Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 769–773 | Cite as

Exploring Female Genital Cutting Among Survivors of Torture

  • Adeyinka M. Akinsulure-SmithEmail author
  • Tracy Chu
Brief Communication


Though the practice of female genital cutting (FGC) has been framed as a form of gender-based torture, few studies have examined the prevalence and impact of the practice among documented survivors of torture. This article presents a secondary analysis of data from 514 African-born women at an interdisciplinary clinic for survivors of torture. Results indicate few demographic differences between those who experienced FGC and those who had not, though a larger proportion of the FGC group were West African and identified as Muslim. Many with FGC were in the process of applying for asylum, reported sexual and psychological torture, and cited gender as a basis for their persecution. The FGC group evidenced unique correlates related to immigration status and psychological and sexual torture experiences that the non-FGC group did not. Findings indicate that female survivors of torture with FGC represent a distinct group with specific mental health needs.


Female circumcision Female genital cutting Female genital mutilation Forced migrants Human rights Torture 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Akinsulure-Smith and Dr. Chu declares that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the NYU School of Medicine and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of TortureNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, The City College of New YorkCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.The Graduate CenterCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Brooklyn CollegeCity University of New YorkBrooklynUSA

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