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FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) & Harmful Practices :

FGM flowerFemale Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a cruel legacy of patriarchal societies and traditions stretching back over millennia. Yet still it occurs, even in Britain and the developed world: in the UK perhaps 140,000 girls are thought to be at high risk or already victims of this very serious crime and human rights abuse.

Globally the incidence of FGM is now at least 200 million women and girls, with the figure growing because of demographic trends around the increasing numbers of  young people who survive childhood.

You can read about what FGM entails and what its consequences are here.  It is a complex and life-threatening harmful traditional practice (HTP) which will require multiple approaches at many levels before it can finally be eradicated.

A substantial series of articles on aspects of FGM (written by me over several years) can be found  


These posts include papers which I have presented at conferences and events, or written for publications, as well as reports / responses for a variety of bodies and pieces which explore in some depth the many aspects of this puzzling and disturbing harmful traditional practice (HTP).



For further discussion of female genital mutilation see my textbook, which is written for activists, professionals and for the general reader. This book considers in some detail the situation globally, but also explores the issues in Western nations:  Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective (Ashgate/Routledge, 2015).

Also for the general and more specialist readers, Female Mutilation: The truth behind the horrifying global practice of female genital mutilation (New Holland Publishers, 2016), my narrative book, contains ‘stories’ (case studies) from about seventy people across five continents who have experienced FGM, either as survivors and/or as campaigners and activists against this harmful traditional practice.

Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective (Hilary Burrage, Ashgate / Routledge 2015).   Full contents and reviews   HERE.

FEMALE MUTILATION: The truth behind the horrifying global practice of female genital mutilation  (Hilary Burrage, New Holland Publishers 2016).   Full contents and reviews   HERE.

Many readers of these books will I hope have information and views to share.  I have therefore created a website for discussion of the issues considered in my book Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation, which can be accessed  here , as well as a website which also encourages discussion as well as providing further information about and contact details for the narrators in my second (‘case study’) book, Female Mutilation (see here).

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Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation

[order info for this book]
15.07.14 FGM Book1 jacket jpegThis ground-breaking handbook details the present situation with regard to female genital mutilation (FGM) in Britain, referring also to other Western nations where FGM occurs. It scrutinises current pathways to eradicating this dangerous, sometimes lethal, form of child abuse and gender-related violence.The cultural and belief systems giving rise to FGM are complex. Further, FGM is an intensely intimate matter often imposed on young and vulnerable children. Approaches to its eradication therefore demand considerable human insight and a competent grasp of inter-/cross-agency working.

It is also vital that everyone concerned – whether in caring and parental, safeguarding or other roles – understands fully that, regardless of custom or belief, FGM is a serious crime. The vulnerabilities and need for protection of victims and potential victims are paramount, but these pressing priorities do not lessen the requirement that all aspects of FGM be dealt with straightforwardly in accordance with the law.

This book makes the case urgently for developing a shared, coherent model – a multi-disciplinary paradigm articulated at the highest level – as the basis to achieve the eradication of FGM.

The text will be required reading for health, legal, educational and social services professionals, as well as researchers, policy-makers, school governors, journalists and other concerned citizens.

  • Contents: Preface; Introduction; Demography and epidemiology of FGM; Socio-economic analysis; Perceptions and beliefs over time; Men, women and power; Clinical issues; Legislation and governance; Prevention – formal approaches; Prevention – communities; Prevention – information and education; Prevention – social services and multi-agency work; UK politics and the media; Will FGM in the UK be eradicated in a decade?; Further reading; Multimedia resources; Organisations; Appendix; Index.
  • About the Author: Hilary Burrage is a freelance sociologist and community activist. She has been a senior lecturer in health and social care and a university research associate in community health as well as a non-executive director of Merseyside NHS ambulance trust and a trustee of the Liverpool school of tropical medicine.
  • Sample Reviews:  (more here).“Hilary Burrage has written the most definitive book ever on FGM. An invaluable tool to help eradicate it worldwide. A personal triumph.” The Guardian


    “.. Outraged at ineffective child protection, Burrage provides a comprehensive, scholarly yet accessible guide – among the best ever to deal with FGM – to professionals and all people of conscience.” – Tobe Levin von Gleichen, Harvard University, USA and University of Oxford, UK, and owner of UnCut/Voices Press

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Female Mutilation: The truth behind the horrifying global pratice of female genital mutilation

[order info for this book]

16.01.22 Female Mutilation book pic (3)Read the harrowing stories of women who have been genitally mutilated, their accounts of survival and their determination to end this injustice. This book covers the controversial cultural practice that is taking place around the world including in Western countries where it is illegal.

The numbers of girls and women affected around the world are staggering. Death is not an uncommon outcome. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the partial or complete removal of the external female genitals for cultural rather than medical or religious reasons its origin is unknown. Practitioners believe the procedure enhances the girl s health, hygiene, chastity, fertility and marriage prospects the truth is it obliterates sexual pleasure, causes severe health problems and is sometimes fatal.

This book covers this controversial cultural practice that is taking place around the world including in Western countries where it is illegal. Read the harrowing stories of women who have been genitally mutilated, their accounts of survival and their determination to end this injustice.

Click here to preview this book

Sample Review:  (more here)

“This book is most welcome. Each page …. rings the bell of the rebellion against female genital mutlaton.” Dr. Morissanda Kouyaté, Executve Director of the Inter-African Committee


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Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective (Hilary Burrage, Ashgate / Routledge 2015).   Full contents and reviews   HERE.

FEMALE MUTILATION: The truth behind the horrifying global practice of female genital mutilation  (Hilary Burrage, New Holland Publishers 2016).   Full contents and reviews   HERE.

I look forward to your contributions to the #EndFGM debate.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2013 22:00

    It was needed a British English Lady, a real Angel that would fight for any good cause. God bless you Hilary!

  2. Angelika permalink
    January 30, 2014 10:31

    Keep up the great work and we are here to support you! Angelika

  3. April 9, 2014 00:44

    I find FGM to be barbaric. Calling it circumcision is like calling castration a close shave. In fact, FGM is castration. And I say this as a man who, because of cancer, was basically castrated. Probably, FGM is worse because of the scarring and lifelong medical problems. Not having testicles seems minor in comparison to the pictures I’ve seen.

  4. Karima Amin permalink
    March 21, 2015 03:44

    Hello miss Hilary

    Thank you soo much for doing your part in fighting this inhumane and barbaric practice. I and many surviver thank and appreciate you.

    • March 21, 2015 08:11

      Thank you Karima. I wish I could do more; but with many others too I hope we can all together make progress quickly now to eradicate FGM forever.

  5. Gabrielle permalink
    February 16, 2016 01:52

    I agree that FGM is a serious crime! There needs to be more laws protecting women because they do not have the power or control to protect themselves from these inhumane circumstances. Here is a link to my blog about FGM

    • February 19, 2016 04:17

      Thank you Gabrielle. As you can see in my book (above, 2015), there are in fact many countries with more than adequate legislation – although in some US states specific FGM legislation (as opposed to general laws against bodily harm and assault) does still remain inadequate.
      The real problem is enforcing the law.
      If you would like to know more about who is campaigning against FGM in the USA, please contact me direct.

  6. Jeanette permalink
    October 8, 2016 02:03

    You should be clearer about this issue in Britain. Your statement sounded as if you believe that this is a British custom, when it is a Muslim custom, and one that we are likely going to be hearing about here in the U.S. very soon.

    I don’t understand the drive to protect the Muslims from barbaric customs that they have practiced for 1,400 years. Is PC more important, or is protecting your daughter from being butchered more important?

    • October 8, 2016 03:15

      Jeanette, you really should take a closer look at all the info on this website and in my two books. Then you would understand that FGM occurs in many different societies, Muslim and otherwise (including some Christians); and you might also begin to see that there are many different faiths amongst British and American people – some Britons and Americans are Muslim, for instance.
      Also, you need to understand that FGM goes back way more than 1,400 years, and was actually practised in some societies even before any major religion was established.
      All decent people agree it is immaterial what the family faith of a child is; every child is entitled to her (or his) human right not to be harmed by FGM or any other from of abuse.
      I hope you will read my books and that they will help you to see that the half a million women and girls who have experienced FGM in the USA come from many different traditions, and that all of them deserve our respect and support, just as the approximately 140 thousand affected women and girls in the UK (and the half million in continental Europe) do.
      The critical thing now is to stop FGM, wherever it occurs, and regardless of faith and tradition. This is a pressing human rights issue of fundamental importance.

  7. June 28, 2017 10:49

    Thank you for the books, I also feel that we should come up with home strategies to help us end of FGM/C

    • June 28, 2017 11:12

      Yes! You’ll find there are substantial chunks in my first book about the general legal (including Kenya) and medical, educational etc issues, and many accounts direct from activists in Africa (also including several in Kenya) in the second one. I hope these will help readers elsewhere to nurture ‘home strategies’ – every place is different – but, as Dr Kouyate says in his preface, nonetheless some challenges and issues are universal, and don’t need to be reinvented every time someone looks at the issues. People must choose for themselves which these issues might be.

      I deliberately didn’t try to ‘tell’ people in other parts of the world how I think they might stop FGM: that would be presumptious in the extreme. We in the UK still have a very long way to go ourselves before we achieve domestic success, so the lessons – some of them general and some not – from that are what I wanted to spell out in Eradicating FGM.

      I’d be delighted to publish a piece from you on my blog, if you would like to focus on strategies in Kenya, where I know of course that already considerable progress is being made. We need to share all the info we can.

      PS Don’t forget too that you are welcome to add thoughts etc as comment under the appropriate headings on the books’ websites: and – my hope is to encourage ‘the conversation’.

  8. Rhoda Gacheri Maina permalink
    August 17, 2017 13:25

    Dear Hilary.

    My name is Rhoda. I came across your books on the subject of FGM whilst studying for my post graduate in Social Anthropology in Development as a mature student. The analysis and and approach from a social scientist and activist was a very welcome shift from the more anthropological (non-activist) position.

    I am just concluding my dissertation exploring the benefits of an evolved participatory research methodology (PEER) to overcome limitations/failings of existing sexual and gender based violence intervention programmes. I would be honoured to be able to share this with you –
    I hope it might be of interest.



    • August 18, 2017 12:59

      Thank you Rhoda, so glad the book has been useful! Please drop me an email via my Contact details above, I’d love to know more about your work.
      Best wishes,

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