The practice is rooted in gender inequality, attempts to control women's sexuality, and ideas about purity, modesty and beauty.
It is usually initiated and carried out by women, who see it as a source of honour, and who fear that failing to have their daughters and granddaughters cut will expose the girls to social exclusion. They can include recurrent infections, difficulty urinating and passing menstrual flow, chronic pain, the development of cysts, an inability to get pregnant, complications during childbirth, and fatal bleeding.
They include removal of the clitoral hood and clitoral glans; removal of the inner labia; and removal of the inner and outer labia and closure of the vulva.
In this last procedure, known as infibulation, a small hole is left for the passage of urine and menstrual fluid; the vagina is opened for intercourse and opened further for childbirth.
The term infibulation derives from fibula, Latin for clasp—the Ancient Romans reportedly fastened clasps through the foreskins or labia of slaves to prevent sexual intercourse.
Yes, Jake will probably be more successful, but he is also likely to have had wealthier parents and grown up behind a white picket fence.
In short, name is a sign, more than a cause, of difference.
The cutter is usually an older woman, but in communities where the male barber has assumed the role of health worker he will perform FGM too.
Health professionals are often involved in Egypt, Kenya, Indonesia and Sudan.