Awareness on Female Genital Mutilation.
One could choose to begin with the bickering children across the street, the crowing hens in the yard, or the overripe mangoes which refused to fall but none could compare to what I felt. Tomorrow was my rite de passage (female genital mutilation), it was finally here. I thought of Àmópe who passed away on her rite de passage or was it Àyínkè, who suffered from complications. They said the female genital mutilation would prevent promiscuity and reduce our sexual libido but all these never justified why we were subjected to so much torture. That night, mama crept into my room to prepare me for what was to come.
“Àdùké, Àdùké mi, temi nikan“1
“You would become a woman tomorrow ” so what was I now, I thought.
“But mama, nothing good comes out of undergoing female genital mutilation”
“Ah don’t say that my daughter “
“Remember Àmópe?” I asked.
“Her’s was a different story.” She gave me a reassuring rub on the back and left.
The day I feared the most was here. The village midwife nana, had arrived early with her female genial mutilation tools before the sun rose to conduct the rite. I was given agbo2 to prepare my body for the pains but was my mind ready? As she raised the blade to cut me, my reflexes took over and I struggled for release.
“Please, mama please, don’t let her cut me” I begged.
It all ended as soon as it began, but the pain remained and I was incapacitated. Days passed, and it never got better. I found it difficult to pass out urine, my period days were worse and the bleeding never ceased. It was then I knew they had performed (FGM3) on me. It grew worse everyday and mama feared for my life and took me to the clinic.
The doctor looked at me with pity and was terribly disappointed. He said the best thing to do was deinfibulation ( cut the vagina open) which they did. My body was getting the treatment it deserved but the trauma stuck like a plague. Every time I tried to forget, the images of blood flashed before my eyes. I had been scarred for life.
FGM( female genital mutilation) this involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia of a female for non-medical reasons.-
There are four types of FGM;
FGM1(clitoridectomy)- the partial or total removal of the clitoris glans.
FGM2(sunna)- the partial or total removal of the clitoris glans and labia minora.
FGM3(infibulation)- the narrowing of the vaginal opening sometimes through stitching.
FGM4- includes other harmful procedures to the female genitalia such as, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.
It is no news, that Female Genital Mutilation is still widely practiced in Nigeria. Not to mention, Nigeria has the highest absolute number of cases of FGM in the world. FGM is deeply rooted in tradition and and culture and has been as a result of the discrimination against women.
This practice is a violation of human rights especially the rights of women and children. WHO and UNICEF stands against all forms of Female Genital Mutilation. FGM must therefore, be abolished and awareness should be raised on the complications of this practice.
Nigerian words used in the text
1- Àdùké, Àdùké my one and only
2- medicinal herbs
Other interesting awareness articles to read
Father’s Day- My Father My Hero
Short Romance: Stranger at The Bar