Ethiopian women want to Stop Female Genital Mutilation. A real history
I was on the street with a bunch of children that included boys and girls. This occurred in the outskirts of Addis Ababa, nowadays this place is unknown to me. There, parents practiced Female genital mutilation and male circumcision. At first, I could not understand what was happening. I was afraid, we were forced to be in that row, it was a very long queue, in that row there were me and my two brothers. I was four years old, my little brother was between two or three years old and the elderly five or even two years older than me. In the queue, my older brother was standing in front of me.
I was already getting very agitated and my fears were greater. Around us, we had adults who controlled us without taking their eyes off from us. For instance, I wanted to leave, I got quite nervous because we had been standing for a while without moving from the same spot. I looked around and I did not see anyone smiling or happy so I began to suspect that something bad was happening. I heard children sobbing but I didn’t still do not fit the reasons until the row was shortened, and I took a few steps forward. They also did not allow us to look side to side, they were too demanding; we had to be in the correct position as if we were in the military force. As they did not let us see, when I heard the tears, I wanted to distract myself by talking with other children.
For a moment, I thought it would be the end of my life, I thought they wanted to kill us…
when it was my older brother’s turn … two adults held my older brother so he would not escape, (they used the same utensil for all children, with which they cut a piece of skin from his penis). My older brother started screaming … I wanted to help him but I was almost paralyzed when I saw a part of his penis falling on the floor, I almost lose heart. It hurt me to see my brother scream and suffer from pain. I got even more nervous when it was my turn, I looked around quickly, again and again until I found a solution to get out, I do not know if it was because the older ones had distracted with something but I found a way out of danger. I started running without looking any place, I could not stand still, I ran and ran but I could not think of what I had seen; I had to get out before things get too hot. I felt trapped; I did not know the way I found a quiet place where nothing bad was happening. Finally, I could breathe one more time.
This experience was recorded on my mind, I was traumatized. It took me years to really understand this theme and the consequences of female genital mutilation in women’s bodies.
I remember my mother’s death as if it was yesterday, I did not know exactly the type of mutilation she faced. We had never discussed this issue; I guess it was too little to understand it but I know that it was hell for her, she died trying to give birth to her fourth child. I do not know if my father had was circumcised but my mother was mutilated for sure. Now, you might doubt: How do I know this? Well, because all the children had to have it, it was obligatory on my area,
“it was part of our culture” no one could escape from it… we could be rejected by everyone.
Since then, I have no doubt that my mum was mutilated. Through her gaze, I saw her suffering. Sometimes, she tried to show a good face but her glance always transmitted something to me.
My mother barely smiled.
I remember, my mother was extremely young to be a mother but she was a great mother, she did not have had the same luck as me, the adoption. She gave me for adoption to get a better life, and that’s how it was.