For urgent questions, you can get help here:
African Women in Germany
– Maisha e.V.
069 / 90 43 49 05
FIM – Frauenrecht ist
Counseling and information center
for immigrant women and their families
069 / 9709797-0
FORWARD Germany e.V.
0177 / 7494062
For urgent questions, you can get help here:
Many girls and women who are circumcised suffer because they have inflammation or their menstrual blood cannot drain. If you experience pain, you should visit a gynecologist. Gynecologists treat girls and women and can do something about your pain. The costs for doctor visits are covered by health insurance. You can get addresses from the counseling centers.
There are midwives, gynecologists and hospitals in Germany who have experience of supporting women who have been circumcised in giving birth. Talk to them as early as possible about being circumcised so that they can give you better treatment. You can also get advice from a pro familia counseling center or another organization.
There are girls and women who do not know if they are circumcised. If they were circumcised as young children, they may have no conscious recollection of it. Furthermore, girls often find this difficult to talk about with their mothers or other relatives. If you have any questions on this, please contact a counseling center or a gynecologist.
Girls and women have the right to receive good medical care. Please contact us if you are looking for a competent doctor or if you would like to tell a trustworthy person about your experience. There are doctors in Germany who are familiar with treating circumcised girls and women correctly and well. They can also do something about your pain during menstruation or during sexual intercourse by means of minor surgical procedures. Tell the doctor that you are circumcised – this will make your examination and treatment easier.
If this is your first appointment with a gynecologist: Some girls and women are afraid that the examination could take away their virginity. That’s not true. Even if there are small injuries to the maidenhead (also called the hymen), these heal quickly. No scar tissue whatsoever will develop in the process. This is important because it means that no one, not even a gynecologist, can tell whether you have had sex or not. Even after childbirth, the maidenhead can still look the same as before.
For more information, see: What are the consequences of female circumcision?
It can help and be good for you to talk about topics like female circumcision. This is not always easy for any of us. Female circumcision is often understood as a tradition that must be respected, that is not talked about and about which no questions may be asked. Turn to someone you trust and feel comfortable with: a friend, a social worker, a teacher or a doctor. She will listen to you and support you.
Circumcision can have physical and psychological consequences for your wife or girlfriend. It may also be the case that sexual activity causes her pain. If you have any questions, you can contact counseling centers. The appointments there are free of charge.
The holidays are often an opportunity for families to return to their country of origin and visit their other relatives. If you have doubts or fears about the trip, get support from people who can help you talk to family members in Germany. Don’t hesitate to talk to trustworthy people about it, to contact a counseling center or to call the helpline at 08000 116 016.
As a mother or father, you are responsible for the protection of your children. It is important to understand what the law on female circumcision means and what will happen if you do not protect your daughter from female circumcision.
Prepare yourself well for the journey. Contact counseling centers that can provide you with helpful information and documents. Get support from people who can help you talk to family members. Look in advance for helpful contacts in your home country that can help you to protect your daughter (for example, the National Committee Against Female Genital Mutilation and local organizations/NGOs that are active against female genital mutilation). Have your daughter examined by a doctor before traveling and ask for a medical certificate stating that your daughter is not circumcised. Explain clearly to your family your decision not to have your daughter circumcised. Inform your family that female genital mutilation is punishable under German law, even if it is practiced outside Germany, and that you will be sentenced for it in Germany and lose your residence status. Give them a statement here in your native language as proof. Always stay close to your daughter. Talk to her and prepare her so that she understands what female circumcision is, that no one may do it to her and that she must come to you if she believes she is in danger.
It is important that both mother and father are actively engaged in protecting their daughters. There is support for this. In Germany, many men and women from countries such as Ethiopia, Eritrea, Guinea, Somalia and Sudan are now committed to ending female genital mutilation. They can accompany you and support conversations within the family or the community. If you are interested, contact counseling centers.