Two members, from the United Kingdom and Australia, shared information on ongoing trials concerning the identification of possible FGM type IV in a girl child.
Isma Benboulerbah, Project Officer at the European Network END FGM, shared her knowledge of procedures aimed at modifying women's genitalia and controlling their sexuality in the MENA region, focusing mainly on Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.
Aesthetic or cosmetic genital surgeries and procedures include a wide variety of practices performed for aesthetic or sexual reasons, including labioplasty (inner labia surgery), labia majora enlargement or reduction, genital whitening, G spot injections, hymenoplasty (hymen reconstruction), laser vaginal rejuvenation, clitoral hood reduction, etc.
The "labia minora" (inner lips) are the thin lips or folds of skin on either side of the vulva. Their size varies greatly from woman to woman, so there is no "normal" labial length. Nevertheless, cultural differences exist in terms of aesthetic and sexual preferences for small or long lips.
Type IV FGM includes a range of procedures performed on the female genitalia that do not fall under the first three types (partial or total removal of the clitoral gland, excision of the labia minora or labia majora, and infibulation). The definition of type IV has been modified in the new typology, published in 2007. It is now less detailed than the previous one (1995). Practices such as the introduction of corrosive substances and herbs into the vagina, and stretching of the labia have been removed.
An exploratory study by Senegalese sociologist Fatou Kebe is currently examining a practice of cutting women's vaginal openings, justified by the "removal of warts" (Southieute in Wolof). According to Kebe, this practice is common in the Wolof community in Senegal but is also practiced by the Soces in Dakar.
Hymenotomies are incisions made to the hymen. In some communities, they are performed on girls for non-medical reasons. The practice should not be confused with hymenotomies performed surgically as treatment for women or girls with an unperforated hymen causing abdominal pain.
Piercing can be defined as "an opening in any part of the body through which jewellery can be worn". Among the most common forms of female genital piercing is the clitoral cap, of which there are different types. The clitoral gland or lips can also be pierced. In some cases, the labia minora or labia majora may be pierced one or more times, to be crossed by one or more rings to form a "chastity ring" (Kelly & Foster, 2012).
The piercing the clitoris or surrounding tissue, pricking, is a procedure in which the skin is pricked with a sharp object. Blood may flow but no tissue is removed and no stitching is done. Pricking is practiced in different communities around the world, either as a traditional form of FGM or as a substitute for more extensive excision. The practice is classified by the WHO as Type IV FGM. (WHO, 2008)