False myths and misconceptions about female genital mutilation

False myths and misconception about female genital mutilation

Unending pain of FGM
photo credit: BulletinXp

Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been subjected to a considerable argument as it is deeply rooted in religious, cultural and historical tradition. It is defined by the World Health Organization as a procedure that involves the total or partial removal of female external genitalia for religious, cultural or any other reasons.

FGM includes all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated. This is a global problem however, which affects girls and women worldwide.


FGM has no health benefits, and it harms girls and women in many ways. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. Despite this, a number of myths and misconceptions about FGM persist, which support the perpetuation of this harmful practice.


One such myth that families and individuals often wrongly believe, is that FGM would be safer if carried out by a health care provider. Some health care providers are also under the misconception that by carrying out FGM they are preventing harm to girls or women. This could not be further from the truth. There is no medical justification for FGM, and medical practitioners carrying out FGM on girls and women are causing only harm.


In Nigeria it is believed is a way to control the sexuality of women which is closely related with marriageability of girls that is the reason mothers prefer to subject their girl children to the practice to protect them from being beaten, disgraced, ostracized or shunned.


Evidence shows that FGM performed anywhere, by anyone or for any reason causes harm. Beyond the immediate risks, FGM can cause life-long trauma and pain for survivors – including urinary and vaginal problems, scar tissue and keloid, sexual problems (including pain during sex), increased risk of childbirth complications, and psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and low self-esteem.



Ogbu, O. A. C. (2018). Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria; A Brief Sociological Review. World Journal of Preventive Medicine6(1), 1-5.

World Health Organisation (2018). Zero tolerance FGM. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/fgm/zero-tolerance-fgm/en/

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