A blood-chilling post on FGM by Musa Okwanga. His mother is a GP and she’s been looking into the issue of FGM for some time. She gathered several women from Somalia, Egypt and Sudan in her living room to talk to her and her son.
One of them spoke of the agony that the procedure still caused her three decades later. Frequently, when bent over with pain, she would receive little understanding from those in her community who did not know what she had experienced. “Sometimes they just call you lazy”, she explained.
Three decades of crippling pain caused by a mutilation that serves no useful purpose.
This, she said, is how it typically happens. When you’re six years old, girls in the year above at the local school, or madrassa, go and have the procedure done; after that, they return to school and they tell you that you’re dirty for not having gone through it. “We look up to them like they’re big girls”, she said. At that point, the young girls will go to their mothers and ask when they can have it done too. Then they go and have and it done; and, she says with a wry laugh, “then you get disabled”.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote about that in Infidel. Peer pressure. Those who hadn’t had it done were called “kintirle” and it was considered revolting, filthy, gross in every way. If the kintir didn’t get cut off it would grow and grow until it flopped around at knee level.
Sex for them is horrible – it’s painful, and nothing else.
“I have been married for 10 years and have only had sex seven times,” said another woman. “[After sex], I cry for two hours and then have paracetamol. You can use hot water, to soothe yourself [between the legs] with a shower. The first time is the worst, because the skin [which has been sewn back up] gets ripped.”
Gratuitous pain; what a great invention.
My mother recommended that several centres, or “pain clinics”, should be set up across the UK, whose staff should include a gynaecologist and urologist who each specialised in FGM. That way, she said, “we can make their lives a little bit better, and see if there is any way they can have a more enjoyable and comfortable sex life.” She said that local MPs and Mayors should be made aware of this problem; and, noting the Government’s recent announcement of £35million to address FGM in ten countries, she also proposed arranging FGM conferences in Africa, where women who had undergone this procedure could talk openly about their experiences.
What was it, I wondered, that had emboldened these women to speak out about this now, of all times? “Mostly people are [now] on our side,” said one of them. “And there are a lot of women who are now coming from Africa, who are talking about it because they don’t want it to happen to their children.”
I certainly hope so.