As the world marked the ninth annual International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on Wednesday, February 6, brave women from many communities associated with the vice continue to rally against the painful act.
One such woman who has come out strongly against the act that has left many with permanent physical and emotional scars is Fatma Adan, a resident of Holla in Tana River County.
Speaking at Maasai Mara University in Narok County after a two-day second National End FGM Conference, Fatma narrated a painful experience she had to undergo through when she was only eight years old.
According to Fatma, young girls – mostly from pastoralist communities – are exposed to FGM at a very tender age when they still can’t stand for anything.
The exercise is normally done by close relatives who the young girls trust. In her case, her aunt whom she didn’t expect to inflict the painful memories, edged at the back of her mind, circumcised her.
Fatma vividly recalls how the exercise was done.
“I was a class two pupil, when I was forcefully circumcised. My aunt had visited us in Hola, and told me she would go with me to my grandparents’ place. I told her: ‘Okay’. I had a strong urge of visiting my grandparents because I had never met them,” she said in an interview with K24.
On her second day at her aunt’s place, she was told to accompany the woman in the accompany of her daughter to ‘somewhere’, little did she know the bizarre incident that awaited her.
“I went with her. On the second day, while at my grandparents’ place, my aunt asked her daughter and I to accompany her ‘somewhere’. The destination was a forested area, where there were five other girls around my age; that was where we were forcefully circumcised,” she said.
After the painful exercise, to their surprise, no medication was provided. Instead, Fatma recalls the women heating a spoon before it was placed on her genitals.
“Immediately after the circumcision, I remember they took a spoon and heated it till it was red-hot. They, thereafter, pressed it against my private parts,” said Ms Adan, adding: “They told me it was a must for any woman from our community to be circumcised.”
The women didn’t seem to care the painful act on the young girls. Their cries and tears didn’t move them an inch.
She would later drop out of school to be a ‘woman’.
“When I got married, my husband used a razor blade to vertically cut the lower part of my vagina so that he could create a wider opening to allow his manhood to penetrate during sexual intercourse,” she recalled.
The situation got worse when she was giving birth to her first child.
“When it came to giving birth, it was another harrowing experience! For three days, I was in pain. When I visited the hospital, the doctors told me that they had to vertically cut a section of my womanhood to create room for my baby’s head to push out.”
The tales of such women only reveal what many women had to go through and some going through to date in the name of preserving culture and traditions.
As the government and other stakeholders vow to end such practices in our society, it’s the hope of many that many people from the communities affected will come out to defend the future generation.
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