FGM ( Female Genital Mutilation) is the ritual of cutting or removing some or all of the female genitalia. It’s normally practiced in the major part of Central Africa, to girls from 0 to 49 years old. Over 200 million of women have already suffered through this, but it does not stop here. This is just the beginning, every single day more than 8 thousands girls are undergoing through FGM.
It happened to me, too. My family decided to take me and my older sister to Africa (we are originally from Conakry, but born in Spain). Our parents, since the beginning before we went on that trip, had planned all. They knew what was going to happen.
A lot of ladies are scared of talking about this, but I am not; I am not scared of saying that they f***** up my life, they did this to me without my permission. Female genital mutilation, this is what they did to us. I was just a year old and my sister was 4. I actually don’t remember the moment when it all happened. When I was older, and my mum told me that they did this to us, her argument was: “you are girls, you’ve to get this done, it’s a ritual that every African woman has to get through.”
You know that moment when you are in high school and they start teaching you about sex, and you feel out of place because you don’t have the same vagina as your friends? No?
I’ve looked once at my genitals, with a mirror, but couldn’t find them, I didn’t have them.
How could another human being do this to me? Yes, they say its a cultural and religious thing, but I think everyone has to choose the way they want to live, and be, and even more so when it is something as serious as FGM.
At the age of 18 I started getting a lot of pain whilst I was on my period, I decided to go to the doctors to see if there was any solution; they knew I had a FGM done, because when we came back from our “trip” to Africa I was very ill, of course I was; I had lost a lot of blood and I had IDA (anemia), so they wanted to help me. Nowadays there are hospitals who operate for free to all the girls who had suffered from FGM, doing reparations, so I did. I went to the doctors, and after 2 months of checking that everything was alright they operated me. I was really scared, nobody was with me, I was alone from the beginning till the end, but even though I was alone, I was strong enough to get it done, I knew it was going to change my life.
The day of the operation (I still remember the date, 7/17/16) I had a lot of feelings and thoughts in my mind, I was scared but at the same time happy. They gave me general anaesthesia, so I wouldn’t feel the pain nor see anything. When I woke up from the sleeping I was crying, but then I said to myself: “everything is ok, you did it.”
The doctor explained me what they’d done to me. I had the first type of FGM, so it was “easiest” to repair, they opened a hole to take out the hidden clitoris, and they cut my left interior lip (the right was cut by the person who originally did the FGM to me).
Have you ever felt out of place? Because I’ve felt like this for 18 years. I’ve never been able to talk about this before. This is the first time I’m speaking about it. I was so embarrassed, but I don’t feel like that anymore,I’m not ashamed of saying that I went through it, I’m proud of saying that I did the reparation and I’m fighting against it. After this experience I’ve decided I’m going to a sexologist, because I’m not able to talk about this with my parents, if they ever find out I repaired my genitals, my family would cast me aside forever. I’m 20 years old now, and I’m happy. I’m happy because I did this, and now I won’t be ashamed to have sexual relations.
A lot of women from Africa, not even the ones who were born there but also the ones who are not from there, are suffering from FGM. It’s hard to talk about it, a lot of people have been killed for speaking out. But I would really love to raise the voice and help all the girls and women who are about to suffer from it. FGM is real. Being able to have sexual pleasure is one of the most important things in our lives, sex is good for our bodies, minds and us. I want FGM to end worldwide, because women should the same rights as men, and why take our pleasure and keep theirs?
We should stick together and fight for our rights.
Written by Fatima Jeilow