint. Embedded in a global perspective, the book integrates social, cultural, religious, psychological and sexual information with appropriate medical and obstetrical care.

  6. Female Genital Mutilation: Legal, Cultural and Medical Issues. Skaine, Rosemarie 321 page s . September 2005. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    This book discusses the definition and types of FGM and explores the common justifications for the practice, along with the incidence in Africa and other continents, global laws, legal issues, rights and religion. Ethical considerations are examined, as are progress and the role of culture. Personal interviews help to expand and enrich the discussion. (Description from Source)

  7. Stop Discrimination and Violence Against Girls: You Have the Power to Do Something. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) 17 page s . 2006. . http://www.wunrn.com/news/2007/03_07/03_26_07/040107_voices.htm

    Presents the findings of the Commission on the Status of Women to the United Nations, on the global status of girl children. Global issues facing girl children include son preferences; child and forced marriages; HIV and AIDS; harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation; violence or sexual exploitation related to conflict situations; and an unequal work burden. As many governments do not follow international or domestic laws that protect female children, recommendations for improvements include the alignment of international and national laws to protect girls, training local law enforcement and judiciaries to ensure policies protecting girls are enforced, and requiring governments to report to the UN on the status of girls in their countries.

  8. The Health of Refugee Children: Guidlelines for Pediatricians. Levenson, Ros , Sharma, Anna 26 page s . November 1999. English . http://www.library.nhs.uk/guidelinesfinder/ViewResource.aspx?resID=29920

    These guidelines address the management and care of refugee children and include basic immigration definitions, and information on the asylum process and legal information. Guidance include language and communication, confidentiality, immunization, puberty and the assessment of age, mental health, nutrition, and Female Genital Mutilation.

  9. Transcultural Approaches in Working with Traumatized Refugee and Asylum-Seeking Children, Youth, and Their Families. Berthold, S. M. 43 page s . 2007. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Part I of this chapter provides an overview of some of the major challenges that refugee and asylum-seeking children and their families face. Part II discusses assessment and intervention, including sections on diagnostic issues and transcultural concerns (related to mental health), recommendations to prevent involvement with child protective services, intervention approaches, and resiliency in youth and their families. Part III is comprised of case vignettes, including an unaccompanied refugee minor from the Democratic Republic of Congo who runs away from her foster home, an Albanian family experiencing role changes and mental health concerns, and an asylum-seeking family affected by female genital circumcision.

  10. Voices of the Ethiopian Community. Molaligne, Atalelegne Kebret 5 page s . January 1996. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Provides demographic and cultural background on the Ethiopian community in Seattle, Washington, focusing on its experience gaining access to health care services. This survey is intended to help health care providers offer culturally appropriate care and contains suggestions that health care professionals can follow to work more effectively with their Ethiopian patients.

  11. Voices of the Somali Community. Lewis, Toby , Basra, Ahmed , Hussein, Khadija 5 page s . January 1996. English . http://www.passporthealthplan.com/pdf/provider/services/cals/somali-voice.pdf

    Provides demographic and cultural background on the Somali community in Seattle, Washington, focusing on its experience gaining access to health care services. This survey is intended to help health care providers offer culturally appropriate care and contains suggestions that health care professionals can follow to work more effectively with their Somali patients.

  12. When Norms Collide: Local Responses to Activism against Female Gential Mutilation and Early Marriage. Cloward, Karisa 314 page s . March 2016. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    What happens when the international and local norms collide? When does transnational activism lead individuals and communities to abandon local norms and embrace international ones? Drawing on extensive fieldwork with local communities in Kenya, the author applies her theory to the practices of female genital mutilation and early marriage arguing that when faced with international normative messages, individuals can decide to change their attitudes, their behavior, and the public image they present to international and local audiences. Moreover, the impact of transnational activism on individuals substantially depends on the salience of the international and local norms to their respective proponents, as well as on community-level factors. (Description from Source)

Personal Stories (Back to Top)

  1. Do They Hear You When You Cry. Kassindja, Fauziya 529 page s . January 1999. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    This book tells the story of Fauziya Kassindja, a West African who sought asylum in the U.S. as a means to avoid female genital mutilation.

  2. Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter. Attie & Goldwater Productions, Inc. page s . 2009. Bambara English French This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Mrs. Goundo's Daughter tells the story of a Malian mother's fight for asylum in the U.S. to protect her two-year-old daughter from female genital cutting. (60 minutes)

  3. The Girl with Three Legs: A Memoir.. Miré, Soraya 400 page s . October 2011. English .

    Tells the story of Soraya Miré, a native of Somalia, and her experience with female genital mutilation and an arranged marriage.

  4. Warrior Marks: Female Genital Mutilation and the Sexual Blinding of Women. Walker, Alicia , Parmar, Pratibha 400 page s . February 1996. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Female genital mutilation is still widely practiced in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. This splices letters, journal entries, photographs, poems and interviews with victims of female circumcision, their families, women who perform clitoridectomies and activists opposed to the practice. Included is medical testimony suggesting that female genital mutilation may contribute to the spread of AIDS. (Description from Source)