Iraq: FGM Linked to Mental Disorders

Jan Ilhan Kizilhan, an expert in psychotraumatology (psychotherapy for people who have suffered trauma) at the University of Freiburg, found that rates of mental disorders were seven times higher among girls who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) than those who have not. Among a group of girls aged 8 -14 in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq that had undergone FGM, 44 percent were suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, 34 percent from depression, 46 percent from anxiety, and 37 percent from somatic disturbances (mental disorders whose symptoms are unexplainable physical illnesses). 

Studies indicate that approximately 40 percent of girls in this region of Iraq experience FGM. Last year, shortly after receiving Kizilhan’s report,  the Kurdish parliament banned the practice.

Compiled from: Iraq: New Research Highlights Link Between FGM/C and Mental DisordersIRIN: Humanitarian News and AnalysisInteragency Gender Working Group (13 January 2012).