International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (Feb 6th)
In line with the "Storytime" series, we'll call this one, "Storytime of how I was circumcised at the age of 7 and again at 13".
I was circumcised when I was 7yrs old. It hurt so much and I remember crying a lot. When I was nearly 13, my aunty and my grandmother one day examined me. According to them, I wasn't closed enough. They took me to a mid-wife who lived on our street. When I realized where they were taking me, I tried to run away, but they held me tight and dragged me into the mid-wife's house. I remember screaming for help and trying to free myself but no one came to my rescue and I wasn't strong enough on my own. They held me down and put a cover over my mouth so I couldn't scream. Then they cut me again; and this time, the woman who operated on me made sure I was "properly" closed.
I don't know how many days I was bed ridden after being cut for the second time. The pain was terrible. I was tied up and couldn't move. I could not urinate; my stomach became swollen. I kept having fever after fever the whole time. Then the mid-wife returned, I screamed as hard as I could as I thought she was going to cut me again. Then I lost consciousness. I woke up in a hospital ward. I was terrified; I did not know where I was but I was in terrible pain. My genital area was all swollen and it hurt with every little movement. Later, I heard the infibulation had been cut open to let the urine and pus out. I was terribly weak, I did not care anymore, I just wanted to die.
It is years later now, my parents are from Akwa-ibom, Ikot-abasi in Uyo, but I moved to Lagos with my aunty after my junior secondary school. For years I have hated my parents, but spending time with my aunty, I have learnt to forgive them for what happened, but occasionally I sit by myself and cry when I remember all that happened. I wish I can look at my mother, my aunts and my grandmother and ask them; 'Why?, why did you do this terrible thing to me?"
I made a promise to myself that I would never let my daughter face what I faced at the mercy of FGM. I honestly hope sharing this story of mine will be able to enlighten people on the horrors of Female Genital Mutilation and why its so important to abolish it.