Say “NO” to female genital mutilation (FGM)

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female-genital-mutilation

Say “NO” to  female genital mutilation (FGM)

Say “NO” to  female genital mutilation (FGM)

A survivor of female genital mutilation (FGM) has revealed her terrifying ordeal after she was forced to undergo the procedure without anesthetic when she was just 11-years-old.

Damaris Monty, now 15, from Tangulbei, Kenya, and a mother to a three-year-old daughter, had no idea what getting cut meant before it happened to her and four other young girls who were lined up to be mutilated.

The practice is carried out in some parts of thTeenager who undergo female genital mutilation(FGM) revealed her terrifying ordeal. Her experience will make you crye world under the belief it makes girls purer and eligible to marry.
Recalling the day it happened to her, Damaris said: ‘I was at my aunt’s place and she and her husband told me to undergo the cut.

‘I really didn’t know what it was, but they told me I had to undergo it. My aunt told me just the night before that I would be cut. I don’t know whether or not my parents knew about it and approved it.’

Damaris, who had never been to school or received any kind of education, said if she had known what was going to happen to her, she would have run away.

But instead, she and the four other girls were led outside her aunt’s house one morning and told to sit on stones in a line facing the rising sun.
Damaris was the last to be cut by a local woman using crude tools and it was only then that she realised her awful fate.

She explains: ‘The women who were there for the cut said that we shouldn’t be afraid because it’s a taboo. They told us that we would not feel pain if we would not cry.

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‘They told us that if we would scream, our entire family would be put to shame. They told us to be silent and look at the ground.

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‘I didn’t know where in the body I was going to be cut. I just saw it in that moment, when I was there and when the first girl got cut.

‘When I saw what it actually meant, I thought it was something bad. I thought to myself that this was something unwanted. I felt that it was bad and something that’s not supposed to be done.

Female genital mutilation
               

Describing how events unfolded, Damaris said: ‘The first girl was cut. Then they covered her with a scarf and left her there. Then they did the same thing to the next person.

‘When I was cut, blood flew. I felt pain. I was so stressed out, because this is something I didn’t choose.

‘I got wrapped in a sheep skin. They tied our legs with torn clothes close to the thighs. We sat on the stones for an hour and then they took all of us to a bush where they constructed something small, like a house.

‘We got there on foot; we were walking, slowly, slowly. It was hurting because of the cut and the fact that our legs were tied. All of us managed to walk.

‘We stayed in the hut for three months to heal. Our legs remained tied and they used to prepare porridge for us, like we were little kids.

‘We didn’t like it, but we had no option of running away because we had wounds and we couldn’t run. At the beginning, the women used to come and stay with us during the day, but when we almost healed completely, we were left on our own.’

Damaris said her ordeal wasn’t over as not long after, she was forced to marry a man twice her age. Teenager who undergo female genital mutilation(FGM) revealed her terrifying ordeal. Her experience will make you cry

‘At that point, I didn’t know that going for the cut would lead to marriage. I thought that I would go for the cut and then go back home or go to school,’ she said.

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She said her older husband was not kind to her and she was expected to consummate their marriage right away – when she was still only 12 and recovering from the FGM.

 I will tell my daughter not to undergo the cut because she will be stressed in her life and she will reach a point that she would wish she were dead

She said: ‘The act after the FGM was really painful; it hurt a lot until the following day.’

Damaris became pregnant and had a daughter, Chepkopus Domoren, now aged three.

Damaris and her daughter
Damaris and her daughter

She said her husband didn’t treat either of them well and she was determined to escape to give her daughter a better life – and to spare her the horror of FGM.

She said: ‘My daughter became sick and whenever I told my husband about it, he couldn’t care less, so it was just me, alone, trying to find ways of getting help. Each time I was going to the hospital, my husband used to tell me “I know that the child is not sick, you’re just making it up”. He only had time for alcohol.

‘One day he locked me in the house while my baby was outside. She was alone. I was worried for my baby; I thought he would kill her. He locked me up for an hour. Then I knew I had to run away.’

After escaping with her daughter, Damaris found support from a Human Right and Charity Organization, who have a women’s network in Kongelai.

She said the charity’s help has been invaluable to her as she tries to move on and build a new life for her and her daughter.

She said: The Charity Organization gives us hope and strength. Every time I leave the meetings I feel really hopeful. I have learnt that I have the right not to accept FGM and anything to do with FGM.

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‘We also learn business skills. They teach us to take our children to school and also they tell us to start a business, that is good, because it will help you with your children.

‘Thanks to the group, I feel better every day. Most of the group members are older women, but I have a friend who is just a bit older than me. She has experienced the same thing as me.’

Damaris said she will never allow her daughter to have FGM and she wants to help raise awareness in her local communities about why it should be stopped.

The practice was made illegal in Kenya in 2011 but it carries on behind closed doors as tens of thousands of families fear being outcast if they do not submit their daughters to the horrific ordeal.

Women who aren’t cut are thought to be unclean and promiscuous.

The procedure can be carried out on girls from infancy up to the age of 15 and they are often held down against their will by other women while the cutter performs the gruesome task.

Damaris said she has high hopes for her daughter’s future and never wants her to suffer like she has.

She said: ‘I want my child to go to school and experience the school life. I would want her to be a teacher or even a medical doctor.

‘I would tell her not to undergo the cut because she will be stressed in her life and she will reach a point that she would wish she were dead.

As culture is believed to be part of the life of people, so also cutural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation and other harmful ones should not be encouraged. Say NO to FGM. Teenager who undergo female genital mutilation(FGM) revealed her terrifying ordeal. Her experience will make you cry