Exploring Female Genital Cutting Among Survivors of Torture


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.

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Correspondence to Adeyinka M. Akinsulure-Smith.

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

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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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Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Chu, T. Exploring Female Genital Cutting Among Survivors of Torture. J Immigrant Minority Health 19, 769–773 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-016-0419-x

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