Female Genital Mutilation (often referred to as FGM) describes a range of procedures during which the female genitals are partly or entirely removed or injured with the goals of inhibiting a woman’s sexual feelings. FGM is practiced predominantly in the northern half of Africa and parts of the Middle East. As a result of immigration, the practice has also spread to Europe, Australia and the United States. Some tradition-minded families have their daughters undergo FGM whilst on vacation in their home countries.
Amnesty International estimates that over 130 million women worldwide have been affected by some form of FGM, with over 3 million girls at risk of undergoing FGM every year. Among practising cultures, FGM is most commonly performed between the ages of four and eight. The procedure is often performed by people who have had no medical training, without anaesthetic sterilisation, or the use of proper medical instruments. It can lead to death through shock from excessive bleeding or to severe infections. Other serious long term health effects are also common. The first episode of sexual intercourse will often be extremely painful for infibulated women (the most extreme form of FGM), who will need the labia majora to be opened, to allow their partner access to the vagina. This second cut, sometimes performed by the partner with a knife, can cause other complications to arise.
Waris Dirie is a Somalia woman, a human rights activist, a supermodel, and a best-selling author who has received numerous prestigious awards for her work and her commitment in the fight against female genital mutilation
The Waris Dirie Foundation seeks to end FGM by raising public awareness, creating networks, organizing events and educational programmes. The foundation also supports victims of FGM.
‘Vaudeville of the Vulva’ aims to celebrate and raise awareness about the and the beauty and naturalness of feminine sexuality. I am supporting The Waris Dirie Foundation with a portion of the proceeds in the hope that their work will aid the recognition of FGM as an act of cruelty against women and to put an end to the suffering.
For more information please see The Waris Dirie Foundation website.