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Female genital mutilation FGM is referred to as the removal of part or all of the female genitalia The most severe form is infibulation otherwise known as pharaonic circumcision It is estimated that 15 of all FGMs performed in Africa are infibulations The procedure consists of clitoridectomy all or part of the clitoris is removed excision removing all or part of the labia minora and cutting of the labia majora to make raw surfaces which are stitched together to form a cover over the vagina as they heal A small hole is left to allow urine and menstrual blood to get out The majority 85 of genital mutilations performed in Africa involve a clitoridectomy or excisionThe type of mutilation practiced the age at which it is done and the way in which it is done differs according to a variety of factors including the woman or girls ethnic group what country they are living in and their socio-economic statusFemale genital mutilation is performed at a variety of ages ranging from immediately after birth to some time during the first pregnancy but most likely it will be done between the ages of four and eight According to the World Health Organization the average age ids declining This tells us that the practice is no longer associated with the initiation into adulthoodSome girls go through FGM alone but mutilation is often experienced as a group of sisters other close female relatives or neighbors When genital mutilation is performed as part of an initiation ceremony as it is in societies in eastern central and western Africa it is likely to be done on all of the girls in the community who belong to a certain age group The procedure is done in the girls home or the home of a relative or neighbor in a health center or if done as an initiation at a specially designated spot such as a tree or river Performing the procedure is
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