(DailyMail, UK) FGM victim reveals horror of mother having her circumcised as a BABY so she wouldn't bring shame on her family

From: Biniam Tekle <biniamt_at_dehai.org_at_dehai.org>
Date: Thu, 9 Apr 2015 22:32:18 -0400


'If a girl is not cut she'll grow up to be a slut': FGM victim reveals
horror of mother having her circumcised as a BABY so she wouldn't
bring shame on her family

Hadas had the barbaric practice in Eritrea, Africa, where FGM is common
Her mother believed putting her through the ordeal as a baby was best
In her village 'uncut' women will be sluts and even grow up to be clumsy
Woman, who wants to remain anonymous, was sex trafficked to the UK


PUBLISHED: 03:02 EST, 9 April 2015 | UPDATED: 07:17 EST, 9 April 2015

Hadas from Eritrea, Africa, talks about her experience of being
circumcised (picture posed by model)

A woman who still suffers from the painful consequences of Female
Genital Mutilation (FGM) says she doesn't blame her mother for taking
her to have the procedure when she was just a baby.

Hadas (not her real name to protect her identity), who now lives in
the UK, had 'the cut' in Eritrea, where circumcision for girls is
widely practiced, when she was just a few months old.

She said: 'In my culture, it is believed that when the vagina is cut,
the desire to have sex is cut as well and that sex is only something a
woman does with her husband to have children.'

'Most people in Eritrea think that if a girl is cut, she will grow up
to be a good girl; that she will not bring shame on her family and she
will marry well.

'If a girl is not cut, they think she will grow up to be a "slut" - a
girl who thinks about sex and will not be satisfied by one man.

'People believe that a girl who is not cut will bring shame on her
family with her behaviour, that no one will marry her and she will be

'Most people feel this way in my country and it is only those who are
educated that disagree with the practice of cutting.'

Hadas' story reveals how entrenched the culture of FGM is Eritrea,
which borders Sudan and Ethiopia, where the barbaric practice - the
partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical
reasons - is even said to prevent women growing up to be clumsy.

Girls are mutilated by someone with no medical training, often using
instruments such as a knife, pair of scissors, scalpel or razor blade.
Anaesthetic isn't used and the victims are often forcibly restrained.

Hadas was too young to remember her ordeal and only found out the
truth by hearing her parents arguing - as her father had not wanted
her to be subjected to it.

She said: 'My father was an educated and modern man who disagreed with
the belief and culture of cutting. My mother was from a traditional
family and from a different community of people to my father.

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'My mother had taken me to be cut while my father was away on
business, as she knew he would not have allowed it. I was cut and sewn
up when I was just a few months old, and when my father found out he
was furious.'

'The first time I heard about cutting was from overhearing my parents
fight about it, which they did throughout my childhood.

'I am not angry with my mother for taking me to get cut; my mother is
a traditional person and hasn't been educated about it. She thought
she was doing the best for me.'

Scroll down for video

Women selling their goods on the colourful Monday market of Keren,
Eritrea, Africa

Growing up, Hadas' mother told her 'horror stories' about women who
had never married because they hadn't been cut. Other negative
stereotypes were also attached to women who had not had the procedure.

Hadas said: 'In my culture there is a belief that if a girl is clumsy,
she had not been cut. People from my country, even believe this here
in the UK.

'I was at church recently and I dropped a glass of water. While I was
cleaning the mess up, an older woman said to me "you didn't have the

 In my culture there is a belief that if a girl is clumsy, she has not been cut

'She did not say this with anger or as a joke; she said it as a matter
of fact, because she doesn't know differently.'

Now in her early 20s, Hadas only recently came to realise that FGM is
not the norm for all women and has found support as she deals with its
consequences from children's charity the NSPCC.

She said: 'I grew up not knowing that I was different, or that being
cut was not normal for every other girl in the world.

Hadas first came into contact with the NSPCC in the UK following a
horrific ordeal where she was brought to the UK by sex traffickers.

She revealed: 'I was separated from my family after problems started
in my country and I was trafficked to the UK by men who raped me. It
was incredibly painful for me, so painful that I couldn't think. I
have grown up believing that this level of pain during sex is normal,
but I now know differently.'

'I didn't talk to anyone before I met the NSPCC as it's not something
that you speak about. Before I saw the nurse I didn't notice any
difference in my body as I'm the same as other girls from my home

'I believe cutting is something that should be stopped. It is a
disgusting practice that many people only do because they believe that
the stories around it are true and they are uneducated.

'I do not think that people really understand the problems which
female genital mutilation can cause for girls.'

Hassan Hafez, a barber from Egypt, mimics the way he used to perform
female genital mutilation

Thanks to being a victim of FGM, Hadas worries about her future and
whether she will be able to have children.

She said: 'I look ahead and see problems with any relationships that I
choose to have because I'm afraid that sex will hurt. My periods are
painful too and I've been told it will be very painful to give birth.'

The NSPCC believe 23,000 girls under 15 could be at risk of FGM in
England and Wales even though it became a criminal offence in the UK
in 1985.

In 2003 it also became a criminal offence for UK nationals or
permanent UK residents to take their child abroad to have female
genital mutilation. Anyone found guilty of the offence faces a maximum
penalty of 14 years in prison.

Despite this, many young girls are taking abroad during 'cutting
season' aka the school holidays where they are mutilated without pain
relief while being forcibly restrained.

The charity is working to stop FGM - which they believe is a form of
child abuse - and ask professionals who worry a child is at risk to
contact them on the number below.

Survivors talk for NSPCC's Ending Female Genital Mutilation

Cupcakes designed to look like vaginas were baked for the
International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM in Exeter in February, 2014

Those who have suffered as a result of FGM can also call the number
for help and support.

NSPCC Head of Child Protection Operations John Cameron said: 'We know
from contacts to our FGM helpline that there is a major problem in
some UK communities where children are subjected to this appalling

'Many thousands of children are at risk of being taken abroad to be
cut and families are starting to get smart about this - they are
getting the message that agencies are focusing on children who are a
bit older so people are now beginning to subject children to FGM at a
much younger age.

'We would urge anyone who has a concern or needs advice to contact the
NSPCC’s FGM helpline on 0800 028 3550 or email fgmhelp_at_nspcc.org.uk -
it doesn't matter if you're uncertain, we're here to talk things
through and you may in turn stop a child from being subjected to this
barbaric practice.'

Since launching in June 2013, the NSPCC FGM helpline has been
contacted 662 times regarding concerns about FGM. Of the calls, 259 of
the cases have been so serious that they have been referred to
children's services and the police.

If you are worried about a child or would like support or advice
please contact the NSPCC FGM helpline on 0800 028 3550 or
fgmhelp_at_nspcc.org.uk – you can remain anonymous if you wish.

Read more:

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3030444/FGM-victim-reveals-horror-mother-having-circumcised-BABY-wouldn-t-bring-shame-family.html#ixzz3Wry9yyxN
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Received on Thu Apr 09 2015 - 22:32:58 EDT

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