According to the World Health Organization (WHO) female genital mutilation refers to all interventions in which a part or all of the external female sex organs are removed.

Mutilation refers to an intervention that is not medically appropriate and which causes irreparabel damage to the body. Genital mutilation involves major and extremely violent harm to the body of a child (rarely a grown woman) and leaves behind very serious damage.

Depending on the country, region or ethnic affiliation, various practices are used:

  • In the case of most girls, the clitoris is cut off (clitoridectomy). In biological terms that is equivalent of the complete removal of a man’s penis.
  • Many victims have also suffered excision of the labia minora, and in some cases the labia majora.
  • In around 15% of all cases, the clitoris and inner and outer labia are excised and the vaginal opening closed except for a very small opening (infibulation).