01 Feb 2018

Female Genital Mutilation is also a European issue

Female genital mutilation not only happens in distant countries, but also in Europe. Experts estimate there could be up to 6,000 victims in Austria alone.

Christine Tragler
Christine Tragler Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
Female Genital Mutilation is also a European issue - NewsMavens
Poster. Wikicommons.

Why this story matters:

Europeans perceive it as an exotic practice, one that only happens far away. As a result, they feel unconcerned. 

But, through migration, the 5000-year-old religious practice is being performed increasingly often in Europe. 

The affected girls -- many of whom are in kindergarten or pre-school -- would never think of seeking help, so it is the educators who should be made aware of the issue, says the spokesperson of the Austrian Platform against Female Genital Mutilation (StopFGM) Petra Bayr.

With this information in mind, it is obvious that more funding should be allocated to creating resources -- for example, trainings for social workers or information points for victims, parents and educators.

gender, women's issues

Details from the story:

  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) refers to various interventions: the clitoris is cut, the labia is removed or the vagina is partially or completely sewn shut.
  • According to the World Health Organization, at least 200 million women and girls are victims of female genital mutilation. 
  • According to various organizations, the number of unreported victims is much higher.
  • The latest data is from 2016 and includes only 30 countries -- 27 of them in North and Central Africa, as well as Iraq, Yemen and Indonesia.
  • More than half of the 200 million victims live in only three countries: Indonesia, Egypt and Ethiopia.
  • There is no reliable data for Austria. Based on German surveys in Germany, it is thought there could be 6,000 victims in Austria.
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