DORCAS is a UK based non-profit organisation that has been created to promote and protect the human rights of girls and women who are at risk of abuse; in particular those who are at risk of or have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM). We aim to raise awareness about FGM and work in collaboration with partnership agencies to help people who are affected by this practice and ultimately help bring an end to this abhorrent crime.
What is female genital mutilation?
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It's also known as female circumcision or cutting. FGM is often performed by someone with no medical training who uses instruments such as a knife, scalpel, scissors, glass or razor blade. Children are rarely given anesthesia or antiseptic treatment and are often forcibly restrained.
Types of FGM
Type 1 (clitoridectomy) – removing part or all of the clitoris.
Type 2 (excision) – removing part or all of the clitoris and cutting the inner and/or outer labia.
Type 3 (infibulation) – narrowing the vaginal opening.
Type 4 – other harmful procedures to the female genitals including pricking, piercing, cutting, scraping or burning.
Labia elongation (also referred to as labia stretching or labia pulling) involves stretching the labia minora, sometimes using sticks, harnesses or weights.
FGM is abuse. It has no health benefits whatsoever and can have terrible and lasting physical, psychological, and emotional consequences.
The NHS warns that infections and excessive bleeding are common consequences of the procedures, both of which can be deadly.
Death can occur as a direct result of being cut. These deaths can be caused by a range of complications, including haemorrhage, contracting septicaemia, tetanus, or HIV, due to unsterilised tools. A girl will also experience shock, fear, pain and trauma.
After undergoing FGM, a girl can experience difficulty in passing urine and difficulties with menstruation, because her urethra and/or vaginal opening may have been blocked through FGM. This can lead to chronic urinary infections and chronic pelvic inflammation. They may also suffer from cysts, abscesses and ulcers after being cut.
With FGM, sex can be painful and traumatic. Women and girls who have undergone FGM Type 3 will often have to be re-cut to have sex or may experience forced penetration. It is not only the first time that is painful. For many women, scar tissue will continue to cause pain during sex throughout their lifetimes, whilst their partners may also experience pain and trauma during sex.
After a girl/young woman is cut, there can be an increased risk of infertility, which within some communities may cause her to be abandoned by her husband.
FGM has a direct impact on maternal and infant mortality. Women who have undergone FGM Type 3 are 70% more likely to suffer haemorrhage through giving birth. They are twice as likely to die in childbirth and have a higher likelihood of stillbirth due to obstructed labour. Women who have undergone FGM Type 3 are also more likely to experience other complications including obstetric fistula, foetal asphyxia, and perineal tears.
Report & Statistics
NHS reported that there were 1,550 individual women and girls who had an attendance where FGM was identified in the period between January 2021 and March 2021. These accounted for 2,530 attendances reported at NHS trusts and GP practices where FGM was identified.
It is estimated that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM worldwide, with the majority of children cut before age 5.
It is estimated that approximately 60,000 girls aged 0-14 were born in England and Wales to mothers who had undergone FGM.
Parliament passed the Domestic Abuse Bill 2021 but did not make provisions to cover or provide support for FGM victims and yet funding has been cut to support services!
The money raised will help us to provide a holistic support to those who have been affected by FGM:
- Emotional and practical support
- Health advice
- Private surgery reconstruction
- Delivery of creative arts awareness programme in schools and colleges
- Raising awareness in communities, professionals and faith groups
- Re-educate communities who practice FGM about the real-life dangers
Together we can help survivors of FGM and educate communities to end this hidden crime. Thank you for your support!
To learn more about FGM please visit https://dorcasuk.com/