What we do

28 Too Many is a UK based anti-female genital mutilation (FGM) charity working to end FGM across Africa and the diaspora communities through:

  • Research
  • Building community networks
  • International advocacy

Our aim is to provide knowledge, tools, best practice models and support networks which help anti-FGM campaigners and organisations working with communities bring about a sustainable change to end FGM.

What is FGM?
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a traditional cultural practice involving the cutting or removal of the external female genitals. It is also sometimes known as female circumcision or female genital cutting (FGC). FGM is traditionally practised by non-medically trained women. It results in pain, emotional and health problems.
The four main types of FGM are:

  • Type I or Clitoridectomy – Clitoris or clitoral hood is cut off.
  • Type II or Intermediate – Clitoris and inner lips are removed.
  • Type III or Infibulation – Clitoris, inner and outer lips are removed and the remaining skin is stitched or sealed leaving a small opening.
  • Type IV or other harmful procedures – including piercing, pricking, stretching, scraping, burning, cutting and introducing corrosives/herbs.

FGM causes life-long physical and emotional harm and the health problems caused include:

  • Severe loss of blood, pain or shock
  • Difficulties in urinating or menstruating
  • Bladder infections
  • Increased risk of HIV Aids
  • Mental health problems – extreme depression, anxiety and trauma.
  • Problems with sexuality and during sex
  • Complications, and sometimes death, in pregnancy and childbirth including obstructed labour due to reduced opening, or incontinence due to fistula (tears in bladder or rectum).

 

Why and where does it happen?
FGM is an ancient traditional practice which has been taking place for over 2,000 years and whilst it is not known exactly where and why it first happened it is thought to originate from Sudan/Egypt. It is often mistakenly thought that FGM is performed for religious reasons but it pre-dates the major faiths and is not required by any religion. The reasons why FGM continues today are complex and reflect both the history and current circumstances of the communities in which it takes place. Reasons given for FGM include:

  • family expectations and to maintain family honour
  • tradition and/or religious values
  • preservation of virginity and chastity
  • preparation of girls for womanhood and to enable them to have a good marriage.

Globally over 140 million girls/women have undergone FGM and approximately 3 million are cut annually. Most FGM takes place in 28 African countries (link to country profile page) and it also takes place in some communities in the Middle East and Asia. As a result of immigration and refugee movements FGM can be found in many other countries including most European countries, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
For more information about FGM please visit our FGM Resources section.

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The Ashworth Group