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Female Genital Mutilation, Marriage And Delivery Personal Accounts!

Female Genital Mutilation, is what I believe, one of the most barbaric and disgusting acts to ever be committed against a woman’s free will. It is the most pervasive type of physical and psychological gender based violence (GBV). It is an evil muscle flexing enforcement of men’s sexual authority, and a border line that draws the limit to where a woman’s social mobility ends.

This plague however, is eliminable with unanimous decision, transformative approaches, strong advocacy and patience.

In my article” A Future without Female Genital Mutilation”, published on 2009, on Pulse Wire/ World Pulse platform, I recalled my personal story with that ordeal. This time I will try to shed light on difficulties facing married circumcised woman.

Sharing the pain!

Despite the passage of twelve years, the scene still remains vivid in my memory. From the moment the horrendous experience has begun, and until the last day of your life, it will never cease to torment you. I will never forget the faint sound of the scissor cutting my flesh four times, the stitching four times or relative hideous pain in urination or retention, the accompanying complications and the nightmares of vicious cycle of cutting-stitching-cutting and legacy of hereditary pain.

I remember very well the day when I was rushed to a large public hospital in one of the Gulf countries. I was in intense transition labor, where my cervix was 10C dilated, and my baby was stuck for half an hour in the delivery canal. If not for FGM/C, I could have delivered my daughter at home or while I was on my way to hospital, but I needed help to be deinfibulated and allow the baby go out. It was performed without anesthesia, and was done with the help of a nurse. My suffocating baby was rushed to a nearby vacuum extraction. I was panicked and my body started violently shaking. My blood pressure was high, and I was trapped too in post-maternity complication.

A catheter was inserted into my cavity to help urinate. All that time the Placenta was still left inside me. From between my clicking teeth I murmured “on my dead body shall my daughter be excised”.

Painful stitching and more

Stitching was phase two in the series of cutting –stitching-cutting. Oh, I forgot to mention episiotomy which a surgical incision is made three times to enlarge the vaginal opening to help deliver a baby. This is an eternal journey of suffering and complications.

Lying down on that white labor table, I wept silently when I heard another laboring Sudanese pleading to her doctor to help reopen her and take “that thing” out, referring to her baby. I was ashamed and embarrassed to have my mutilation seen by a male doctor, and prayed that it never happens. But it did. The scene is still imprinted in my mind. It was 3.30 P.M. on a cold Thursday in February 2001. A male doctor, a female nurse and I were in the emergency suite. The three of us were foreigners; each one of us from a different nationality; Asian, Arab, and I, Sudanese. The placenta was pulled away from me and thrown in the garbage without being calculated. A piece was left inside me and stayed there for five days poisoning my blood and threatening my existence. I recovered after having my Uterus corrugated and given strong antibiotics for a week or so. But that is another story.

Let us go back to the stitching. Having seen a long needle with a curved head in his hand, my heart beat pummeled with rapid great force, my breaths matched the rapidness of my heart’s pounding and my face became soaked in sweat and tears. I was a prey to anxiety and stress and felt like shaking inside all over. Trauma memories of childhood experience came back to me. Another image of Hajja Zeinab, the midwife who cut me as I described in my article given above replaced the doctor.

I was afraid that my body might fail me and resist numbing as habitual, so I volunteered to tell the doctor that I was Anesthetic resistant. But there was no response from him. He was cool. He asked the nurse to handle him a needle. When she approached him, she had a look on my open wound. Her eyes popped wide open and lower jaw dropped in an aghast manner which she didn’t even bother hiding. I could see it from behind her muzzle. I felt a deep rage, accompanied by anger, shame, grief, low-self-esteem, depression, pain, and disgrace, but didn’t utter a word.

The horrified look on the nurse’s face when she saw my open wound, had communicated an interrogative message to me: “WHY?”; a question that I repeated helplessly for decades.

A sudden crucifying injection with suturing thread moving inside one of the lips of my fresh wound brought me violently back to reality. The pain was beyond ability. I screamed at the top of my lungs, and, with sobbing and trembling faint voice, begged him to give me more anesthetic. But he wasn’t listening; instead he advised me not to repeat the same practice to my daughter who was lying helplessly not far from me.

“I wish I had given a choice later rather than to be forced into this operation when I was too young to accept or reject or resist”, I muttered, but that statement fell on deaf ears as he was hurrying to finish the unpleasant job.

“Stop it, stop it!”, I cried at the top of voice, blinded by anger and pain, sprang up, like a mad woman and in a hasty angry move, took of the Carniola, the matching band and threw it on the floor and stood up determining to leave the hospital.

“Please sit down! It is dangerous to move this way. Let me finish stitching this wound and transfer you to a delivery ward where you can feed your baby”, adding “Don’t you know that you have just had a fast delivery and that your blood pressure was high?” said the doctor.

A cold chill went down my backbone. He yielded, and gave me two more injections. With frowning eye brows and tightly closed lips, he had finished the job quickly as if he was dealing with a dusty bag of maize and handled the needle from over his shoulder to the nurse, inserted his middle finger in my anus to check for the safety of the muscles around it and left. For 45 days the suture remained in my wound before it was completely dissolved and absorbed by my body. Please don’t ask about the anesthetic surgery.

In the ward, I abstained, for six hours, from eating or drinking fluids out of fear not to pass urine and stool as habitually, though I was starving. That created temporary breastfeeding problems. As a result, I failed to suckle my daughter till I successfully urinated. This was the third time I encountered such a problem. The first time was tougher because I had contracted malaria and my cracked nipples were bleeding too. For the fortnight, I didn’t remember breastfeeding my baby because I was hung between life and death. Suckling, in such case, was more painful than third stage of labor. Baby formulas were a scare in the area where I was living, so a relative volunteered share her milk with her newborn baby till I recovered thus saving her life.

More stories of suffering

When giving birth to a child is a miracle that every woman is waiting to have that it makes labor seem like a tiny issue; we, circumcised women, suffered for good. I shared a hospital room with an Egyptian young mother who gave birth the same day I did and was victim of FGM/C too. She asked me whether I had Sudanese cutting; I replied that I had “Pharaonic” type. We laughed. Both were victims of the worst type. Infibulation or Type III is known as "Pharaonic circumcision" in Sudan, and as "Sudanese circumcision” in Egypt.
..
Hard labor had left its traces on my daughter. For a week she was suffering from temporary hearing problem. When she was only six days old, she knew her way to doctors and medications before her naming day ceremonies.

The image of some relatives’ sufferings still vivid in my mind: Salwa who had fistula following a hard late labor, Rugaya whose newborn had a brain damage that kept him crippled for life, three relatives who lost their lives during labor, two relatives were divorced because of their reduced sexuality, etc. “How can I live with a cold woman whose vagina is like a leaked irrigation pipe?” said a man who divorced one of my relatives when asked about reasons for separation. FGM/C was responsible for threading their tragedies.

Talking about medical and obstetrical complications that migrant mutilated women and girls face is another issue. A friend of mine who lived in one of the Extreme North countries, recalled to me that she wanted to have her pregnancy checked by her doctor who decides to make a vaginal examination. He could do that only with a help of a child’s size instrument because her FGM has affected her vaginal growth. Another story of an expat woman’s psych. “It was very funny. A young nurse came in with a tray, carrying a razor, soap and a bowl of water. She was going to shave me. She pulled down the covers and asked me to pull up my hospital gown. When she looked at the place she was going to shave, she screamed and dropped the tray. The whole bed was full of water, and they had to change the sheets and blankets and give me a fresh gown. The nurse was so upset. She kept apologizing.” (curo.org).

The cutting is always traumatic. Its immediate complications include excruciating pain, shock, urine retention, ulceration of the genitals and injury to adjacent tissue. Other complications include septicemia, (blood poisoning), infertility and obstructed labor, Hemorrhaging and infections that can cause death, According to Google books.

Why this brutality?

“Because men want so”, that is women’s eternal answer.
I approach it as a male-female silent conspiracy of domination and submission; resulting from lack of personal development. I remember that after circumcision and daily difficulties of passing urine that I bore for 22 years, I asked one of my relatives “why they did so to us?”, she said mockingly:” what is the use of marriage if men don’t sweat in January when they approach their brides in the first night of honey moon?” Adding that a “Tahoura” (The Arabic naming of FGM) should be performed to Muslim women so that be beautiful, clean, smooth and even like the palm of my hand, and demonstrating so by stretching her right palm in front of my very eyes.

In Sudan the language plays a part in making the excision desirable. It is called Tahoura or Tihara, which means purification and beautification and thus it has strongly been linked to religion. Also, displacement and migration to the urban centers and temporary loss of cultural identities has helped in introducing this notion to communities that are clueless on the topic such as migrants from South Kurdufan and Darfurian women. But until this very day, communities continue to accept this practice as essential for raising girls and an aspect for males’ strength; a womanhood marker while men’s eternal silence, except for few, had encouraged the perpetuity of this brutality. But it seems that some of them have been on strike for the “race in the winter”, so they decided to open up their own way, either with local practitioners or with traditional unsterilized means.

In her book entitled: “Women, Why Do You Weep?” Asma El Dareer does an excellent job by depicting the tools used, the manner in which they are used, and the consequences that are involved with this dangerous practice. The use of razors and acid in tormenting women are very striking to me. Razors come first, causing most times fistula to the bride, who may rushed to the nearest clinic or hospital or live handicapped forever. Thus, granting rural newly married men a mean to force their way to masculinity and through the bride’s agonizing cries he sends message of assurance of his masculinity to his assembled clan outside the “battle room” or the bedroom.

Scary Statistics

A belt of agony and injustice stretching extends“…from Senegal in West Africa to Ethiopia on the east coast, as well as from Egypt in the north to Tanzania in the south, where practitioners are busy sewing the two sides of the vulva together with catgut, a mixture of sugar and eggs, herbs, honey and crude un-sterilized instruments and tools or held with thorns, a tincture of iodine, match stick shoved in place to ensure an opening the size of a pinhole.”

In the Arabian Peninsula, types I and II FGM exist. They have religious linkage and referred to as “Sunna” (Sunna means prophet Muhammed sayings and actions). According to Wikipedia, the practice is found in southern Jordan, and among (Kurdistanis) in northern Iraq. In the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, this tradition is practiced only by foreign workers from East Africa and the Nile Valley.

But the rising tide of migration has spread this tradition to Europe, Australia, and the United States. Luckily, Western governments become more aware of FGM. “Legislation has come into effect in many countries to make the practice a criminal offense. In 2006, Khalid Adem became the first man in the United States to be prosecuted for circumcising his daughter.” (Wikipedia).

Around 150 million women worldwide face the danger of this practice, of which three millions are executed yearly in Africa; every second a girl child is mutilated.

Sudan Setback

Sudan was the first African country in Africa to legalize against this practice since 1946. By 1970 a large number of government bodies, intergovernmental non-governmental organizations and societies as well as activists were working hard to raise public awareness and eliminate that tradition. Nine years later, Khartoum hosted the ever first international conference organized by the WHO, the same year when the phrase” FGM” was coined. Regrettably in 2009 Sudan legalized the practice, thus bringing the issue to square one.

Prior to this odd decision, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Endowment in collaboration with the Female Student Centre in Omdurman Islamic University, organized a workshop in Khartoum, Sudan. The conference was predominantly attended by government officials and supporters of the Islamic Government in Sudan. The workshop was entitled: Towards the legalization of Female Circumcision & Establishment of Training Centers for Operators (exercisers). That catastrophic workshop made the following recommendations:

Legalization of female circumcision (FC)
Raise awareness about the importance of FC in the society
Support the efforts of the Female Student Center of Omdurman, Islamic University to establish centers all over the country for training practitioners.

Something I feel is worth mentioning is that recent statistics has shown that maternal mortality rate (MMR) in Sudan is over 550 per 100,000 of normal child births, with one of the main causes of this high MMR being Female Genital Mutilation and its complications. According to a UNICEF 2009 report, 89% of women in Sudan are circumcised, only 11% are survivors of this brutality.

A quick look at the birth rates gives a good indication of the dimension of the problem worldwide. The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) estimates the current trend of fertility rate (TFR) is at 4.5 (2008). As the case practitioners, excluding excision, will have more than four times helped a laboring woman and have been tiptoed accordingly per each household. Midwifery this way takes parasitic aspects because it becomes an income generating method and the practitioner’s sole source of living. As the case, “Every 10 seconds, somewhere in the world, a little girl is a victim of genital mutilation. (ipu.org).

Moreover, most women ignore the anatomy of their bodies and believe that clitoris, labia majora and minora, should be trimmed or removed for various reasons, for example to prevent breeding of the material causing the infection and bad smell. Victims of infibulation or type III believe that they are having type one because it is called Sunna. They don’t know the difference between the mild and the worst types. I benefited of this contradiction to get the right answer when I was working as data collector in the 1990 Democratic Health Survey carried out by Macro Institute and Sudan Statistics Bureau. I used to ask them to describe to me whether they pee vertically or with a mild difference to horizontal (with a degree of similarity to males), trying to visualize the image to their imagination. They admitted vertically and added to it “according to religious rituals”. This answer was repeated all over Northern regions of Sudan, except the south (Now the Republic of South Sudan).

Excised women are deprived of the organs of sexual pleasure, subjected to gruesome pain in urination, menstruation and intercourse, difficult labor, pain, shock, ulceration of the genitals and injury to adjacent tissue, septicemia, (blood poisoning), infertility and obstructed labor, Hemorrhaging, reduced sexuality and fatal infection and total matrimonial rejection. All these and leading into a lifetime series of multiple medical complications and sufferings. It is a heritage institutionalizing womanhood, followed by submission, subjection, suppression and a bending to the authority or control of another from birth to death. In Khartoum, Teaching Hospital there is a famous ward of abandoned wives whom their husbands and relatives rejected them because they had fistula and the smell bodies’ smell was insupportable.

Slow elimination

I have mostly noticed that the FGM/C is an issue of poverty and uneven development flavored by religion and, outdated academic aloofness. The developing world is the cradle of this practice. Africa tops the list of continents where FGM is reported to be practiced with varying applications of types and different prevalence rates. Countries practicing it are: Benin; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Somaliland, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda,” (Edna Adnan University Hospital and Wikipedia).

Linking this practice to Islam has made it a sensitive issue to be approached. But as a Muslim woman concerned with this issue, I assure that there is no mention of male or female cutting in Quran. Instead Quran has described man statue as perfect as in Al Teen verse: “(3) Surely We created man of the best stature (4) Then we reduced him to the lowest of the low”, but most those circumcision stricken are Muslims. For the males, this habit is borrowed from the Jewish religion, while FGM/C is a cultural practice that dated back to pre-Islam, Christianity and Judaism. But in Muslim societies, this tradition, had been strengthened by a “hadith” (Prophet Muhammed’s sayings and practices), but were later judged to be fake by Muslim scholars. The initiator or teller of this fake hadith was an FGM/C practitioner.

Some states, especially Muslim one are not carrying out their responsibilities towards their people’s safety. Let us consider the attitude of three Muslim countries where this cutting perpetuates; Sudan, Egypt and Indonesia. In Each one of these states FGM/C contravenes the following: Article 2 of the UN Declaration of human rights, Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 21 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Article 1 of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women. Sudan has already violated these treaties and legalized the practice, Egypt banned the female excision only on 2008 where this tradition dated back to Before Christ, and it is still practiced in the shadows. Indonesia banned this tradition six years ago, but it is still practiced as a religious duty. In reality, it is just an income generating method for poor parents who accept to have their daughter mutilated.

In her article, entitled “A day I Saw 248 Girls Suffering Genital Mutilation” Abigail Haworth described, a new tragedy in the making in Indonesia, where staff trained in male circumcision follow the same way with females, parents are tiptoed to accept. Linking the subject to religion has made advocating difficult and religious frauds succeeded to apply their outdated notions. “Yet far from scaling down, the problem of FGM in Indonesia has escalated sharply and even old women want to join. The mass ceremonies in Bandung have grown bigger and more popular every year. This year, the gathering took place in February. Hundreds of girls were cut. The Assalaam foundation's website described it as "a celebration.” where parents are bribed to allow the flow of the tide. “It is necessary to control women's sexual urges," says Hakim, a stern, bespectacled man in a fez. "They must be chaste to preserve their beauty."
The case of Indonesia could be applicable to states Muslim communities exist.

Conclusion

As Maria Robinson said “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” To have a strong start, four axes should be implemented: legislative, cultural, developmental and media hub.
We can start solving this problem by:
Encouraging countries where this habit is dominant to expedite the enactment of banning laws which take into account the privacy of their respective communities as well as coming in line with the United Nations conventions concerned with human rights. It would be better if the United Nations establish a mechanism to follow implementation of conventions protecting children rights against gender based violence (GBV).
Introducing gender based violence in curriculums to raise the students’ awareness of dangers surrounding them.

Making use of theatre, drama, moiling campaigns targeting/present in rural areas where this practice flourishes. Briefly, working to engaging local influential leaders in this dilemma has to be a must.

Also, the international community must establish a balance between upholding religious beliefs and promoting human rights, with a concentration on promoting people’s understanding of FGM that contravenes the teachings of religions, which all call for the prohibition of human rights violations. Violence is anchored in every community or culture; the best way for eliminating is to uproot it.

The media, whether conventional or electronic, should be used in a more constructive way, that is, by concentrating on in depth analysis and investigative researches and reports. This is no longer a taboo issue, so educating women on the anatomy of their bodies must be a priority. It must be the priority of websites and women magazines to raise their awareness on the anatomy of their bodies instead of concentrating mainly on fashion and beauty. Networking all segments of society, and encouraging women victims of this practice to speak out and highlight devastating aspects of the operation on their lives and economic cost. Men should be encouraged to come hand in hand with women to lead campaigns to eradicate this tradition because it is money and time consuming act that will affect their families and communities in the long run. The World Pulse has a rich, innovative experience in leading transformation worldwide.

Adopting transformational development and methodologies to upgrade communities and change their mentality set, as well as guaranteeing practitioners stable resources of living and prepare them to engage the change process, should be top priorities.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Ending Violence Against Women Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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olutosin's picture

HHHMMMMNNN

You are writing our story; my story......My sister!!!

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Thanx!

Dear Olutosin,

Thank you so much for passing, reading and sharing the legacy of pain and injustice .
Greetings to those who suffer silently for generations!

Nakinti's picture

Ooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Why?
Why? why?
why? why? why?
Oh my God!
I can't stand the pain and humiliation that you have passed through my sister.
Be that strong woman that you've always been, and trust me, this devilish practice will come to an end.
Halima dear, thanks for picking courage to share your story, and the story of millions of women out there.
I AM PROUD OF YOU.
I am sending you endless love from Cameroon.
Love, love, love.

Nakinti B. Nofuru
2013 VOF Correspondent
Reporter for Global Press Institute
Bamenda - Cameroon
Email: nakinti@globalpressinstitute.org
nakintin@yahoo.com

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Dear Nakinti, Thank you so

Dear Nakinti,

Thank you so much for passing, reading and commenting and encouragement. I know the subject is very heavy. When writing I always find a great difficulty to finish the assignment, but I keep encouraging myself to finish and let the world know how women suffer silently!

Love,

Halima

Celine's picture

Sister Halima, I share in

Sister Halima,

I share in your pains and agony. Pains of injustice to our bodies and trauma to our senses. More than a decade, the agony is still very fresh. We advocate for laws in our various countries that will totally eliminate this wicked practice on women. I think victory in this fight will gradually erase the pains from our hearts.

I am glad that you started on the good path-- never to have your daughter pass through this agonizing experience.

In solidarity,
Celine

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Lifetime pain!

Dear sister Celine,

Thank you for sharing the pain with me. It is no longer an individual or personal pain, it is women's worldwide pain. You are talking about the last experience which i have described in this article or "a decade agony" , that is the most recent one. But the pain, the real pain will always be there for good. A senseless woman is almost a dead woman. So because we are dying every day, we are doing our best to spare others the same fate.

Love,

Halima

weaverheart's picture

Thank you...

Dear Halima,

Thank you very much for offering us this courageous piece that must have been so hard to write. And that you are enduring every day, the effects of this practice, I am so sorry. You are very brave. I wish I could take away your pain.
Our hope is to bring awareness of the consequences of such practices to body mind and soul. And the piece that you have written shown to us as a window into your journey and your suffering will help many, bring awareness to the plight of so many women in the same situation and hopefully prevent this from happening to others. Bless you and may you walk with your head held high. You are a true warrior.
With love,

Laura

Laura R.

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Long journey to freedom!

Dear weaverheart,

Your comment has brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for this solidarity. Bringing awareness of this practice is the reason behind blogging and keeping people posted on this sensitive and taboo issue in most societies where it is practiced. The journey to ending this barbaric tradition is long, but we have laid down the foundation stone to societies empty of this atrocity. By blogging, I At least quarantee that I am the last victim in my family. NO MORE FGM's VICTIMS!
NO MORE SLAVERY!

Love,

Halima

It's something that triggers in my mind when i saw a razor blade even to date .An innocent young Somali of 5 years were slaughter by ruthless circumciser's.bleeding for 3 days without proper medical care just to please my future suitor in his sexual desire without considering the pain i will go through..........

Any way ,we learn from mistakes ,.................i trace every verse of the holy Quran to see if this practice is allowed ,none is indicated in the Quran and it's strongly discourage to practice the vice but this incline in their believes and traditions.

now i'm FGM advocate in world biggest refugee camp where 95% are somalis and practice FGM in a large scale but we have success story regarding the decrease of the practice after targeting the circumciser's in respect of islamic teachings against the practice as well as counselling .

Every One, Every Day ,Every Way, Prevent Vi0lenCE AgainST W0men On YouR Way!

Dear Fardosa,

I understand your feelings. That experience is unforgettable, because it is repeated in woman's life with each delivery. So let's put our hands together with those lovely women who support us on this huge platform and keep he international community posted on the disadvantages of this cruelty.

Love,

Halima

Hummingbird's picture

Why

Dear Halima, I am so sorry for your suffering, I cannot imagine what you went through all these years. You are phenomenal to pass all this and come out to talk and write bout, this is one of the ways to fight this grotesque practice, raising the issue and standing against it.

I know this issue is spread in Egypt, maybe because I admire the work of Dr. Nawal Al Sadawi who always stood against it, but I never thought that it was so grave in Sudan. I have a number of Sudanese friends and they never mentioned that subject. I also know that some Kurds in north Iraq perform this ugly procedure, but I never hear that this is done between my people in Syria.

Isn't it shocking how one day many of the countries in our region were on the way for more freedoms and rights, and suddenly they all crashed backward at once? All the bestial actions are made under the claim of "religion"! I hope someday people would realize that religion is a spiritual matter and has nothing to do with politics, health or economy.

With respect and support dear and brave woman.

A drop of rain can revive the earth, be the drop.

Hummingbird

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Why, why?

Dear Hummingbird,

Why?
It is because of tradition and faked religious support. Because of uneven and underdevelopment, illiteracy, displacement, war and conflict, imitation, faked beautification and purification, absence of law, awareness, assimilation, superstition, losing cultural identity, victims' brainwashed, etc. Multiple factors played in favor of the prevalence of this tradition.

Currently this issue in Sudan is worse than in Egypt because of the government's support. In 2009 the Sudanese government had legalized what is called mild type or type one (Sunna) and brought all previous efforts to uproot it to square one.

Thank you so much for passing, reading and sharing this rich comment. As you put it: "a drop of rain can revive the earth'.

Love,

Halima

nilima's picture

:)

Thank you for writing this, thank you for taking one step ahead to stop FGM by presenting this issue here!

BRAVO!!!

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Thanx!

You are most welcome dear Nilima. Thank you for reading, commenting and encouraging me to take a step forward to finish this humiliating practice.

With love,

Halima

nusrat1977's picture

Hard to believe...

Sister Halima,
I do not know what to say. First time that I came to know about FGM is when I read a novel which was about an Arabic princess. I was shocked. Later I read some news that the story was a mere fiction without any reality. But I am so shocked to read your story that it is still existing and the statistics that you have presented is truly shocking. Moreover, it is ridiculous to find that they made it legal. My God! They have clearly forgotten God. By taking the name of religion, they are doing this barbaric act. I am so sad that you and many of our sisters, all those little girls are undergoing excruciating pain. May God change the hearts of those cruel people. May God help all of us to stand up against it to erase this heinous act.
Take care
Love
Nusrat

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. ..........Hellen Keller

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Thanx

Dear nusrat,

Thank you so much for passing, reading and sharing this rich comment! I know it is rather hard for those whose communities are exempted of such barbaric practices. But for us it is an issue of daily suffering; your relatives, neighbors, or women in your community. This habit should stop now and practitioners, parents, communities and governments encouraging this tradition should be severely punished.

Regards,

Halima

Gbemi Abeow's picture

We Can, Together!!

Oh dear!!! This is a very painful story. One would think that with growing enlightenment around the world, some of these practices will have been eradicated. Alas! some countries, peoples still hold on to these practices using tradition, culture and religion as a cover. I am deeply sorry dear Halima that you went through this very bitter, painful and sad experience. Yet I admire you for sharing, for letting us know that genital mutilation is real, it is closer to us than we will like to believe. And yes, like you I believe that we can together start today and make a new ending by putting a stop to this despicable violence against women.

Your Truly,

Gbemisola Abiola

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Let's put our hands together!

Dear Gbemisola Abiola

This is very encouraging! As you say, yes s we can! Nothing impossible; bad traditions can be abolished, culture can be reconsidered for the benefits of the people. Culture is not a gene, not inherited. It is a composition of phenomenon most of them are superficially made legal. We should dig the reasons behind and abroot them. I am against any culture that deprives women and girls of the right to a decent life spared of any harm. I am against any culture that robs tiny children the right to choose the shape of their bodies or determine their relations with them. So let's put our hands together and join our efforts to eliminate this brutality!.

Regards,

Halima

workworkwork's picture

Dear Nakinti, As you so

Dear Nakinti,

As you so deftly report, cutting is a frightful and repulsive act rooted in ignorance. In order to wipe out this epidemic those that practice it, as well as those that submit to it, must be, amount other things, educated as to the myriad complications-psychological, physical, and emotional, that arise from this practice. For that to happen there must first be a groundswell of supporters who publicly denounce this abominable practice. A swell of voices so loud that their message would be impossible not hear.

After reading your report, which opened my eyes to just how widespread this barbaric practice has become, I hope you will allow me to add my voice to your own, as well as the multitude of women who are speaking out.

My heart aches for you have been through. I know I can never fully grasp just how painful this experience was--is for you, but I want you to know you have my support.

Excellent reporting. Please keep posting.

Deborah

Dear Deborah,

When logged in today and read your comment, I couldn't help cry Your comment has easily stirred me and brought tears to my eyes. For the sake of silent sufferers and victims in spite of them of this practice, add your voice to mine and let's put our hands together to eliminate all types of Gender based violence.

Regards,

Halima

sallysmithr's picture

WOW!!

Thank you so much for sharing. I have learned so much from you that I was not aware of. Reading your story was very difficult, however it is extremely eye opening and what you are doing with such a tragic experience is a miracle. I support everything you are working towardds regarding FGM and if there is anything that I can do from here I would love to help!!!

You are a very strong woman! Keep fighting.

Sally

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Thank you so much!

Dear sallysmithr,

Thank you so much for passing, reading and supporting all my efforts to abolish this degrading practice. I am so happy to find people around me who are ready to help. You made my day!

With appreciation,

Halima

Rashmila Prajapati's picture

Hi Halima

Dear Halima, FGM is the most inhuman act to girls I came to know so far. I was shocked going through your article, I can just imagine the pain you lived with.
I've read about chest ironing in some countries, in this age also girls have to go through such brutality, why the whole world can not unite to eliminate these inhumanity?
You are really a brave woman Halima to write all these, salute to you and hope together we can eliminate these barbaric act soon.
With regards and love
Rashmila

Kathmandu, Nepal

Monica McLeod's picture

Dear Halima, Thank you so

Dear Halima,
Thank you so much for sharing your story. Ending this barbaric practice and traditional method of dis-empowering women is my personal goal as well. Your story was difficult to read -- such pain and grief. It is not your shame, sister, it is the shame of the men and unfortunately women who did this to you. You are so strong and with every word you speak out against this practice you are helping your fellow sisters. You are a hero!

Love & Respect,
Monica
Equality for All

Y's picture

Circumcision for all people should be outlawed.

"The media, whether conventional or electronic, should be used in a more constructive way, that is, by concentrating on in depth analysis and investigative researches and reports. This is no longer a taboo issue, so educating women on the anatomy of their bodies must be a priority. It must be the priority of websites and women magazines to raise their awareness on the anatomy of their bodies instead of concentrating mainly on fashion and beauty. Networking all segments of society, and encouraging women victims of this practice to speak out and highlight devastating aspects of the operation on their lives and economic cost. Men should be encouraged to come hand in hand with women to lead campaigns to eradicate this tradition because it is money and time consuming act that will affect their families and communities in the long run. The World Pulse has a rich, innovative experience in leading transformation worldwide."

Religions discourage understanding of both female and male human anatomy and sexuality in order to exert control by fear over their populations. I am ashamed to admit that I allowed my infant son to be taken from my arms and subjected to circumcision simply because my husband and my culture expected it. We must fight for our boy babies, as well as our girl babies, to be brought up gently.

Y

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