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Female circumcision

In female circumcision, a girl’s clitoris and sometimes the labia are cut away. This is illegal in the Netherlands. Do you think you are in danger of being circumcised? Find help quickly.

What is it?

Female circumcision is a tradition in various African countries. Girls are usually circumcised before their first menstruation. Female circumcision is also called female genital mutilation (FGM). It is illegal in the Netherlands because of the great damage it causes, and it is carried out less and less in African countries.

What happens?

The glans of the clitoris is removed, either partially or completely. Sometimes the labia are removed as well. In the most severe form, clitoris and labia are cut away, and the vaginal opening closed. Then only a very small hole remains, through which urine and menstrual blood can flow.

Damage

A circumcision can cause extreme pain, blood loss and infections. A girl can even die. In the longer term, women may suffer from psychological problems, such as trauma. Physical problems are urinary tract infections, problems with peeing and problems during pregnancy and delivery. When the glans of the clitoris is removed, it's often difficult to enjoy sex, or having sex is painful.

Help

Do you think you are in danger of being circumcised? Or do you think a girlfriend is at risk of this? Find help for you or your friend. A care worker will listen to you, and together you will think up a plan of what you can do to prevent circumcision.
You can go for help to:

  • The GGD's adolescent health care doctor or nurse. Ask your mentor at school or college who this is.
  • A Sense clinic
  • Your school or college mentor