Study to understand the beliefs and experiences of women affected by FGM

In 2009, relatively little was known about the experiences of women affected by FGM living in the UK. FGM was strongly stigmatised, with many reluctant to talk openly about their experiences. Options was commissioned by Westminster Council to conduct a participatory research study in collaboration with project partners FORWARD, using PEER to understand the perceptions, beliefs and experiences of women with FGM. PEER uses third person interviewing, so that people are asked about what other people say or do about something, and this allowed women to talk about support for FGM in their community, without having to reveal their own experiences. The research mapped support for FGM within communities in the UK, women’s own arguments against it, and women’s experiences of seeking support and access to care. The study provided rich insights into how women with FGM could be better supported, and how to strengthen prevention of FGM.

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