9 December 2016
For the last 16 days I have witnessed an overwhelming scene on social media of something I thought I was dealing with alone. Female Genital Mutilation. FGM was performed on me at age 5 and I will never forget the event. It is still etched in my mind and when reporter Ludovica Iaccino mentioned she was doing a story about it at the International Business Times. I decided to “confess” to her that I was a victim too. My story was hard to tell but I made it and it was read around the world. As a victim of such an horrific event, it has affected my sexual life. I spoke in vivid details on the IBT interview telling their audience that I have been celibate for 10 years since age 42. Now that I am 52, I have lost all interest in sex. The people that did this to me aka my “parents” pretty much achieved their goals which is to prevent me and my sister from being “promiscuous”. My mom admitted that it was our late Muslim grandmother that demanded we do it as tradition. However they forgot that one day, girls become lovers, wives and mothers. They forgot we are going to be sexually active as part of our physical development. Mine was a clitoral FGM where part of my clitoris is missing and discarded away somewhere. The place where it was done is an area I still pass by daily and I look over across the road to see if the man is still there. I was 5 then, I am now 52. It is traumatic. FGM does not just cause physical harm, but psychological harm too.
I came up with five top reasons why our Clitoris matters and coined the hashtag #ClitorisLivesMatters after the #EverythingLivesMatter hashtags on social media.
- We meet men in our prime and date them fostering a healthy relationship that could lead to marriage.
- We become wives, get married to the man we love and want to enjoy a healthy sexual relationship with them.
- We become mothers, where we will have to deliver babies vaginally and may develop problems from the other forms of FGM not limited to clitoral only.
- We become sex educators one day where we want to educate girls in a modern society style the right way about sex and not cut out their body parts.
- We need to express our sexuality as we were created as women. God did not ask for any of our female genitalia to be cut off and FGM does not exist in any religious books either. It robs us of a major part of our lives.
Remember to do your part in your community. The solution to these perceptions of promiscuity is not FGM. It is to educate about FGM and to introduce modern sex education curriculums in African schools. We don’t want sympathy, we want real EDUCATION about our sexual body parts! #ClitorisLivesMatters
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For more information on FGM in Nigeria, see the 28 Too Many Country Profile report