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FEMALE CIRCUMSION.  (Also known as female genital mutilation – FGM) is carried out on girls in 40 countries worldwide to suppress sexuality and ensure virginity before marriage.  There are several types of FGM, ranging from removal of the clitoris to removal of the entire external genitalia (known as infibulation).  FGM is an ancient practice affecting millions of women in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.  Girls between the ages of 7 and 14 are subjected to FGM to discourage promiscuity and guarantee virginity.  IN some countries over 90% of girls are ‘circumcised’ for cultural reasons.   The increase in migration and refugee movements from FGM and practising countries has brought an increase in the number of the woman and girls appearing in the health systems in Australia, the USA and Europe.   Traditionally, FGM was carried out in primitive, unhygienic circumstances.   In case of infibulation, in some communities the husband had to cut his wife open to allow for penetration on the wedding night.  Increasingly, FGM is happening in hospitals under anaesthetic and midwives are employed to open up the circumcision after marriage.  Although this is medically safer, effects on women involved include post-traumatic stress; infections; painful walking; extremely painful urination, menstruation and intercourses increased risk death in childbirth; and stillborn babies.  The estimated number of girls being subjected to FGM at 6,000 worldwide.  

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