Sein F. Lengeju, President, Keep Girls Safe

When I was “circumcised” I was 13 or 14 years. It started as a ceremony – I was bought new clothes, and shoes. it was like a celebration and my two sisters and I were the center of attention.

The equipment they used was handmade:  a sharp curved knife that was not sterilized. And I was given no anesthetic. They cut my clitoris.  The wound was treated with herbs, salt and water. I bled a lot and I was in great pain. I was horribly frightened and cried until I passed out. The only other thing I remember before passing out, was begging my mom to have the women spare my younger sisters, due to the pain I suffered and never wanted to see my sisters go through it. When I woke up from unconsciousness my sisters were in the same room with me in different beds, and they were also victims of Female genital cutting (FGC) or female genital mutilation (FGM)

I came to the US with my husband and about the same time suffered a great deal of pain during my menstrual and urinary tract infection, so I went to hospital. It turned out that when they carried out the procedure damage me, so the doctor recommended reconstruction surgery but I’m scared and don’t want to experience the pain again. While giving birth the doctor had to cut me again and stich due to the risk of a n unrepairable tear.

Several Immigrant minorities families in US take girls to their country of origin to have FGM carried out.  The secret event is treated as It is a family summer vacation; they see family and the countryside and are then “circumcised”. When they return, they tell the girl not to talk about it. Girl (s) are told not to say anything to anyone because the government will take her away from her family, and that she will lose all she has in the US Including Family.

Many in my generation are fighting FGM in my country. These days’ people are more aware, and I know many educated

women who will not practice it. They say – “We have had enough!” But I know others who want to keep the culture.

– Sein F. Lengeju