Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Psychological impacts of female genital mutilation

There is need for careful exploration of the emotional and psychological impact of FGM and that the lack of this might be associated with cultural prohibition, whereby women are forbidden from discussing concerns regarding their sexuality.


Despite the lack of data related to the psychological impact of female circumcision, psychosomatic and mental health problems have been observed. These include mood and thought disturbances, sleeplessness, recurring nightmares, loss of appetite and panic attacks. Further researches shows emotional trauma, depression, anxiety, psychosis, fear of sexual relations, chronic irritability, hallucinations and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)


Some women reported that symptoms of PTSD became apparent immediately following the procedure whilst others experienced psychological symptoms at various stages throughout their life.

Lockhat conducted qualitative interviews and focus groups with women who had undergone FGM. She found that less than one tenth of women were experiencing “current PTSD” that is ongoing symptoms at a clinical level, and over a quarter were suffering from “lifetime PTSD” (clinical levels of PTSD experienced at some point during their lifetime). Predictors of psychological trauma were reported to be women’s appraisal of their experience (negative appraisals were associated with trauma) and how they felt they had coped with the experience of circumcision (e.g. what coping strategies they had employed).


It has been suggested that not being circumcised in certain communities can have a greater psychological impact than the trauma caused by circumcision itself, often as a result of the stigma and potential to be ostracised.

Female genital Mutilation has massive psychological impacts on the victims and the sad part is these women might never have professional help.

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