IndexAfricaThe Gambia


Among all ever sexually active single men, 33% reported that they were aged 14 or younger at first sexual intercourse, and among all ever sexually active women, 20% did so (Kane et al., 1993)[1]. The majority of operations encountered in a 2001 report[2]consisted of clitoridectomy and excision of the labia minora (WHO classification type II) and were performed between the ages of 4 and 7 years. That is,


“The mean reported age at circumcision was 6.1 years with the median being 6 years. About 79% of circumcised women reported having been circumcised between 4 and 7 years of age, 7% were circumcised earlier and 15% later. The maximum age at circumcision was 16”.








Additional references:


§         Sexual Mutilations. Case studies presented at the workshop: African women speak on female circumcision, Khartoum (October 21-25, 1984), Babiker Badri - Scientific Association for Women Studies, p53-4 []

§         Hernlund, Y. (2000) Cutting Without Ritual and Ritual Without Cutting: Female ‘Circumcision’ and the Ritualisation of Initiation in Gambia, in Shell-Duncan, B. & Hernlund, Y. (Eds.) Female ‘Circumcision’ in Africa: Culture, Controversy, and Change. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers









Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Sept 2004


[1] Kane, Th. T., De Buysscher, R., Taylor-Thomas, T., Smith, T. & Jeng, M. (1993) Sexual Activity, Family Life Education, and Contraceptive Practice Among Young Adults in Banjul, The Gambia, Stud Fam Plann 24,1:50-61

[2]Morison, Linda; Caroline Scherf, Gloria Ekpo, Katie Paine, Beryl West, Rosalind Coleman, Gijs Walraven (2001) The long-term reproductive health consequences of female genital cutting in rural Gambia: a community-based survey, Tropical Medicine & International Health 6,8:643-53