466 Female Genital Cutting
Mental health problems
A girl who has had her genitals cut can become
overwhelmed with fear, worry (anxiety), or sadness. When
female genital cutting is done in front of women that a girl
knows and trusts to protect her from harm, she may feel that
she can no longer trust anyone. It is worse if the girl did not
wish to have her genitals cut.
Chronic pain and suffering can cause other lasting mental
health problems, such as deep sadness (depression), and feelings
of helplessness and worthlessness. Sexual problems can also
cause severe strain between a woman and her partner. A
woman may feel she is unable to please him because the pain
makes her afraid of sex.
What to do:
• Encourage her to talk about her feelings.
• If she seems withdrawn, distant, and unable to do daily
activities, see pages 418 and 430.
If you are not sure how you
Maybe we SHOULD
stop female genital
feel about female genital cutting,
weigh the risks to help you
decide. Are the benefits of
female genital cutting worth
the health problems? Culture
is always changing to meet new
community needs. Can this
practice also be changed?
After all the
wife and I had
with sex and
childbirth, I will
not let my 2
their genitals cut.
What you can do:
If you do not agree with this practice, there are many ways
you can help girls in your community:
• If you are a mother, help your daughters feel valued and
loved, whether they are cut or not.
• Encourage your daughters to continue with their education
and to learn enough to make their own decisions about their
lives and their futures. Every child has a right to good health
and an education.
• Share the information about the health problems caused by
female genital cutting with other women and men in your
community. Work with them for change.
• Find out what women’s organizations in your community or
region are doing.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012