I am always late for class, preps, dining, and almost every activity you can associate with the boarding house. I don’t go late because I enjoy being late. I am afraid my friends will call me names when they discover I have no CLITORIS! Where did mine go? In my community, a lady is not a lady until she has gone through the process of circumcision otherwise know as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). This removes the clitoris of the vagina or the clitoris and the vagina wall. While some go through it at birth, others grow and willingly agree to be circumcised despite the pain and dangers that come with it.
It is our custom, it is beautiful and we cherish it. That defines who we are. We do this without any bad intentions. Any girl who undergoes a successful circumcision is a brave, humble and obedient girl who will attract a hardworking man (the dream of every young girl). In fact, if you are not circumcised, we don’t regard us as much as we do to those who are circumcised. You have no place in our society, we may not even respect you. You need to undergo the circumcision to be accepted in our community, you need it to be one of us.
But now some people from somewhere, non-governmental organisations and government have asked us to stop this beautiful cultural practice! How will our girls stay chaste? How are we going to make sure they stay faithful to their husbands when they marry? What work will those who engage in circumcision of females do earn a living?
In as much as we want to preserve our cultural practices and customs, let’s think about how our world is changing. Let’s think about how these girls are going to be able to mingle with the rest of the world. Some may be bold enough to go around their everyday duties and mingle with people not minding that people will know they are circumcised. But there are many more who cannot face the world. There are yet many more whosedreams die at their circumcision.
The pain may be unbearable but the stigma is even more! Some of the tools used for the act, ouch! They may not be well sterilised and that alone is something else! In many communities where female circumcision is dominant, the people see themselves as one and being one means that the same tool can be used for all the girls who are undergoing circumcision at the same time.
Many young girls and women have so many untold stories they live with, stories that are real and heartbreaking, stories that will make you say no to female genital mutilation! Stories that will make you twice next time you want to circumcised your daughter. Sadly, these stories are just kept to themselves because you and I cannot tolerate and accept them anymore if they share their experiences with us. There are many secrets under the underwear which will never be uncovered.
There have been a lot of campaigns to fight Female Genital Mutilation,so why is it still prevalent? What can you and I do to help the girl that has already been circumcised? What can you and I do to help the poor innocent girl that is yet to be circumcised? This is the little I can do, to create your awareness. Remember little drops of water makes a mighty ocean. Slowly, we shall surely win the fight. It may be long, but let’s bear in mind that Rome was not built in a day.