We were also taught, every day, that if we ever talked about this, if we even mentioned it, they would kill us. My mother came to pick us up, and I kept asking, "Why did they do this to me? "She just responded, "They told you not to say anything, right? But the women, including my aunt, just laughed at me and called me a "silly child."I couldn't see my sister's face because my view of her was blocked by one of the women, but I remember her blood-curdling scream and her calling out my name to help her.Then don't talk about it." I never got an explanation until years later. She said, "If I were to take you out of that equation, you would be regarded as an outcast, an unclean person. And I don't want anyone to be an outcast of our society. He is the first person who taught me about the dangers and complications of FGM, but that was before I knew I had been mutilated. I felt so helpless because I couldn't do anything for her because the women were holding me down. That was the first time I knew that's what I had been through. It was like experiencing the trauma for myself as well as for my sister. My sisters and I don't ever commiserate about what happened to us because I guess we are all trying to repress the horrible memories of it.So it is a much deeper problem than most people think. I don't think I can talk about this again, but I hope others speak up.I called my sister a few days ago to tell her I was sharing our stories. and was living here, so I was sent to Guinea for summer vacation. I went to Africa to learn about my identity just to end up being scarred for life. After the circumcision, I don't know what happened exactly, but she died. After the ritual, I was placed in a room with other girls, and men were not allowed to see us. At first I was really angry that they dared brutalize us like that without even so much as consulting us on the matter. I also want a reconstructive surgery not just for me but for everyone like me.But later, I realized in their own ways and thinking, they truly believed they were doing us good and making us "proud custodians of our culture," and it was their version of doling out some tough love. To the doctors reading this, please consider offering free surgeries for women like me. And I hope the government takes action and raises awareness like they should.At first, my mother was not aware of my aunt's plans, but once I told her what had happened, she hushed me up because she was scared of what my dad would do if he found out.
Talking about it every time is like reliving the trauma. She was blamed for not surviving, and I was praised for taking it well. Finally, when it became dark, we were taken to the home of the woman who did the cutting and crowded into one room to heal. Then they would rip it off and put another one on until the tissue began to scar.Every morning a woman came in to teach us songs, and if we didn't memorize the words, she would beat us. I learned two of them later died in childbirth, which was too difficult for them because of FGM. At the end of the three months, there was a ceremony to celebrate that we had gone through the rite of passage.During the summer months, while many families take vacations or usher their children off to camp, thousands of girls here in the U. are being sent overseas for what's sold to them as a "rite of passage." According to the AHA Foundation, up to 228,000 girls and women in the U. are vulnerable to what's called "vacation cutting," when parents send their daughters to stay with their families abroad and to endure female genital mutilation (FGM).Even more women living here have been victims as children. S., they were subjected to the abuse that affects 125 million females worldwide.In many cases, women who were cut very young — and it is common practice to circumcise infants — don't even know they have been mutilated until they attempt to have sex, at which time they often need to be cut open again to consummate a marriage. S.-based survivor to speak up so publicly against FGM.