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Achieng: I was eight when they came and held my legs apart in the dirt. I experienced unimaginable shock and pain and terror while these implacable women I had always loved, depended on as friends and mothers, sheared off my clitoris with a dull scissor and sew close my vagina. Nothing has ever been the same since that day. The child was irrevocably destroyed when she screamed in agony and the people she trusted tortured her innocent little body. There was nothing but pain, pain, fever and suffering, pain, agony that has never stopped, and always fear, fear of everything. Death came close and has never left. Sometimes death is a comfort.

"Now you can marry" I was told. "You must marry before you menstruate, or your family will be shamed." But I couldn't menstruate, because I was sewn closed. My uterus flooded with old blood and again I nearly died. An angry man hacked part of me open so that blood could drain. Pain. Pain.

Marriage to a man of forty when I was twelve. "It is your duty to bear me sons" he said, never bothering to look into my terrified face. He raped me, ripping me open. Then a baby came, and I thought in the sea of red birthing fire "Now I can die".

But I didn't die. I lived crippled in pain and he bred me four more times.

No one said you matter, you can say no, you deserve better, a childhood, love. No one said genitals can give pleasure. A woman, I was told, should have no pleasure! A Muslim woman does not enjoy sex, unless she is a sinner and then she should be destroyed for her crime against God.

So many, many years later I know that this is not Islam. Islam does not condemn sex or torture children. I think about trying to find a way towards reconstructive surgery so that I can have sexual love, an orgasm, but no, there is just to much fear, too much pain. How could sex that brutal loveless act possibly be good?

Roya: "You must be cut to be pure. The you will be a good girl. Every woman wants that, don't they, Roya?" I nodded my head like a puppet while I lay down in the tent, but I didn't understand anything. What does a small child know except she wants to please her parents?

The adults grabbed and pinned me. Why would they do that? I was too afraid to breath. Too afraid to cry.

I saw them lower a razor blade between my legs. Then I did scream, I cried out "NO, mother! Help me, Father! Help stop them stop them" and they cut off my clitoris my blood running into the dry grass they cut out part of my vagina they cut cut cut cut cut

Then they burned

I never left that tent. My spirit fled my body that day I was desecrated in the name of purity. I walk next to the living but am not a part of life, and my dead sisters walk with me.

One day we will awake and strike back back. May others blood flow then, guilty blood.

Frozan: It happened to me at fifteen in a backroom in London. I was drugged, kidnapped, taken to a dirty room behind a spice store where my vulva was butchered and sewn closed. I woke up screaming, thinking some maniac was pressing a hot iron to my pussy.

It wasn't a maniac. It was my family who ordered me butchered, like people kill helpless animals. Is there a special market for a choice cut of clitoris? Does it taste sweeter because it destroys a woman's dignity, joy, pleasure?

I will never forgive these blind, tradition-bound monsters for inflicting their misogynist values violently on my body, as if they had a right! A right to take away my choice, my sexuality, my beauty. What more unforgivable atrocity to commit - against your own blood? A child?

I don't care what they were brought up to believe. We are born graced with souls, free will and intelligence. Anyone with a heart would know this is evil.

I refused to let them write the story of my life. I left home and I have had reconstructive surgery. I am orgasmic, I love fucking, love living. Love feeling the sun on my hair and bare skin, the wind on my face. I hope those villains rot away of cancer under their drapes and birkas, their hates and dark clinging fears. They are not shadows on my world anymore.

Ekundayo: "Cutting is the tradition of our people. You will be blessed, honored and accepted." These words they spoke to my beloved little sister when they took her. These words battered and flew madly in my mind like a tin drum when I washed her little corpse a week later, dead of infection and blood loss. Tiny and delicate, she screamed until she had no voice, then she whimpered, then...nothing. Gone. Forever. My Bapoto.

I looked and wept at what they had done to her small pudenda. I touched her crusted wounds. How could this be? What was her crime?

Why would they assault her intimately like this, at the center of her  womanhood?

They will never cut me or my other sisters. I will fight them for my sisters. I will fight with a knife a stone an ax and I will take them away from the village if I must. Where can we go?

Link: Female Genital Mutilation

Top Phto: By باحث - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22644488 

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