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When Female Genital Mutilation Becomes More Than An Abstract Concept.(Blog Reader Cries Out).

It seems my head has been buried under sand for a while. When I hear of female circumcision or female genital mutilation (FGM) I always imagined it was some archaic practice that stopped in the 80s or early 90s. I never imagined that it's still practised in several parts of our Nigeria, this is despite the few laws abolishing the practice in some states. 

In recent times when I've heard about FGM its usually from the angle of a woman complaining about sexual disastisfaction or an inability to orgasm, or a man complaining of his wife's unresponsiveness in bed. I've been so oblivious and failed to see that it's much more far reaching than that. I was shellshocked when I heard that some families actually flee Nigeria just to protect their daughters from FGM. Yes, they FLEE. Because when it's an age old tradition in some families you cannot say "thanks, but no thanks". The girls legs must be held far apart and her most delicate bit scraped off, cut or chopped by a razor blade or a knife. Imagine the utter savagery! 

Don't get me wrong, FGM is no novel concept. I first heard about it over twenty years ago. But honestly one would think that with civilization and all the modern and technological advancements, some practices would be long left behind. 

I just got off the phone with a very frightened and confused classmate. Guys, I could have made this post about her alone but this issue is bigger than her. She has two daughters, ages 2 and 4. And you wouldn't believe that her parents-in-law are insisting that the girls be circumcised. Her husband isn't particularly keen on the practice but he says all the females in his family, including his siblings' daughters, are all circumcised, so why should his be different? My friend is torn between filing for divorce from a man she loves deeply or, like others before her, fleeing the country to saner and less savage terrain. 

I did a little research online and I would share my findings with you. Did you know that Nigeria is said to have the highest rate of female genital mutilation in the world? Also FGM has no (health) benefits. I recently watched the interview of an elderly woman in Bayelsa following the death of a young girl who died after being circumcised. (I should also add that the deceased's younger sister ran away from home shortly after her death and was missing for several days, for the fear of being circumcised. So can you really imagine that just weeks ago one daughter died after being circumcised, and then weeks later, they're gearing to perform the same beastly act on her younger sister? Wow!) 

The woman, a circumcision advocate said the benefits were that it's a taboo for a woman to be uncircumcised. Therefore a woman who hasn't been circumcised isn't seen as a complete woman and her family won't be proud to give her out in marriage. That's actually the ONLY benefit the woman could mention, but for her that was enough. She was also asked how the girls cope with the pain during and after the circumcision. In response, she said the circumcision is a thing of pride and that the girls revel in the pain. Dear Lord! So they use a razor blade to chop the clitoris off (and sometimes, the labia as well), and the only pain reliever/analgesic you have is a tablespoon of pride? I would chuckle if this isn't so darn extremely tragic. 

The consequences of FGM are shock from pain and hemorrhage, infection, acute urinary retention following such trauma, damage to the urethra or anus in the struggle of the victim during the procedure making the extent of the operation dictated in many cases by chance, chronic pelvic infection, acquired gynatresia resulting in hematocolpos, vulval adhesions, dysmenorrhea, retention cysts, and sexual difficulties with anorgasmia. Other complications are implantation dermoid cysts and keloids, and sexual dysfunction.
      Professor Modupe Onadeko, a consultant for community and family health, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, said female genital mutilation usually leads to severe pain and in some cases death. She said that the act could cause haemorrhage which might also lead to cardiac arrest, painful urination, urinary tract infections, HIV and keloid. According to her, fractured hips can also result from pressure on the hip by the adult pinning down the child during mutilation. The professor added that the long term effects of female genital mutilation include infertility due to blocked tube.

Yet the mental and psychological agony attached with FGM is deemed the most serious complication because the problem does not manifest outwardly for help to be offered. The young girl is in constant fear of the procedure and after the ritual she dreads sex because of anticipated pain and dreads childbirth because of complications caused by FGM. 

While preserving tradition can be a good thing, I fail to see the good in preserving a tradition that cannot offer a single benefit to its practitioners. Instead it promises one misfortune or the other in different forms; sexual, physical or psychological.

Everyday I hear there are bills and laws being put in place to abolish female genital mutilation, yet this has done little or nothing to abolish and eliminate this barbaric practice. Worse yet, regardless of the supposed laws, the police don't get involved in matters such as this. So your fate is left in the hands of the family heads who insist on female circumcision.

I know people to flee Nigeria for a myriad of reasons but I never would have imagined that female genital mutilation topped that list. My friend says she's seriously considering this. She's willing to try everything in her power, and die trying {sic} to ensure that her daughters don't become a victim, a statistic, just another two more to the millions of young girls whose genitals are being mutilated in our dear country. 

Have you ever been in a circumstance similar to hers? What would you advise her to do?

Photo source;


  1. My bestie is circumcised, it's done by some part of the igedes in Benue. That's a barbaric act and no I won't stay and see my girls go through that nonsense tradition forget love o, ill stand by my girls afterall I was the one who carried them and pushed them out. The mil or sil can come and take round 2 in place of my babies.

  2. Can't blive they still do that sh*t.. I think one time one popular blogger said she was circumcised and doesn't enjoy sex that's why she's not eager to date..

  3. I hate my mother for circumcising me. Dnt enjoy sex, and anytime hubby n I do it, and Dnt feel a thing, I end up hating her even more.

    1. I'm sorry to hear about your plight. There's a lot more awareness about these issues now, so women are realising that they can say no. Back when you were born, your mother probably felt that it was only the right thing to do, or she didn't know how to say no.

    2. Hi,

      Please dont hate your mom! Am sure when she did it,it was the best decision for her then.
      I am also circumcised and married. Yes you an enjoy sex, your husband just needs to learn your body very well,to learn what makes you thick and all...others might get satisfaction from penetration while some is just foreplay.
      God bless.

  4. I know someone who was in her mid twenties when she got married. Her husband's evil mother said she must be circumcised at that age. And out of fear of divorce she agreed. To make matters worse, the guy wasn't even living in naija. The babe was here with her mother in-law. What a nightmare. After trying to bring her over to Yanky (like they claimed) for 6 to 7 years, d guy woke up one morning and called his evil mother that he wasn't interested in d freaking marriage anymore.
    The circumcision almost killed her wen she did it. And to think it was all for nothing.
    Thank God she's married today with kids.
    Don't ever allow any idiot to circumcise ur daughters pleaaassssseeeee.

    1. *jaw drop* ehn? You say?! He didn't marry her after?! Mo gbe!

    2. Let me join you in that jaw drop abeg..... some people are wicked fa..... all i can say is 'madam FLEE with your girls' because the husband aint helping

    3. Plus all those complications sef... it makes one shudder

  5. Dear Lord. If one mil comes and tells me this rubbish that is the last they are seeing me and my baby in that family. If they attempt it behind my back I'm going to jail them. Period. I'm so vexed reading this sef.

  6. That's what social media is for? Start talking about it. Name and shame them. What's the worst that could happen? They won't speak with her or ask her son to kick her out? Let her get a lawyer and stand her ground. Her daughters shouldn't be left alone with their father or any member of his family. That five minutes in the shower is enough time for them to be cut. If they say no one will marry them. Then tell them they'll marry Westerners. This is why one should investigate before one marries. Talk about a rude shock.


    1. "Her daughters shouldn't be left alone with their father or any member of his family." I second this. There have been too many situations where one or both parents have been against this practice, but a brief, unsupervised moment left them with a genitally mutilated (please let's stop calling this "circumcision") daughter.
      Thelma, the worst part of this is the nonchalance of her husband. I don't know how to give advise in this situation, but all I can do is second Mallama - Her daughters shouldn't be left alone with their father or any member of his family.

    2. Thelma,
      If she lives in Lagos, let her go to OPD (office of public defender) and report a case of attempted child abuse. The office is on Iyun street off Western Avenue Surulere. It's after stadium but before the fire station. One can't miss the building. Does she work? Tell her to take her kids there tomorrow and report her case. Tell her, bring out the sledgehammer and let the fly know you will use it. Should her girls be cut, then MIL will go to prison. She should leave her husband out of this. He's just playing ostrich. Men do that so well.


    3. I agree with Mallama. The OPD will take it up if she acts.

      On the other hand, perhaps the husband does not have an idea of the extent she is willing to go in order to prevent her daughters from being maimed? I suggest she has a heart to heart discussion with her husband; stating gently but firmly her resolve including divorce and taking legal action against anyone involved. This may jolt the husband into taking sides with her and standing their ground against the barbaric act. If the talk does not generate desired result, she should flee, far away from them.

      Meanwhile, for the unmarried ladies in the house, this is another topic to add to the list of 'things to discuss and agree upon before marriage'.


  7. Please advice your friend to flee. If her hubby doesn't come after her too bad. His indifference is the most annoying.

  8. A higher authority must be involved, clergy and legal. My fear is the circumcision might still take place as she can't be with the children all the time. A good talk with her hubby to know where he truly stands and educate him on female circumcision is of great importance.

  9. I think you should place confronting images after the jump, after having given a warning.
    The child is also a minor, I think the face should have been blocked out. My 2 cents

  10. Ds FGM is rubbish and ignorance. I thought a bill was passed recently to stop it?

  11. I'm a guy and I witnessed female genital mutilation in the North when I was about 5. We (a bunch of boys) were just playing when a woman living in the compound, in conjunction with older women brought her daughter out (she wasn't even up to two years old) and cut something between her legs (I didn't know what it was 'cause I was too young to understand). There was a lot of bleeding and the poor baby was shrieking like mad. They then washed her up with the popular blue detergent we know from the early 90's. It took years for me to understand what I actually witnessed and the whole scene is forever ingrained in my mind and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth every time. Ironically, her brother, who was one of the boys I was playing with wasn’t circumcised.
    Over the years, I’ve come across friends, lovers and acquaintances who are victims of this barbaric act of female oppression and suppression and I have experienced second – hand, the hold it has over them and its far reaching effects not just in their bodies but their confidence and psyche. IT’S DOWNRIGHT EVIL!!!
    The poster should take her daughters’ safety and her own sanity personal. That should be non – negotiable at all cost. She should use all legal means and every media to protect them. Her husband is a shame to women’s rights, safety and freedom all over the world. I might sound harsh, but with this singular act, he’s not fit to be the father of those girls – he has failed them and their mother.
    February 6 every year is the UN’s International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. It’s up to every compassionate person to come together and put an end to this evil all over the world. Let’s do it together.
    K. O. H.

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