Sunday, April 24, 2011

You are what you let happen...

This is a not-so-happy fact found in UNICEF’s 2005 report, “Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting. A Statistical Exploration.”
Female Genital Mutilation has been inflicted on approximately 130 million girls and young women. In the 28 countries where it is practiced, mostly in Africa, about three million young girls a year can expect the knife – or the razor or a glass shard – to cut their clitoris or remove it altogether.
In a man, it would range from amputation of most of the penis, to removal of all of the penis. Short-term results include: tetanus, hemorrhages, cuts in the urethra, bladder and vaginal walls. Long term: chronic uterine infection, increased agony and danger during childbirth, and early deaths.

And you thought you had problems.

Pieces of literature that resemble this cross my path every so often. In my fourth year of high school, it was a book that my amazing brother got me by Waris Dirie called Desert Flower. Graphic, eye-opening, intense. (And then she went and ruined it with Desert Children et al, but whatever. People need to stop believing in sequels, unless it’s Lord of the Rings, or Pirates of the Caribbean, or Shrek.)

What reminded me this year was doing the Vagina Monologues. If you missed the one on Good Friday, there’s another this week at Carnivore on Thursday from 7:30, still 5 sock. Come early, it gets pretty packed.

Anywho, that Not-So-Happy fact was read, as it always is, during the Vagina Monologues, and it gripped me. It’s easy to read the Bible and think those idiots. Of course I would’ve known it was Jesus. It’s easy to read about other people’s situations and convince yourself that you would’ve done different had you been in their place. But that is obviously not the case - or is it? You can never know.

If I was one of those young girls, would I have run away from home? Would I even have known what severe pain as coming my way? Waris was mutilated at the age of 5, with a semi-blunt tool on a sun-parched rock. Her mother and her aunty told her it would not hurt that much, that girls didn’t cry, to prove their strength. Strength? She had no idea it would be so agonizing. The lady cut her and then stitched her back with thorns, leaving a tiny hole that her husband would then rip open on her wedding night. It would take her about 10 minutes to pee, and 3 weeks to have her period.

I don’t know who I would have become in that situation. But I guess seeing as you are shaped by experience, it would inevitably shape me…into what?

Let’s not let unnecessary cruelty go on. Let us learn from our experiences, and others. Let us remember that we are grateful to be who we are, where we are.





  1. We learned about FGM in Women's Studies and I've run across it multiple times over the course of my life. My reaction to reading it never changes though - I always feel like throwing up. So terrible.

  2. I hear you on Desert Flower.

  3. @CB It really is.

    @Shiko That book...

  4. Another book you might want to try:
    Do They Hear You When You Cry-- Fauziya Kassindja (and Layli Miller Bashir)

  5. I shall keep my eyes peeled. :o) Thanks.