This is a blog for the Mental Health Policy Class at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work.

June 26, 2008

Female circumcision: A tradition steeped in blood

Children as young as five are held down and cut, sometimes with razor blades or broken glass, in a ritual driven by a range of cultural demands, including a desire to demonstrate a girl's virginity on her wedding night. The practice, which survives mainly in 28 countries in East and West Africa, has been targeted as a fundamental human rights violation in recent years by the United Nations and individual states, including the UK. The World Health Organisation estimates that up to 140 million girls and women around the world have suffered some type of genital mutilation, and around three million girls, most of them under 15, undergo the procedure every year.

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