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Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(4), 71;

In Their Own Words: The Health and Sexuality of Immigrant Women with Infibulation Living in Switzerland

Department of Social Sciences, University of Fribourg, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
Department of Ambulatory Care and Community Medicine, Vulnerable Populations Center, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Rebecca R. Scott
Received: 5 August 2016 / Revised: 12 September 2016 / Accepted: 12 October 2016 / Published: 2 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender, Environment, and Development)
Full-Text   |   PDF [218 KB, uploaded 2 November 2016]


Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a significant public health problem. It is estimated that around 14,700 women affected by FGM live in Switzerland, primarily among women with a history of migration. Our qualitative research investigated the sexual health of immigrant women living with FGM in Switzerland, describing their own perception of health, reproductive life and sexuality. We conducted semi-structured, in-depth interviews with a group of eight immigrant women of sub-Saharan origin living in Switzerland with Type III FGM (infibulation). Seven of the women were from Somalia and one was from the Ivory Coast. All of the Somali women were mothers and married (two separated), and the Ivorian woman was a single mother. The women in our study reported a low level of sexual satisfaction and reproductive health. They affirmed their desire to improve, or at least change, their condition. Although they rarely talk with their husbands about sexual subject matter, they would like to include them more and improve dialogue. Specific socio-sexual management is recommended when caring for immigrant women living with FGM in order to respond to their specific health care needs. Multidisciplinary approaches may be able to offer more comprehensive health care, including facilitated communication to improve dialogue between women and health care professionals, and eventually between women and their husbands in discussing sexual subject matter. View Full-Text
Keywords: migration; female genital mutilation; sexual health; reproductive health; communication migration; female genital mutilation; sexual health; reproductive health; communication
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Villani, M.; Griffin, J.L.; Bodenmann, P. In Their Own Words: The Health and Sexuality of Immigrant Women with Infibulation Living in Switzerland. Soc. Sci. 2016, 5, 71.

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