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General News of Thursday, 6 February 2020


Painful sex, torture and life-long scars are what I've been left with – Female Genital Mutilation victim speaks

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She thought it was normal because all her life, she had been bathing with girls with the same ‘look’. For her, the clitoris; the primary source of female sexual pleasure and the most sensitive part of the woman’s private part, was supposed to look cut, well at least until she met girls, mostly from urban areas in the country, whose private parts didn’t look like hers.

Realising the difference, she had to ask her mother what accounted for her outlook, having being educated by her social studies teacher about the phenomenon of Female Genital Mutilation.

The response from home wasn’t rational, sympathetic or even justified in any way. She was told she had to go through to help her celibacy course and because it had become custom.

This is the story of Kurima, a victim of Female Genital Mutilation, who lives in the Wa West District of the Upper West Region.

Kumira has decided to champion the course of creating awareness after suffering badly from the practice which has affected many other girls.

“I got to realise I was a victim when I went to the boarding house in secondary school, because when I was home, all my mates, when we bath, I realise our clitoris was the same but I realized mine was different when I got to the boarding house because of these southerners coming in. I realized mine was short.

“I was 15. Out of curiosity, I decided to ask my Social Studies teacher who I was so close to, he made me know that they had tampered with my clitoris.

“I couldn’t sit back with it, I had to go back to ask my mum, at that time, my dad was late. I asked my mum why they had to do all this to me. What she told me was that, it was done on them, and I’m not that special so they wouldn’t do it on me, and that they’ll be doing it on others that are yet to come. That it is something they are doing and I can’t really stop it.

“So, when I tried asking her the reasons, and she said when they perform it on you, it will help you stay with one man and it will help you keep your virginity till you are married.” She narrated to GhanaWeb in an exclusive interview.

This information was a starting point for her to find out answers for herself. At 20, she decided to find out if indeed, the practice was to keep her from breaking her virginity.

“So, when I tried asking her the reasons, she said when they perform it on you, it will help you stay with one man and it will help you keep your virginity till you are married.

“As I’m speaking now, it is because of this particular thing I had to break my virginity before getting married because I needed to know if what they are saying is true or not.

“I broke my virginity with not just one, but two people. After the first, I changed to another one to see if the pains will reduce. I was 20 years and at the time, I had finished SHS and doing my own things and so I decided to go and have a try.” She said.

Today, she is married with three children. She is lucky to have found a man who is understanding, both during sex and about her situation, but the scars of the cut and the pain from the sore from years back remain, she explained. As a result, she has had to have all three children through a caesarean surgery process.

“I have not been infected with any disease, but once it comes to making love or having intercourse, that is where the pains come in.

“I’m 30 now, that pain will never go. The pains have reduced because I’m married and the man, I’m with really understands me. If you are with someone who understands you and respects you for who you are, it will go down.

“I have 3 children. All my kids are caesarean because I wouldn’t want to go through bleeding and all that. When they cut it (the clitoris) off, the sore on the outside looks healed but the inside still stays, but once the man penetrates, there is pain.

There are others when they go to give birth, one small link between your vagina to your anus, because of the FGM, sometimes when you go to give birth, it tears with force, and you will bleed a lot.”

She urged other victims to come out and speak up and to share their story with the world to help others learn and to get the practice to stop.

“Let’s stop it. They’ve mutilated us, but does it mean they should mutilate their own mouth and not come out to speak?

“Government is not taking us seriously because they don’t want to talk about it. If you come out to talk about it, those people suffering in their marriages, the men trying to push them away because of this, will understand who we are and take us the way we are. But if you keep quiet, they’ll keep doing it.

“If at that time, they were able to educate me, tell me, look, we will not cut you, but you need self-control, etc. at least I would have been a virgin till now” she said.

Kurima, now, through her foundation, the Kurima FGM Foundation, advocates against FGM and helps victims through the trauma it comes with.

In 2012, the UN General Assembly designated February 6th as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, with the aim of amplifying the efforts on the elimination of this practice.

The Day focuses on mobilising youth around the eliminations of harmful practices, including female genital mutilation under the theme: "Unleashing Youth Power: One decade of accelerating actions for zero female genital mutilation."

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