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Somali refugees’ perspectives regarding FGM/C in the US

McNeely, Shaunessy and Christie-de Jong, Floor (2016) Somali refugees’ perspectives regarding FGM/C in the US. International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, 12 (3). pp. 157-169. ISSN 1747-9894

Item Type: Article


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore perspectives of Somali refugees on female genital
mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and potential changes in these after migration.
Design/methodology/approach – Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted in Denver,
Colorado, USA, with 13 Somali refugees. Thematic content analysis was used to analyze the data.
Findings – Change of perspectives regarding the support of FGM/C were noted among all participants, with
most opposing infibulations, FGM/C type III, after migration but supporting Sunna, the cutting of the clitoris,
FGM/C type I. Changes were prompted by education on FGM/C and resettling resulting in an awareness that
infibulation is not a religious requirement nor undergone by all women. Cultural beliefs regarding the
importance of virginity, purity and honor to the family underpinning the rationale of FGM/C were prevalent and
some confusion in dealing with these cultural values was found. Women reported health care providers
(HCPs) not being culturally prepared for women with FGM/C.
Research limitations/implications – Despite limitations to the study, findings indicate the
complex process of migration and acculturation, leaving communities with cultural values in a context
where these are not accepted. More research and discussion with the Somali immigrant community is
required to better understand the practice of FGM/C after immigration, and how to deal with these
cultural values.
Originality/value – Findings suggest some girls may still be at risk of some types of FGM/C after migration.
Public health professionals, social and immigration workers should be aware of a potential risk. HCPs should
prepare for caring for women with FGM/C.
Keywords Qualitative, Somalia, Perspective,

McNeelyChristie submission Int Journal of Migration Health and Social Care copy.pdf - Accepted Version

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Uncontrolled Keywords: Qualitative, Somalia, Perspective, Refugee, Female genital mutilation, Migrant health, FGM/C
Depositing User: Floor Christie


Item ID: 10659
Identification Number:
ISSN: 1747-9894
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Floor Christie-de Jong: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 08 May 2019 10:51
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2021 11:45


Author: Floor Christie-de Jong ORCID iD
Author: Shaunessy McNeely

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing


Sciences > Health Sciences

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