Stories from life
The NSW Education Program on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has gathered together stories from women who have experienced FGM and others who have been affected by the practice. The stories demonstrate the lifelong impact that FGM can have on women and girls.
The stories here are original. In order to maintain the integrity of the stories we have not changed the language used by the women who have shared their experiences.
What have you done to me?
I am a wife to a man who is like all men. We have two children. After delivering my second child I asked my husband to stop have a sexual relationship with me again, because I hated this act. When I spoke to my Doctor about this, she told me it was because of my circumcision, which was done to me as a child of less than 7 years. On my mother, where are you now? Come and see what you have done to me and my life.
Take off as much as you can take off!
I always recall what my mother said to …, the midwife. “Take off as much as you can take off. It is a protection for the girl.
And in the midst of my screams I was not aware of what this meant, as this woman was cutting my flesh while I was painfully lying down.
On the day my daughter was born, I hated it and this child, only because of the fear I felt for her and for what would be done to her as was done to me.
But, I thank God, because my family and I have fled from these practices, and traditions and I have brought her here to where there is a law and there is true protection.
Why Grandma Why?
One spring day, when all the pretty flowers were all blooming in the garden, I was about 5 years old and my cousin was 7 years old.
We were playing and frolicking with a ball and a skipping rope and other children toys.
Suddenly our male cousins began to shout, “Grandma is calling you. Come quickly”.
We entered the house, where I saw my mother crying in the corner of the room and would not look at me, her daughter.
The room was wide and large. I saw an old woman in a black dress with her. Beside her was bundle of cloth and in front of her was table with coffee on it. Suddenly my grandma called out, “Come here girl”. Then I understood what she meant and I began to scream and tried to escape. But what was the use? I should, “Have mercy on me. What have I done wrong.”
My cousins were outside the room laughing and my mother was crying with no power to do anything. Since then I am unable to forget that day. It is as yesterday.
Since then I hate my grandmother and any old women carrying a bundle with her.
This is a true story told by a doctor who worked for many years in a village of one of the Arab countries.
As I was the only Dr. who worked in a village hospital I was called in by the police and told that an unlawful or untrained mid-wife has circumcised several young girls in one of the villages, which led to two deaths and that there were several cases of severe illness that demanded quick treatment and an enquire into what had happened. I left with several assisting male and female nurses for a quick visit to the village. There I found that as a result of the circumcisions carried out on the girls, which was done using very primitive, unhealthy and unhygienic blades and dirty gauges, the following had occurred.
Two girls aged 5 & 7 had died after tetanus had been detected because of the dirty blades and unclean gauges. Two more cases of early tetanus were found and the girls were quickly to the hospital and immediate treatment was given to save their lives.
Its these traditions!
How much I suffer from these futile traditions. My mother and father refused to have this tradition performed on me…
The slaughter....And I grew up a normal lighthearted girl, eager to embrace life with all love and openness.
The circle of life continued, and I got married to an educated and well mannered young man…But these futile traditions were standing there to capture me. On our wedding night my husband found out my shame, (as he said), that I was not circumcised. He continued to pressure me to get rid of my shame…and so it was done. Ho I suffer now, just to please my husband….
But where is my husband and with who has he gone…Because he said I am no good as a wife and I don’t give him pleasure…How and After all that I have done to myself for his sake.
Oh!! From these old stupid harmful traditions...They have ruined by life.