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Female genital mutilation (FGM) refers to the alteration or injury of a woman’s genitalia for non-medical reasons. While the practice is mainly concentrated in a few countries in Africa and the Middle East, it remains a global women’s health issue. In some communities, FGM is often seen as a rite of passage for girls.

Over the past 25 years, female genital mutilation has decreased, thanks to coordinated awareness and prevention efforts. Nevertheless, progress is threatened by the multiplication of crises. Epidemics, pandemics, including the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, armed conflict, among others.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 68 million girls will face FGM by 2030. Nonetheless, the pandemic has increased the areas of vulnerability. For example, confinements, school closures and disruptions to public services for the protection of women expose an additional 2 million women and girls to female genital mutilation.

Some local government initiatives

On the occasion of this international day, the municipalities of Seine-Saint-Denis are renewing their commitment to combat this violence against women.

In Montreuil, a film-debate against excision is organised at the Cinéma Les Méliès.

Dr Sarah Abramowicz, head of the unit for the treatment of excised women at the André Grégoire hospital, with the support of the city of Montreuil, is organising an evening debate on this issue, starting at 6.30pm on Tuesday 7 February.

Beyond these initiatives, Seine-Saint-Denis is a territory committed to the psycho-medical support and reconstruction of victims. Thus, the Maison des Femmes has a care centre dedicated to female genital mutilation. A specialised team is involved in the care, prevention and fight against female genital and sexual mutilation. It takes care of victims of genital mutilation, such as excision, as part of a coordinated care programme that combines education, psycho-corporal support and surgical reconstruction, when necessary.

For more information on the Female Genital Mutilation Unit: go here.

« Often, women who have been excised carry a sense of shame and guilt, sometimes exacerbated by the clumsy or humiliating actions and words of a spouse. This is why I encourage them to participate in the dedicated discussion group, so that they can share their pain, find resources and solidarity. »
Ghada Hatem Head doctor of the Women's House & Head of the Female Genital Mutilation Unit
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