Female circumcision is a taboo subject. The immediate reaction to its mention is to evoke revulsion. It’s bad, it’s vile, it’s abusive, it’s barbaric, it’s an oppression of women. In fact it’s so bad, one could run out of adjectives to describe its evil and still not be able to exaggerate it.

It’s hard to imagine what else could arouse such wildly erroneous passion. However, this passion is not only misplaced and hysteric, it serves to shut debate and forces one to ignore facts. Female circumcision is one of the only subjects where information is glossed over and poor scientific studies are deemed acceptable. It is the only subject we know of where a variety of practices are deliberately conflated to make them look the same insofar as the harm they are alleged to do, and the vast variety of practices is wrongly defined by a single label – “mutilation”.

Difficult as it may be, we hope that information on this website will help to show that the subject is not a monolith and its discussion ought not to be a taboo; that there are nuances to the subject that need to be understood. Not just for the sake of intellectual understanding, but because to view the subject with a such a strong emotive and hysterical attitude actually does harm. It causes injustices and potentially criminalises innocents. There is therefore a real and practical imperative to appreciate the distinctions and differences of the practices that are described by the horrid umbrella term – FGM.

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