Infibulation and female circumcision: a study of a little-known custom.
The practice of infibulation, or female circumcision, was carried out in many parts of the ancient world. Today, infibulation and other female mutilations are still practiced in various parts of the world. There are 3 different types of infibulation, involving removal or mutilation of different parts of the female genitalia. Every Sudanese girl is circumcised when she has passed her 6th birthday. The procedure, which is attended and performed solely by females, is described in detail. Complications may arise. The purpose of the practice is usually to preserve virginity until marriage. However, a whole network of other reasons has grown up and interwoven itself in tribal custom. Similar practices involving the female genitalia in other areas are compared to Sudanese infibulation. A table presents ages at which the procedure is carried out in different countries. Reasons cited for the practice in these countries are also listed.