Even saying the word can send chills up your spine…
While working at Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, I treated many female survivors of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). FGM is sometimes viewed as a cultural rite of passage and by others, a hidden form of child abuse. FGM often remains under the radar and silenced by shame and fear of speaking out.
FGM is commonly carried out on young girls, often between infancy and the age of 15. The practice of FGM is mired in deep tradition, cultural beliefs, and views about female sexuality (i.e., ensuring “pure femininity” and sexual obedience). There are life-long consequences of FGM and the wounds of trauma are planted in childhood. Also, there are numerous health, mental health, psychosexual issues, and lack of community/family support surrounding these issues.
‘I will never be cut’: Kenyan girls fight back against genital mutilation by Guardian Investigations, is a short documentary that provides a look in a culture where girls, families, and communities are affected by the traditional rite of passage into womanhood: genital cutting.