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Why is FGM performed

Why is FGM performed?

FGM is performed in many countries as an important part of their culture and tradition. People practice it because it is something that their mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers had practiced for centuries. Often both men and women support the practice of FGM.
Many reasons are given for the practice and often more than one reason is given. These are some of the reasons given:

Gender reasons:

  • To protect a girl’s virginity – to prove she has not had sex before marriage.
  • To decrease a woman’s sexual desire.
  • To enhance men’s sexual pleasure.
  • To control women’s sexuality, and prevent sex outside of the marriage.

Social reasons:

  • To keep the cultural identity of a community.
  • To follow a religious requirement (although there is no evidence to suggest that FGM is required by any religion).
  • To signal that a girl has now become a woman.
  • To prepare a girl for marriage. Once FGM has been performed a girl is seen as ready for marriage. There is a link between FGM and child marriage.
  • To increase a girl’s beauty.

Economic reasons:

  • It is believed that FGM ensures a girl’s virginity, making sure she has not had sex with anyone before marriage. This may make men more willing to marry her and pay more money for her (her bridal price, which is money paid to her parents).
  • Circumcisers also get paid for each circumcision performed and so this provides them with a good income (source of money).
  • The FGM celebration also provides gifts and money to a girl and her family.
  • In some communities traditional leaders and chiefs are paid to give permission for girls to be cut.