A non-consent ritual

By Sabahat Jahan

I am sitting in a cafe and going through a decision of will I make my daughter go through the painful genital mutilation because my mother did it to me in the name of a religion.

I am 24-year-old, studying journalism, a Muslim girl, from a community which blindly follow FGM and till today they follow it. All my life I believed that FGM is good for my health and all urinary problems I am facing is just a problem. I didn’t intend to know the bigger problem was that my clitoris was removed when I was seven.

I don’t even remember how it was done and was it painful for me? And never gave a thought about it because I trusted what my mother said that it was good for my health. I don’t blame her but it is the ritual I blame. Not many Muslim sects follow it but my community does.

One day I was researching my story on FGM, I came to know about it when Ayaan Hirsi Ali talked about it. I read a story of Sahiyo in Hindustan Times and I had a talked about it with Aarefa. I was in a state of shock and I called my mother. I asked her with my calm mind. “Maa why you did that to me?” She said, “Beta because it will control your sexual urges, you won’t sleep around and your virginity will be maintained.” I thought, so much for this virginity shitt that I have to suffer from time to time urinary problems.

Sleeping with someone or not is my problem, my consent. It’s my brain who will decide not my vagina! I had no words to speak, I just said okay and disconnected the call. I am not angry with her, she just followed what the culture and religion said her. Yes, I do face problems when I make love. It is painful and it is problematic. The ritual didn’t stop my sexual urges but made it difficult for me.

I am a literate person and I am standing against FGM. I will and try my best to make people realize that it is wrong. It does create problems in our genitalia. I am thankful to Sahiyo for standing up and talking about it. I am glad the taboo of not talking about it is removed and I can share my experience as a victim of FGM

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