A Future Without Female Genital Mutilation

Halima Rahman
Posted August 2, 2009 from Sudan
Drawings of female genital mutilation
Drawings of female genital mutilation
Drawings of female genital mutilation (1/8)

Personal experience

It seems that in Sudan anything is possible. For a girl to be circumcised one day and have the same operation repeated the next day because a grandmother or aunt is not satisfied with the cut, is sadly not uncommon. I remember being forced to lie down on three old mattresses - two of them stretched on an “angareb”, which is a popular wooden bed, and the other one was plied under my torso. My midwife, Hajja Zeinab, sat on a low wooden stool.

As she faced my naked body, our eyes met. I tried to escape her firm look, but she immediately addressed me with caution, “Now you are a woman. A real woman never cries. Now I will remove this dirt and you will become very clean and a real Muslim,” she said.

Later I learned that this belief reveals the depth and core of the atrocity. Several women participated in the ritual. Two of them took hold of my thighs, while two others firmly held my arms. One sat behind me and put my head on her lap. With her right hand she covered my eyes and as she put her left arm on my chest, she must have felt my heart beating fast because she said, “Honour your father’s name. Don’t be afraid. This is not painful. You have seen your sister and your cousins. None of them cried.” I didn’t utter a sound as tears ran down my face.

“In the name of Allah Most Gracious, Most Merciful,” Hajja said. She raised her fat hand, ornamented with some golden bracelets, and addressed the women around her. “Open her widely,” the midwife murmured, ordering the two women holding my thighs.

I felt the fingers of her left hand moving my nudity apart and then a sharp needle pierced my flesh up and down and in the middle. I cried at the top of my voice and tried to raise my torso and kick the two women who firmly held my thighs.“Oh Women, hold her firmly!” Hajja Zeihab cried.

Anesthetic resistant

Suddenly, she started cutting. The pain was excruciating. I cried like a mad person. In spite of having her head bent between my thighs I felt as if she was cutting in the middle of my skull. More women were called to help hold me down. Some of them nicknamed me coward. Others scolded me for being the only one among the four who had acted cowardly.

I was anesthetic resistant

Hajja called one of the old ladies over and asked, “Does everything look okay?” No, no,” said the old woman, “cut this piece. Yes this one. And remove her clitoris. What is the use of it? And, remove the dirt. Do as I tell you.” I think that was grandmother Amna, doing her best to claim herself among the old women as the expert in the anatomy of young girls.

Again she went between my thighs and cut me with the razor. Have I said razor? I am not sure whether it was a razor or a kitchen knife. But I was sure of one thing, she wasn’t wearing gloves or covering her head. She wore only her white short dress. She was fat and stout and mowed my flesh with no mercy. The stitches were the worst part. 9 stitches in all caused me pain and panic whenever I tried to move or urinated.

I was only 6 years old—too tiny to struggle

Pain and superstition

My sister, two cousins and I (all cut at the same time) were taken outside the excision room and showed the sea. A vision of the sea is believed to serve as a barrier against evil spirits. This evil could be caused by a sudden visit from a relative who might have attended a grievous incident such as contributing to the burial of a dead person and then surprise us with his presence without informing our mothers to take the necessary precautions. This was believed to cast an evil eye, causing damage to the wound and hindering fast healing. For the next seven days I cried out of pain, and suffered urine retention. I couldn’t urinate for the first three days following circumcision. Every time I wanted to pass water, I had to bite my lower lip and scream from between my teeth.

With a slight degree of difference, this same scenario repeats many times in a woman’s life, every time she gives birth. And this legacy of pain is transmitted from generation to generation even today. “Female genital mutilation and cutting violates girls’ and women’s human rights, denying them their physical and mental integrity, their right to freedom from violence and discrimination and, in the most extreme cases, their lives,” stated the UNICEF report on the State of the World’s Children, 2009.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) mentioned that In Africa, about three million girls are at risk for FGM annually.

Between two atrocities

According to a UNICEF report, eighty nine percent of Sudanese women are circumcised. Sudan ranks 5 among countries practicing this barbaric custom worldwide. WHO memtioned four types of FGM, but in sudan There are three types including Sunna ”removal of the prepuce”, medium ”Clitoridectomy” and Pharaonic “infibulation”, “see attached illustrations”.

The Fifth Population Census (2008) results have revealed that Sudan's overall population figure is more than thirty nine million people. The number of excided women is estimated at 14 million. In spite of this horrible percentage, the Sudanese government last February legalized Sunna type. Sadly, this decision came, last February, on the day when the world was commemorating International Day of Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation Day.

Does this practice need legalization? That was the first question that came into my mind whereas my eyes went quickly over the news published in Sudan Tribune newspaper website. “The Council of Ministers on February 5 dropped the article (13) of the draft Children’s Act of 2009, which provides for the ban of female genital mutilation as part of other customs and traditions harmful to the health of the child, and after approval of the draft Children’s Act 2009,” said the newspaper.

The newspaper went on saying “the cabinet decided to drop the article (13), which deals with female circumcision, taking into account the advisory opinion of the Islamic Fiqh Academy, which distinguish between harmful circumcision or infibulation (Pharaonic circumcision) and the circumcision of Sunna, a less extensive procedure.”

It is regrettable to say that the government decision was taken while a woman is on the head of the Ministry of health. No doctor was consulted. Also the memory of a tragic death of, Inaam Abdul Wahhab, a 4-year-old child as result of circumcision complication was still fresh. Three others had the same fate as Inaam's.

Instead people were encouraged to have their daughters cut according to Sunna, in specific centers already established for this purpose in different parts of the country. Sunna is used to refer to traditions. With this decision, my dear homeland is taking three decades of voluntary work back to square one.

Ups and downs

Resistance against this practice started in the early 1940s. The practice was declared illegal in Sudan in 1941 but continued without interruption. Not a single incident of punishment was recorded even though about 90% of northern Sudanese women have had it done. Successive national surveys between 1979 and 1983 recorded that ninety six percent of women have undergone FGM. In 1991, this percentage dropped to eighty nine percent, which matched with the UNICEF world report on children for 2009, showing only a drop of 7.3%. This gradual shift in public attitudes toward FGM was due in large part to efforts led by non governmental organizations(NGOs), Babikir Badri Scientific Studies Association on Women Studies(BBSAWS)and NCEHTP, in coordination with many other autonomous organizations and individuals. It is worth noting that BBSAWS was the first local NGO to shoulder the struggle against FGM in Sudan. Several factors contribute to the prevalence of excision. On the top of the list are: the absence of a long-term strategy, no implementation of strict measures defending children against this practice, displacement and internal migration, the concentration of NGOs in urban centers, associating circumcision with Islam and the existence of beneficiaries who resist eradicating this custom by any means.

However, the government’s current stance is the major obstacle. Whenever FGM is legal, it destroys efforts undertaken by NGOs, turns ethnic groups into advocators and codifies the presence of groups who are officially supported to derive their livelihood from the profession, not to mention the propaganda they use to promote the profession.

Stigma and economic component

To be honest, in Sudan, it is women who shoulder the biggest responsibility for the excisions whether they are practitioners or supporters, whereas the majority of males consider it “women’s affairs.”

The severity of the cut depends upon personal request. Mothers and grandmothers who were victims of circumcision, almost always request infibulations or the “Pharaonic” type of excision. The midwives, contrary to reality, claim that they only perform “Sunna”. Sunna, which is considered a lighter version of FGM, but is still barbaric, especially with successive deliveries.

Midwives, like Hajaa Zeinab, never fail to honour a client’s request. They work in accordance with the law of supply and demand, not the law of the land. By doing so, they involve women in a vicious cycle of circumcision, decircumcision (tasheem) and recircumcision (adlah). The latter is performed to tighten a woman after giving birth.

Moreover, midwives have their own means of propaganda and advertising this commodity. Whenever such a midwife is among a large number of women, she tells stories about uncircumcised girls being always dirty even if they spend the whole day showering themselves. Whereas circumcised girls are always described by her famous phrase, “waa halati,” which means, “what a nice girl!”

Psychological trauma

Azza, a woman’s rights activist and psychiatrist told me a devastating story about a young woman she met while studying for her Masters degree at the Psychiatric Hospital in Khartoum. Upon discovering that his bride was excised, a husband took her to a midwife to re-open the labia majora to allow penetration of the vagina. The husband was then instructed to sleep with her within the same hour. Azza recalled that the bride was traumatized. She told her doctors that although she believes sexual intercourse is a vital part of marriage, she cannot forget the pain and sight of her pooled blood from her husband forcing her to have sex with him just after the procedure.

A way out

The gloomy picture reflected by events of this story, don’t deny the light at the end of the tunnel. Change is in process. Of course this will not happen overnight, but with persistence, proper education and consistency, change is attainable.

I believe that in order to stop FGM in Sudan (and worldwide), the civil society organizations, NGOs, artists, writers, dramatists, cartoonist, musicians, activists, media practitioners, physicians, the whole family, etc must continue to pressure governments to clear politics and back down on their decisions in favour of FGM, and have and support the views calling for the implementation of the Child Rights Conventions. Additionally, these efforts have a greater chance of success if they line up with a long-term media campaign, enrolling all concerned and directed through private broadcasting.

Continuation of personal efforts is a must. I, for one, prevented my young nieces from having to endure excision and convinced two illiterate mothers to abandon the practice.

I believe that an effective cure for this disease will have to involve personal and collective trials discussions. Men and women who don't practice female circumcision need to come in the open, and not hide it.

“As a man I didn't find it difficult to say I am married to an uncircumcised woman, and my 22 year old daughter is not circumcised and this helped me in convincing many relatives and friends throughout more than 27 years." Mohamed Ahmed wrote in an email to me. I received his message with hope and great appreciation.

For the sake of my daughter from whose eyes beam a promising tomorrow and who brings seeds of change, I will continue to work at home and through the media to put an end to FGM.

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future, which is providing rigorous web 2.0 and new media training for 31 emerging women leaders. We are speaking out for social change from some of the most forgotten corners of the world. Meet Us.

Voices of Our Future Assignment: Op-eds

Comments 83

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Jacqueline Patiño
Aug 02, 2009
Aug 02, 2009

I consider you as a blessing in my life. I had never met a muslim woman before. I am honored that you want to chat with me and be my friend.

Because I know you, I must let you know that what you did by posting this is a lesson to the world. Your courage to share all this with us makes me believe there is real hope for the girls in Sudan. Keep trying, keep raising your voice, we are here to cheer you.

I am a faithful believer that the love that you put on your endeavors makes other people change their minds. After reading your story, I am sure the love you are showing will make the people feel why they should take action. I hope everyone reads this. I wish you can post it in different media. We need to know all around the world.

Loving you, embracing you with a pure feeling of friendship,

Jackie

Halima Rahman
Jun 06, 2011
Jun 06, 2011

Sweet heart Jackie, Thank you so much for reading my post and sharing this valuable comment. Your words touch my heart and brought tears to my eyes. I love you too and i don't support passing a day without skyping with you. Wishing you all the best.

Lots of love,

Halima

Helen Hamada
Aug 03, 2009
Aug 03, 2009

Dear Halima,

I cried when I read your posting and Jacqueline's comment. You are very brave and a true angel of change. I stand in awe of your courage.

Love, Helen

Halima Rahman
Aug 05, 2009
Aug 05, 2009

Dearest Helen,

The phrase "Thank you" is not enough to express my profound thanks and gratitiude .. You are my inspirational teacher, friend and my dearest mother, who has been encouraging and pushing me to carry on and on, without stopping or giving up.

Thank you GREAT WOMAN ..

Love and hugs,

Halima

Carly
Aug 03, 2009
Aug 03, 2009

Dear Halima,

I stand in awe of your courage and your persistence to works towards change in spite of the pain of your personal experience. Your dedication to perfecting this article is the same characteristic that will bring attention and action to the issue of female genital mutilation. Thank you for sharing this with us and raising your voice.

with love, carly

Halima Rahman
Aug 04, 2009
Aug 04, 2009

Dearest Carly,

Thank you so much for the valuable advice and continous encoruagement, valualube comments and continuous efforts to finish the story properly and (deliver) this article safely.

Thank you so...so much for valuable moments spent with me, especially during the week-end.

Lots of love,

Halima

luan
Aug 03, 2009
Aug 03, 2009

Thank you for sharing your experience with us. You wrote an incredibly powerful and moving piece. You will change lives and the world. You are an inspiration.

Wishing you love and happiness, Luan

Halima Rahman
Aug 04, 2009
Aug 04, 2009

Luan,

You made my day. Thank you for passing and sharing this comment. Wish you all the best and look forward to a world free of this kind of atrocity practised against females.

love,

Halima

Jade Frank
Aug 03, 2009
Aug 03, 2009

Halima,

You are so courageous and I am honored to know you here and to read your incredible story of pain, of injustice and of the commitment to change attitudes towards and stop the practice of female genital mutilation in Sudan and the rest of the world. Your story and your writing will change the way we think and act. Thank you for sharing this very personal and important story. We stand with you in solidarity and love.

Jade

Halima Rahman
May 12, 2010
May 12, 2010

Dear Jade,

I have the honour to have you among the whom I had known since started contributing to this huge websie that ensures women voice to be heard. Thank you so much for sharing this comment and for your stance against this harmful practice that cripples women throughtout their lives.

Love and hugs,

Halima

Ameena Beegum
Aug 03, 2009
Aug 03, 2009

Legalisation of Female Circumcision in Sudan

Sudanese Women's Rights Group

Press Release 18 June 2002 Legalisation of Female Circumcision In Sudan

SWRG is gravely concerned about the intention of the Government of Sudan to legalize female circumcision in Sudan .

The information received by SWRG confirmed that on Wednesday 22 May 2002 a workshop was held in Khartoum , Sudan , organized by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Endowment in collaboration with the Female Student Centre in Omdurman Islamic University. The conference was predominantly attended by government officals and supporters of the Islamic Government in Sudan . The workshop was entitled: Towards the legalisation of Female Circumcision & Establishment of Training Centers for Operators (excisors). The workshop made the following recommendations: . legalisation of female circumcision (FC) . raise awareness about the importance of FC in the society . support the efforts of the Female Student Center of Omdurman

Islamic University to establish centers all over the country for training practitioners (excisors) of FC.

The information we received also confirmed that there is strong support among government officials to implement these recommendations.

The consequences of Female Circumcision or Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) are serious and well known. FC/FGM causes not only physical and mental health problems, but can lead to death as serious infections often occur: it is estimated that thousands of women and girls may have lost their lives as a result of FC/ FGM.

In Sudan , recent statistics show that maternal mortality rate (MMR) is over 550 per 100,000 of normal child births, with one of the main causes of this high MMR being Female Genital Mutilation and its complications.

The rights to life, physical integrity, and basic good health of women and children, are basic human rights of the all human beings, including the people of Sudan . As such, FGM contravenes articles in many international human rights instruments, including: . Article 2 of the UN Declaration of human rights . Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child . Article 21 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child . Article 1 of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women

The Sudanese women rights group urges the Government of Sudan to prohibit all forms of Female Circumcision. SWRG condemns the practice of FC/ FGM and considers that it constitutes a human rights violation according to the above mentioned human rights instruments. SWRG considers that FC/FGM is an inhumane and cruel practice which damages the lives of women and girls and limits their human development.

Recommended action : Appeals can be made to the persons listed below and should include the following: . Expression of concern over the recommendations made at the recent workshop . Statement that FGM/FC contravenes the prohibition the Universal Declaration of Human Rights/ Convention on the Rights of the Child and Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.(CEDAW) . Appeal to the Government of Sudan to adopt clear policies for the abolition of FGM/FC including legal, social, educational and health measures. . Appeal to the government of Sudan to make available improved social and health care for those already damaged by FGM/FC.

The above recommendations should be sent in appeals to the following addresses:

His Excellency Lieutenant General Omar Hassan al-Bashir President of the Republic of Sudan President' s Palace PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan Fax: + 24911 783223

Mr Ali Mohamed Osman Yassin Minister of Justice and Attorney General Ministry of Justice Khartoum, Sudan Fax: + 24911 788941

Mr Mustafa Osman Ismail Minister of Foreign Affairs Ministry of Foreign Affairs PO Box 873, Khartoum, Sudan Fax: + 24911 779383

Dr Ahmed al-Mufti Advisory Council for Human Rights PO Box 302 Khartoum, Sudan Sudan Fax: + 24911 770883

Halima Rahman
Nov 21, 2012
Nov 21, 2012

Dear Ameena,

Welcome sister.. Thank you so much for providing this important newsletter, which reflects the strong stance and advocacy of this group. I would be grateful if you would kindly keep us posted about any new developments concerning recent decision taken by the government to legalizing FGM.

As it is indicated the date of this newsletter goes back to 2002, has the Sudanese Women's Rights Group (SWRG)taken any action to manifest its denial of the cancellation of article 13 of the child code draft or any activity to contribute to increasing public awareness of FGM's risks on women's presence and future? Any projects,workshops or activities to raise society's understanding of impacts of FGM on females' lives?

Regards,

Halima

Khushbu
Aug 03, 2009
Aug 03, 2009

Hi Halima...

I realized just today how incredible you are! You are such a strong woman...i cannot imagine being treated one percent of how you have been...and despite everything, you and thousands of women move on..with the courage that awes me...

Why is the world so unfair?

But i know, you are there to bring the change...your story is really powerful....it gave me goosebumps throughout....

Keep spreading the message,...journalism certainly is powerful..and it will help us all bring the change..

Amen Khushbu

Halima Rahman
Oct 27, 2011
Oct 27, 2011

Dear Kushbu,

Closure on the past is a slow death and am not that type...As long as the sun rises every day, threre is hope to destablize this practice and save young girls' lives. We must not stop fight and lose the battle and faith in ourselves, presence and future .. I have an idea but don't how how to carry out..We are 31 trained correspondents ..if each one make a message denouncing this custom and send these messages later to local and intenational communities.. what will be the reactions?

Think about it and come back later tell me..

love,

Halima

Gifty Pearl Correspondent
Aug 04, 2009
Aug 04, 2009

Everyday, i hear voices speaking about harsh systems, policies and inhumane acts against women's development. You are another strong woman and voice. Keep the good work and i know we will see a Sudan free of FGM soon.

Gifty

Halima Rahman
Aug 04, 2009
Aug 04, 2009

Dearest Gifty,

your words touch my heart and make me happy.. you made my day sister..thanks a lot.

Love and hug,

Halima

Nusrat Ara
Aug 04, 2009
Aug 04, 2009

Dear Halima.

I just couldn't read. I felt something tearing me apart from inside as I tired to read your tale. I had to take breaks. What really disgusts me is that it is a woman who is the midwife and performs the FMG and it is the women of the family, a grandmother, mother or some relative who sit over the ceremony instructing how this ghastly act should be done. I wish there were more people like you who would put an end to it.

You have my support and best wishes. Keep up the good work.

I wish I could do something about it.

Lots of Love

Halima Rahman
Aug 04, 2009
Aug 04, 2009

Dearest Nusrat,

Grandmothers, mothers and relatives, repeat this practice out of love..Yes.. believe me ..out of love!! They believe that this is done as an initiation to womanhood.. finishing tips..signs of beauty and hygiene. This practice flourishes because it derives its streignth from being associtated to Islam and Sunna. Public believes and repeats this. Thought prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and his earliest followers hadn't been reported had this habbit done to their wives, daughters, nieces or relatives. As you know overcoming this practice will not happen over a night and day. It needs to have all society engaged in the fight .. It nees above all, official support, which is not the case in Sudan.

Thank you so much for sharing these comments.

Love,

Halima

JaniceW
Aug 04, 2009
Aug 04, 2009

My dearest Halima, I understand now how the mothers and grandmothers want the best for their daughters and see this as a step towards a more promising future, a future where FGM is valued. However, just as this act is perpetuated because of love, so can a new way of thinking be formed because of love. Thinking that places value on the young girl's mind and beauty of spirit, rather than on the physical. Thinking that values education as a path to womanhood. Thinking that says you, as a young girl, have so much to offer the world, just as you are – with no need to alter you in any way. It will be a slow journey but you have taken those important first steps and your actions have already seen a ripple effect amongst your family. Those ripples will indeed spread and one day, FGM will be remembered as something of the past.

Let us all pray that that day will come in our lifetime. With love and respect, Janice

Halima Rahman
Aug 05, 2009
Aug 05, 2009

Dearest Janice,

Thanks so much for supporting me throughout this program. I like the approach you suggested for tacking this issue. LOVE. I suggest PATIENCE, DEDICATION AND UNDERSTANDING.

But (by the way, I don't like this but) In the case of my country, we need more than love, because this process has been legalized and backed by the government since last February. And Sunna type is now officially supported (go back to Ameena newsletter published among these valuable comments on the subject and you will discover the dimension of the tragedy and the measurements taken by the government to guarantee implementation and spread of "safe" right type, as it claims. it is essential to pressure groups.

Going back to your argument. love, raising awareness, education, bringing this issue to public discussion, etcetera, are majors factor in putting an end to this crime.

That must coincides with the selection of right knowledgeable local people who will shoulder this task carefully, peacefully and patiently.

The cure process must include all community members including males, victims and practitioners.

Dearest Janice,

FGM is an old cultural practice dates back to at least 16 centuries ago, it is practiced by all members of communities, but is widespread among Muslims. I recently read some articles stating that migrants brought FGM to the United States of America, and it is practice under ritual beliefs.

Far from formal support, I believe this practice will disappear one day. It actually did among Sudanese elite. I remember one more thing.. in this post I attached a photo of a Sudanese midwife. Look at the scars on her checks and the tattoo of her lower lip. In the past, these signs which done by ignorant practitioners, were considered important tools and signs of beautification and tribal distinction. they differ from a tribe to another. But with the help of media and religious pioneering scholars, they have disappeared in most parts of Sudan.

love and hugs,

Halima

Nusrat Ara
Aug 04, 2009
Aug 04, 2009

Forgive me but I am tempted to say Out of Love- My foot. You know there is wise saying used often here ' it is a woman who makes the live of a woman miserable' I have often found this so true. And we are doing this in the name of religion. We often mix culture and religion. FGM is a cultural practice and there are lot of things in our culture here also which we think of as religious. Why do we lack the understanding and why do women have to bear the brunt of these misinterpretations.

We are taught to be submissive, to be meek, to always compromise, to tolerate everything , to be shy, to suffer violenceand much more all in the name of love. And it is a woman teaching this is the ultimate tragedy because she is the only one who can understand how it feels

Halima Rahman
Jun 13, 2014
Jun 13, 2014

Dearest sister Nusrat,

I experienced your feelings when I was reading the story of the Somali little girl.. Believe me I tried three times to finish the story. Every time I failed, though I was in the same position as her. It seems that we need to see the matter through some body's ,mirror. I did.

Thank you so much for raising the issue of submission, tolerance and compromise..It doesn't matter which is which..males or females (actually sometimes it matters). Since we are Muslims we are all supposed to be submissive, and brought to be so, which is not supposed to be so.

I aboustely aggree with you that women are responsible in many cases of the misery in which other women evolve. In spite of this i do sympathize with them because they, too, are victims of ignorance, illiteracy, ubringing..etecetra.

Dearest sister,

Fighting against FGM, in Sudan now, means fighting against RELIGION AND CULTURAL IDENTITY...A difficult combination..Most people will not give up easily. THIS IS THE HEART OF THE PROBLEM.

Love,

Halima

Ameena Beegum
Aug 04, 2009
Aug 04, 2009
Below is an eyewitness account of what is done to all Somali girls because men still

today refuse marriage with an uninfibulated, or what is called "open", bride. And without marriage there is no future for a girl:

The child, completely naked, is made to sit on a low stool. Several women take hold of her and open her legs wide. After separating her outer and inner lips, the operator, usually a woman experienced in this procedure, sits down facing the child. With her kitchen knife the operator first pierces and slices open the hood of the clitoris. Then she begins to cut it out. While another woman wipes off the blood with a rag, the operator digs with her sharp fingernail a hole the length of the clitoris to detach and pull out the organ. The little girl, held down by the women helpers, screams in extreme pain; but no one pays the slightest attention. The operator finishes this job by entirely pulling out the clitoris, cutting it to the bone with her knife. Her helpers again wipe off the spurting blood with a rag. The operator then removes the remaining flesh, digging with her finger to remove any remnant of the clitoris among the flowing blood. The neighbor women are then invited to plunge their fingers into the bloody hole to verify that every piece of the clitoris is removed.

This operation is not always well-managed, as the little girl struggles. It often happens that by clumsy use of the knife or a poorly-executed cut the urethra is pierced or the rectum is cut open. If the little girl faints, the women blowpili-pili (spice powder) into her nostrils. But this is not the end. The most important part of the operation begins only now. After a short moment, the woman takes the knife again and cuts off the inner lips (labia minora) of the victim. The helpers again wipe the blood with their rags. Then the operator, with a swift motion of her knife, begins to scrape the skin from the inside of the large lips.

The operator conscientiously scrapes the flesh of the screaming child without the slightest concern for the extreme pain she inflicts. When the wound is large enough, she adds some lengthwise cuts and several more incisions. The neighbor women carefully watch her 'work' and encourage her.

The child now howls even more. Sometimes in a spasm, children bite off their tongues. The women carefully watch to prevent such an accident. When her tongue flops out, they throw spice powder on it, which provokes an instant pulling back. With the abrasion of the skin completed according to the rules, the operator closes the bleeding large lips and fixes them one against the other with long acacia thorns.

At this stage of the operation the child is so exhausted that she stops crying but often has convulsions. The women then force down her throat a concoction of plants.

Halima Rahman
Aug 04, 2009
Aug 04, 2009

Ameena,

It is regrettabel to say that the situation of somali women regarding FGM is similar to that of women of my homeland. Am so sad.. so sad..this practice should be stopped right now. Thank you for providing ur email.. I will keep contact with you..

Emma Miriam
Aug 04, 2009
Aug 04, 2009

Dear Halima,

Thank you so much for sharing your story and for openly discussing such a sensitive issue. I am a volunteer who has started the Female Genital Cutting News Blog at http://fgcdailynews.blogspot.com/ to track all news stories related to the practice of FGC, as I feel that awareness and education are the first steps towards change. I would also like to mention that success stories are out there- especially the work of Tostan, an NGO based in Senegal and working in 8 countries in West and East Africa (www.tostan.org). Their respectful approach and human rights-based, community-led program has led to the abandonment of FGC by thousands of communities across West and East Africa. A recent UNICEF evaluation shows that it's really working, and the international community is increasingly following this model, which is exciting since so many are impacted by this practice.

Thanks again for discussing this important issue!

Emma

Halima Rahman
Aug 05, 2009
Aug 05, 2009

Dear Emma,

Nice to meet a volunteer woman with rich experience in this field. Congratulation for the success of your continuous efforts to eradicata this practice. Senegal is considered among the most African countries witnessing steadily fast decline of this practice. Mabrook (CONGRATULATIONS).

I browsed the link of the tostan website and discoved that my country is among the 10 African countries included in the holistic 30-month education program. This a good opportunity to have contact and cooperation, if there is any, with dear sister Ameena who has contributed to this issue by publishing the newsletter issued in 2002 by the Sudanese Women's Rights Group (SWRG)

Love,

Halima

jodelight
Aug 04, 2009
Aug 04, 2009

Dearest Halima,

My eyes welled with tears as I read your entry. I know that female genital mutilation is still done in many parts of the world, but I have never read someone's personal story. From the deepest places of my heavy heart I want to thank you for sharing your life story, and your knowledge of this. I can see that this extremely painful act has not hindered your will to change these practices and make a better life for women everywhere. Thank you for providing much needed knowledge about FGM to all of us. You have moved me to do whatever I can, to be a voice in stopping this act. Thank you also for explaining why this practice is done. I understand that it is part of a set of customs and beliefs. Practices that have been done for ages of time are very difficult to change. I know that this can change. Thank you for giving so many women a voice about this issue.

I send you a warm embrace near sister.

in solidarity, Jody

Halima Rahman
Nov 21, 2012
Nov 21, 2012

Dear Jody,

"You have moved me to do whatever I can, to be a voice in stopping this act"

You made may day..Your sentence which I have quoted above has a magic effect on me. it has filled me with joy and happiness

Having gained an understanding and loving person who his willing to fight against this practice was beyond my expectations.. I am so delighted . I can address victim of this atrocity telling them that I have voiced difficulties facing them and that "some ones are listening and reacting".

Again thank you so much..

Lots of love,

Halima

Ameena Beegum
Aug 05, 2009
Aug 05, 2009

Dear Halima

I would like to know your email address Where are you now ? with love Ameena beegum
Halima Rahman
Aug 05, 2009
Aug 05, 2009

Dearest Ameena.

Email address already sent.

Halima

Sharese
Aug 06, 2009
Aug 06, 2009

Halima,

Thank you very very much for sharing your story, information about FGM and giving hope and advice on how we can press ahead to end this horrible practice.

You are a strong, brilliant light! I too believe that talking, and dramatizing, and talking, and making art, and talking, and screaming out, and letting our voices be heard, in having a dialogue and in talking and talking and talking about the situation (especially to those in power) is how we can begin to move forward to a world without FGM.

You, are wonderful. Thank you again for your story, your information and most of all your inspiration.

Peace and love,

Sharese

Halima Rahman
Aug 10, 2009
Aug 10, 2009

Dear Sharese,

Million thanks for reading my post and sharing these comments, which i appreciate so much. Fighting against social practices is the toughest fight. You gave me a strong push tonever give up the fight and continue fighting to the last day of my life. This is not an individual suffering.. Regrettably it it is mass suffering.. An endless generations of suffering with slightest or no glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.

WE SHOULD STOP THIS PRACTICE BY ALL MEANS.

love,

Halima

julia sawi
Aug 13, 2009
Aug 13, 2009

I couldn't read all of it at once , I had to read each part separately . I gess no word can describe what I feel , and THANK YOU VERY MUCH now I know the ugly , sad and disappointing truth .

Halima Rahman
Aug 14, 2009
Aug 14, 2009

Dear Julia,

Thank you so much for reading my post and sharing this comment. I am so happy that you have joined this great website and am quite sure that you will enjoy every moment you pass here. I khow you are am ambitious young girl and you have a lot to say.

Lots of love

Halima

Obisakin Busayo
Aug 14, 2009
Aug 14, 2009

Hi Halima, I will like to join others and say indeed you are an agent of change. I know by God"s grace we will find that future when this urgly situation will be a thing of the past. You are already treading the part that lead to that future by your courageous posting. Even though my own mutilation was done when i was a baby, the impact is still there in so many ways. I know one day light will surface at the end of the tunnel. Thanks very much for your story, God will continue to strengthen you.

Halima Rahman
Aug 14, 2009
Aug 14, 2009

Dearest Busayo,

I 'm so sad that you have joined me in undergoing such a terrible experience, and quite sure you will already have started changing the situation, starting from your own family.. Although the journey will be very very long.. i'm quite sure one day our ancestors will enjoy a world without FGM and that the future will be much more sweeter and free of such atrocities. let us start from now and work toward a world free of excision..

Love and hugs,

Halima

Lycia Ora
Aug 14, 2009
Aug 14, 2009

Querida Halima - Thank you for your courage and bravery in sharing your story with us and having us bear witness to your pain, which is now our collective pain. FGM continues to be a form of sexual violence inflicted on so many girls. But as they pointed out so bluntly in the recent human rights film "Mrs. Goundo's Daughter", unless you attack the cultural assumptions that allow such a vicious practice to continue to exist, laws will be avoided, circumvented, and unenforced. Your courage in speaking out about this is helping to do just that - challenge the culture and spark much needed dialogue.

Thank you - Natasha

Halima Rahman
Aug 15, 2009
Aug 15, 2009

Dear Natasha,

You made my day... thank you so much for sharing this important comment which draws my attention to the social factor. Yes we should concentrate on atrocities supported and legalized by cultural notions. in my country cultural component is the most strongest factor..future fighting needs an intelligent tactics, especially with recent development which associated it with religious concepts..

love,

Halima

Ameena Beegum
Aug 15, 2009
Aug 15, 2009

This is a copy of a mail i received from my friend

Circumcised while working in Somalia

At the age of 23 (in the 1970s), I took up a teaching post with a VSO type organisation near Mogadishu in Somalia. It was on the last week of school that I was introduced to Wallanna, a small lady who spoke no English. She did not look like much of a midwife, but was presentable enough. She asked through Abdi when my period was due which I thought was an odd request. When I said it had just started, she said the operation would be in 5 days. This was the first time I had heard Abdi use the term ‘operation’ and I felt decidedly uneasy. I had to pay for it in advance, which I thought was a bit off. It was on the Saturday that Abdi, Wallanna, and four other women arrived at my apartment. I felt really nervous, they were all very quiet. Talking through Abdi, Wallanna said I was to lay a plastic sheet on the bed as there would be some blood. I had not prepared for this at all and only had bags for household waste. The other women made up the bed while I was told to undress which felt highly embarrassing. When Wallanna saw me undressed she called to Abdi, who said I should have been shaven. By now I felt frightened, but was not really in a position to back down. Abdi shaved me, looked on disapprovingly by Wallanna, saying that all pubic hair should be removed once a week. I was then led over to the bed which was half covered in black plastic, and told to lie on my back towards the foot of the bed with my knees in the air. Wallanna opened a well used doctor’s briefcase and pulled out a small plastic box. I could see various instruments, but no syringes. I asked about anaesthetic, but Abdi said that there would be no need. I was getting really apprehensive. I had to pull my ankles right up towards my bottom, then I saw why Wallanna had brought so many ‘helpers’. One grabbed hold of each leg, and one each arm. It was like being held in a vice. Abdi put her hands on my shoulders and told me to keep as still as possible. I simply couldn’t believe I had ended up in this position. I suppose I could have 'called a halt', but for whatever reason, I didn't. Wallanna started prodding and pulling at my genitalia then suddenly I felt an incredible pain which just seemed to get progressively worse and worse. It was like my vagina was being sawn away. I remember the pain coming in waves not unlike what I later experienced during childbirth, where the pain reaches a sort of ‘plateau’. I don’t remember screaming but I am sure I must have. I closed my eyes and just wished it would finish. Being overwhelmed by such agony was like going through a dark, dark tunnel, desperate to get to the end. Although I was held firm, Abdi said later that I remained absolutely rigid. After what seemed like an age, I thought it was over. I opened my eyes to see Wallanna with a needle. I didn’t say anything and closed my eyes again. I don’t think I passed out although I don’t remember Wallanna or her assistants leaving. Abdi brought me some water, and suggested I sit up. I tried and immediately fell back again. The area between my legs was in agony, and moving made it worse. Eventually I forced myself to get up so the bed could be made with clean sheets. I collapsed down and went to sleep. When I awoke, Abdi was gone, and I needed to go to the toilet. Walking was difficult, and all around my vagina felt like it was on fire. Urinating was unbearable. Abdi came back just as I was getting back to my bed. She said that all was well but that I should not move my legs too much; as if there was any danger of that. I had six stitches, and these were removed by Abdi after the first week. She said that the operation went perfectly, that I should be proud to be a ‘clean women’ and that Wallanna was an excellent midwife as she was one of the few to use a needle and thread as most still used thorns. Looking back, I don’t ever remember being angry with Abdi for being less than frank about what circumcision involved, probably because I think she had acted with the best of intentions, and I certainly couldn’t fault the care she gave after the operation. It had been conscientious and heartfelt. I did ask however why she didn’t tell me that circumcision would be so painful. Her reply was very profound, deliberate, and has stayed with me all these years; Pain is a part of life, and bearing pain gives a woman strength. After nearly three weeks of Abdi looking after me, I finally looked down at the result. Although a lot of the pubic hair had grown back I could see that I had a thick scar where my vagina had been. There was a hole left near my perineum, about the size of my index finger. It was many months later before I found out the proper name for my ‘minor operation’ was infibulation. The sewing up of my vagina was to preserve my virginity which was ironic I had already experienced a long sexual relationship before starting my teaching post. I remember Abdi using a very Christian term to describe why my vagina had been closed; it was to prevent ‘sin’, and I suppose I did feel for the first time that perhaps my earlier sexual relationship had been a mistake. I left for my summer break several weeks late, having told my parents that I was 'sightseeing' . It took about 8 weeks for the scar to heal completely, although I was never inclined to open my legs too far or even touch the scar. I think it was then that I realized that the operation had made more than just a physical change. I felt apathy towards sex. I had always felt a ‘physical desire’ of some sorts but this was now completely absent. When I returned to Mogadishu I was ‘respected like a hero’, and perhaps only then did I begin to think of my sacrifice as being worthwhile. The second year went very fast. I loved it, and was truly sorry when I had to leave. I had planned to 'open' the infibulation when I finally returned home, but for various reasons I left it intact. Six months later, I got a job as a teacher, and began courting a man who later became my husband. After a year of courting, we decided we would marry. When I explained my state of ‘chastity’ to my husband-to-be he was completely supportive, and after some discussion we agreed that there would be no pre-marital sex, and that my vagina would remain closed until our marriage, which was 11 moths later. Although I was no virgin, I enjoyed feeling chaste. Originally, we had both thought that the infibulation should be opened some weeks before our wedding but this simply never happened, and in the end, the scar was cut through on our wedding night by my husband with a scalpel. This proved not as painful as I expected as the scar tissue was not sensitive and was quite thin. Our first sexual act was quite uncomfortable, and not without blood, but within a week all was fine. As I was now in a position to see inside my vagina, I read up on female anatomy so as to understand what had been removed. I had no clitoris, surrounding prepuce, or inner labia. My outer labia had also been cut back to allow the sides to join. The inside of my vagina was smooth and rather dry. I couldn’t really make out where the various bits had been so perhaps Abdi was right about Wallanna’s skill as a surgeon. I can see why a circumcised vagina is often described as ‘clean’, and with that thought in mind, I took a razor and shaved off all my pubic hair, which I have done once a week ever since. Abdi had suggested I should never touch inside my vagina, and apart from that one ‘inspection’, I never have.

Halima Rahman
Nov 21, 2012
Nov 21, 2012

Oh my guard! My guard! I am speechless...I don't know what to say.. It seems this lady is crazy to allow having herself circumcised at this age! Why did she choose to be severed At 23 YEAR-OLD? impossible. I would like to know some information about her...her nationality? cultural background? status of education? why did she accept to have this operation done on her while she seemed empty headed of the post circumcision complications: urinating, marital relations or " apathy towards sex", delivering a child and above all:REPETITION OF RE-INFIBULATION WITH EVERY DELIVERY, AND MAY BE ON very HONEY MOON FIRST NIGHT.

I will be back to this story soon after with deifferent mood.

Nusrat Ara
Aug 17, 2009
Aug 17, 2009

Congratulations dear.

Halima Rahman
Aug 19, 2009
Aug 19, 2009

Dearest Nustrat,

Thank you so much dear friend.

Love

Halima

Gifty Pearl Correspondent
Aug 18, 2009
Aug 18, 2009

Congratulations Halima!

Halima Rahman
Aug 19, 2009
Aug 19, 2009

Gifty,

You are a dynamic journalist with bright future..thank you so much.

Love,

Halima

mamaAfrica
Aug 18, 2009
Aug 18, 2009

Hello Halima

Congratulations!!!! Keep it up.

mamaAfrica

Halima Rahman
Aug 19, 2009
Aug 19, 2009

mamaAfrica,

Dearest Grand Royal of mother Africa, thank you so much. You have written a great assignment. I read it many times . every time I admire you journey and struggle to build your character and have a prominent career.

Love,

Halima

Gertrude Pswarayi
Aug 20, 2009
Aug 20, 2009

Oh, Halima. My dearest Halima. I read your frontline journal and i was touched. No wonder why the editors selected your journal for publication. I would have done the same and i would put your story as the lead story.

Powerful, shocking and toutching is how i would describe your Frontline Journal. You made me experience the pain that you went through in "the name of love" or to make you "clean". Your journal has clearly reaveled that culture and religious beliefs can be used to violate women's sexual rights. Women have little or no body control. No women should ever go through this horrific experience.

I could even feel the "fat hands" of the woman who cut you and the other holding my thighs. I felt imprisoned and powerlessas you lay on the old matresses with your head on that woman's lap.

But, Halima, you showed that you have the power to change the world and being selected as one of the correspondes is one of the indicators. This is symbolised by the way you kicked and screamed as the three women violated your sexual rights unlike the other who did not scream.

Let me say that your Frontline Journal is screaming and calling for the world to end FGM and the violation of women's sexual rights.

Well done!

With lots of admiration and respect.

Gertrude Pswarayi

Halima Rahman
Aug 22, 2009
Aug 22, 2009

Dearest Gertrude,

Thank you so much for your rich and intense comment. Congrats for your assignment of month 1 ...Let me tell you something dear Gertrude, I am one of your fans. I admire your writings and the informative rich way in which you express your ideas and thoughts.

Unfortunately this practice is carried out on girls when they are so young and week to defend themselves or express their rejection. Unfortunate that parents are the ones who strive to have this custom carried out on their daughters, bearing in mind that they are doing them good because-as they believe- this inalienable part of their femininity, faith and cultural identity. As victim of such harmful practice, i will do my best to fight against it by all means.

Love and hugs,

Halima

siti rahmawati
Aug 21, 2009
Aug 21, 2009

dear Halima I cant stand to read your post..it hurt. To make a girl clean? In the name of Allah...that's brutality I am a Moslem, but in my country there's no such ritual like this

we can make the world to change

Love- Rahma-

Halima Rahman
Aug 22, 2009
Aug 22, 2009

Dear Rahma,

Thank you so much for reading my article and sharing this comment.

As you know this practice has nothing to do with religion.. It is a cultural practice that humiliates women and renders them into mere objects. Unfortunately it is practiced worldwide, among Muslims, Christians and animists. It is high time to stop it. We should work hard to stop it right now.

Love,

Halima

Ameena Beegum
Aug 24, 2009
Aug 24, 2009

EGYPT: INFIBULATION ON 11 YEAR-OLD, 1ST CHARGES BROUGHT (ANSAmed) - ROME, AUGUST 14 - An Egyptian man has been charged with practicing female circumcision on an 11 year-old girl, reports the website of TV station Al Arabiya today. Ahmed Gad al-Karim, 69 year-old, is the first person to be tried for this type of procedure since an Egyptian law came into effect which treats all types of female genital mutilation as a crime. The law, which was passed in 2008, was fiercely criticised by the Islamic Brotherhood and by supporters of the Egyptian parliament, who maintained that they supported the practice as "conforming to Sharia law (Islamic law) and protecting the chastity of women". However, the Islamic Institution responsible for religious opinion (Dar al-Iftaa) responded by saying that female genital mutilation is not part of the Islamic culture. Ahmed Gad al-Karim is accused of practicing infibulation after requests by the girl's family. He was paid USD 27, according to investigators, for performing the operation, and used a standard scalpel during the operation. The girl was admitted to the local hospital in Minya, 600 km south of Cairo immediately afterwards, fighting for her life. "The Government must protect Egyptian women so that they can grow up in a healthy environment" said Cairòs Public Prosecutor. "Despite the Egyptian law against female genital mutilation, many women all over Egypt still undergo this kind of operation". Female genital mutilation in all its forms, including the most serious, like infibulation, is practiced in Egypt and in the other 27 African nations, both by Muslims and Christians, and contrary to popular belief it has no religious basis. (ANSAmed). 2009-08-14 14:48

Kamal
Dec 06, 2009
Dec 06, 2009

Halima,

Nice to read your piece after so many years since Sudanow! As usual, it is immaculate. Further, it so effectively serves a noble cause. One more submission: since my first participation in a campaign against FGM back in the late 1970s at my home town in Sudan, through several other events on the same line, your article is the most powerful written word ever on this subject. Your ex-coleague (my wife) shares the same impression and we both wish you all the best.

Ahmed Kamal El-Din

Kim Holl
Mar 02, 2010
Mar 02, 2010

Only now in March of 2010 have your words and your truth reached me. My eyes scanned the page with agonizing belief. I felt the pain in my own body and wondered why the world does not cry out even more to stop FGM. The more I read the more I realized the apathy of the world. How easy it can be for people to hide behind the veil of ignorance and create the illusion of an easy life. Most importantly though, your courage, dedication and desire to expose the truth shines brightly and serves as a beckon for all of us who aspire to make a difference in our world.

Many blessings for your journey and thank you so much for sharing your story.

Much Love, Kim

Andrea Arzaba
Sep 11, 2010
Sep 11, 2010

Your story must be heard!!!

I have read stories on the news, or even watched some documentaries but what you write is just beyond anything I have ever seen. I would like to quote your excellent beginning:

"It seems that in Sudan anything is possible. For a girl to be circumcised one day and have the same operation repeated the next day because a grandmother or aunt is not satisfied with the cut is sadly not uncommon."

I DID NOT KNOW IT WAS THAT BAD!!! If they are not satisfied???

Oh GOD! THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY! I know it must be painful.

Blessings to you my dear!

Peace, Andrea

Miriama Brown
Sep 12, 2010
Sep 12, 2010

oh my goodness my dear Halima! As I read through your article I tried imagining myself going through what you had?oh my is all I can say..and to think that that kind of mutilation is still done even as we speak:( it is so sad i cannot help but to cry out for you and to all the poor sisters who has to go through that:( i pray for this severe heartbreaking torture to end!!thank you for sharing your story my dear for it brings to our attention even here in the Pacific of how life is so much harder out there and I pray and hope that God will demolish that kind of terror from our lives!

You take care my sweet and go hard on being the voice of so many that cannot speak for themselves:) God Bless us always! xx Miri

NI AYE
Sep 14, 2010
Sep 14, 2010

Hi Halima Just hearing can not express how I am feeling on that terrible pain and the closet interpretation is my sincere strong sympathy to your dreadful suffering. I want to identify that was a hell on earth. Shall we find the solution to save our new generation? Thank you so much for letting me know about this issue of cruelty.

With Love

NI NI AYE

Shimone Robinson
Sep 16, 2010
Sep 16, 2010

Dear Halima,

I've noticed that I'm probably one of youngest ladies on this website, but I'm loving this because you all have already taught me so much! Im 19 years old and have been completely inspired by your story that it brought me to tears! Being young myself I could not imagine what this must be like but just the thought literally hurts. I just want to let you know that I really appreciate you for posting this and that it's inspiring and informing stories like this that make my generation want to better the future. Thank you so much :)

Shimone Robinson
Sep 16, 2010
Sep 16, 2010

Dear Halima,

I've noticed that I'm probably one of youngest ladies on this website, but I'm loving this because you all have already taught me so much! Im 19 years old and have been completely inspired by your story that it brought me to tears! Being young myself I could not imagine what this must be like but just the thought literally hurts. I just want to let you know that I really appreciate you for posting this and that it's inspiring and informing stories like this that make my generation want to better the future. Thank you so much :)

-Shimone R.

Shivalaxmi Arumugham
Sep 16, 2010
Sep 16, 2010

People say we can never feel the pain of the suffering of a person. Though I have not physically experienced i can feel how painful that would be. You have got a wonderful voice to raise your personal feelings. I am recently learning about Female genital Mutilation that is prevalent in African countries like Kenya, Somalia, sudan, Egypt in Anthropology class. Your post has given lot of insights to me! Obviously there are other muslims who do not possess this tradition. This made me think what actually leads people to practice these traditions. The role of NGOs are really great and all women need to join hands to make them understand about women's basic human rights!

I appreciate your voice with whole heart!. Salute you dear!

Wish you all success! Shivalaxmi Arumugham Asian University for Women Bangladesh

Halima Rahman
Oct 01, 2010
Oct 01, 2010

Dear Shivalaxmi,

The first organs that started fighting FGM in Sudan were the NGOs. For more than 60 years, they had contributed a lot to the partial eradication of this practice and were very courageous to approach a taboo issue at the time. Unfortunately the situation has dramatically changed. The government is currently in favor of what is called mild type of FGM (N. 3 and 4, mainly type 4). This official support will blow off all previous efforts and lay down the foundation stone again for the return of this practice with all its complications and damage to girls and women.

I am thankful for the opportunity you have given me to speak about the NGOs role in my homeland and how the government's decision will complicate the whole situation and bring it back to square one.

Lots of love,

Halima

Oct 01, 2010
Oct 01, 2010
This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
NI AYE
Sep 17, 2010
Sep 17, 2010

Hi Halima This is my second time to write to you My first comment last week might have been lost because of my technical barrier. I don't want want to miss the chance to talk to you. I believe you have already positively changed the world to some extent by your voice. For me even just a hearing caused me pain a lot and I deeply sympathized your suffering. It was like 'Hell on Earth' for a very gentle and delicate girl. I almost cry to see the picture. I am sure all people who heard your story have the same feeling.I like your intelligence and courage to share your story.You look very smart and lovely by the way.

Love

NI NI AYE

Halima Rahman
Oct 01, 2010
Oct 01, 2010

Dear NI NI AYE,

Heartfelt gratitude for your effortless trials to overcome technical barriers, sending out your comment and getting connected with me. I admire your persistance to pass and share these warm words and feelings, and like the title you have given to this bad habbit: Hell on Earth.

Many t thanx for last lovely compliment.

Shukrun (thanx),

Halima

NI AYE
Oct 02, 2010
Oct 02, 2010

Dear Halima

I am so glad to be connected . We become friends because we have in common in beliefs I suppose. I am sure we can make a better world through our strong voices and by our commitments. I am so happy to be part of World Pulse so I take my time to come here as much as possible. For next week from Monday to Thursday, I have to sit for my first semester exam and I might delay to reply some messages. I will come quickly soon after the exam though.I want to talk to you more.

Best Regards

NI NI AYE.

warona
Sep 18, 2010
Sep 18, 2010

Hi there! your story moved me so much,anyway thank you for sharing this i never knew that there are such kind of practices.May you be strong in everyday of your life.God has seen your endevours,you are so beautiful,how can people rob you your rights.Oh my God my sister i love you.Be of a good courage.

With all my heart i wish you all the best in life

Warona

Halima Rahman
Sep 30, 2010
Sep 30, 2010

Dearest Warona,

Thank you so much for highlighting on this part of robbing child’s rights. I am so happy that you are now aware on another type of violence committed in the name of tradition and religion. Yes religion too! Again many thanx for your lovely comment that made me smile year to year, hoping that my husband shares the same feeling with you and sees me as beautiful as in the olden days (Looking for smiley faces in vain). You made my day sis!

Regards,

Halima

tocssfoundation
Sep 18, 2010
Sep 18, 2010

Wao! Hosh! This is woman injustice to woman. My sister you have literally deflated the expanding ballon of FGM by sharing your story.This story, even though I was unable to complete ... because of the pain in my heart as I read, is definitely a golden piece of change in Sudan.I can't believe that in addition to all the trauma caused by natural and man-made low life conditions in Sudan, religion and culture are not sparing the girls who will birth the new Sudan.How wil they?-When this practice tortures the psyche of the victims.

In fact, I lack words at this point.You won't believe that a part of Nigeria where FGM is practised, the cultural reason for it is that it will daunt infidelity and encourage marital loyalty.The Urobo tribe in the Southern part of Nigeria is an example of the Nigerian people who practise FGM and they abuse the victims from ages 18 upward( Celebration of womanhood).When an Urobo girl refuses, she does not only become an outcast but the young men refuse to marry such a "cursed maiden".

Great work Halima( I love your name...but I don't know the meaning) In Nigeria, with passionate activist like you working on FGM, the practice is gradually becoming unpopular especially in the Urban areas. I want to echo it, STOP FGM, STOP IT NOW.

Loads of love Temidayo

Halima Rahman
Sep 30, 2010
Sep 30, 2010

Dear tocssfoundation,

You have put it correctly: it is woman injustice to woman. The case of FGM in Nigeria, with little effort can be controllable, because victims are mutated at an age (18) that they are old and big enough and can fight back to defend themselves, contrary to Sudan where this practice takes place at tiny age (between 6-10 -year-old). Victims are always incapable to defend themselves. Let us put our hands together, sit down and work out a strategy to eradicate and uproot this inhumane practice for ever. By the way my name means patience, tolerance with a religious background, though it is not an islamic name: the first lady who breast-fed prophet Muhammed (PBUH) was called Halima Saadiya. I was named after my late grand-mother who died when my father was a tiny child. And because I was the first female child in my family I have to bear her name according to tradition. This is not the situation nowadays.

I enjoyed reading your comment and sharing your sincere feelings. Thanx sis. Your words touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

Love and hugs,

Halima

heatherstone
Sep 20, 2010
Sep 20, 2010

Dear Halima

I could not stay seated as I read your detailed story. I have spoken to numerous people within my circle informing them of FGM and how they can be part of the fight, however I never truly knew the extent of pain, physical and emotionally. I commend you for your strength. I admire the BEING you are. As i am writing this tears are welling in my eyes and in my mind echoes: never, never again shall it be.

Halima Rahman
Sep 30, 2010
Sep 30, 2010

Dear Heatherstone,

Thank you so much for passing, reading, sharing this wonderful comment of passing the information on FGM to a large number of people . I appreciate your efforts of getting them engaged in the fight against this harmful practise. Indeed am so happy that you did so. You have contributed to shedding light on part of women sufferings and bringing them closer.

Let all of us, You, your friends, pulsers, women around the globe and I strongly oppose FGM and put our hands together repeat loudly: NEVER, NEVER AGAIN SHALL IT BE!!

In friendship,

Halima

melaniedavis94
May 16, 2011
May 16, 2011

It's like the future of human race is vague. Without the female genes nothing is certain about the future or there will be no future.

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Rabab Baldo
Jun 13, 2011
Jun 13, 2011

Dear Friends and colleagues We have an FGM petition launched on the online petition website with the following link: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/femalecircumcision/We would be grateful if you would join us and sign as well as spread the word about it to stop FGM.

Best Regards.

Rabab Baldo
Jun 13, 2011
Jun 13, 2011

I salute you, dear Halima on your courage, to share your experience with others, so that people get the feeling of the pain and suffering of young girl and only 6 years old. FGM is a crime against humanity and should be considered as one. I am so proud of you, taking the front line to fight against FGM, to save the life of the young sisters (Muslim, Christian and non-believers).

Your story reminded me with a friend who stood up in an international conference on FGM and said “We hate our mothers, we hate our grandmothers who practiced FGM on us” they tortured us at early age.

My concern now is that how best we can work together to stop this violation, with all the efforts and resources that are put to fight FGM, still we find some people and most of them are decision makers are promoting it. Add to this, it became a source of income and a means of livelihood for the majority of midwives and doctors. Let us think loudly and find a way to address it. Any ideas are more than welcomed Rabab Baldo

sibongile zgambo
Sep 06, 2011
Sep 06, 2011

Halima, i have read you story, its so touching and in my heart i felt pain so much knowing that you went through such painful time in your childhood . This practice in africa has to be stopped indeed. Women are not objects nor tools to be used and abused like that.

Am so concerned with the part of a married woman you just talked about in your story that her husband forced her to go through FGM process and immediately after being circumcised she was forced to have intercourse with her man, oh God, that is evil, so evil and so inhumane.

She was not treated like a woman but like an object or a tool that does not feel pain at all. Both men and women in africa need to be civic educated on the rights of women , they need to know how to treat women like human beings, who have feelings just like them. And the women in our societies , need to understand that some of these cultural practices only infringe upon one's rights and they have to be stopped. Am against the FGM in africa because God made us beautiful with what we have in our bodies and no-body should take away what the creator gave us as women right at birth. We are women because of the biological nature of our sex organs and i strongly condemn such acts even though in Malawi we do not have such traditions being practiced. Malawi does not practice Female Genital Mutilation .

LADIES, LADIES, LADIES, YOU AND ME, LETS FIGHT FOR THE RIGHTS OF OUR FELLOW WOMEN WHO ARE SUFFERING IN SILENCE, WHO DO NOT HAVE A VOICE ON WHAT EVER THEY ARE GOING THROUGH.

Lets fight and change the world, let the women enjoy their rights just like men.Both men and women are human beings. Sibongile.

Love you Halima. You are a star girl because you survived all that and here you are sharing your story with me.

Carlotta
Sep 06, 2011
Sep 06, 2011

I am so very sorry for the pain you suffered and the pain that young girls continue to suffer in countries where FGM is practiced. I'm sure you made quite a few enemies exposing the practice but i salute you for your courage. Thank you so much for sharing, this issue is no longer abstract for me. God bless you.

sunbo55
Sep 08, 2011
Sep 08, 2011

Halima you are realy a brave woman but if your grandmother, mother and aunties are the one incharge of the mutilation . They thought they are doing the right thing. My suggestion to this problem is that you need to set up an educational toolkit for the women and present it to them and seek for legislation against this from your Government. Women need freedom in their immediate environment .

Usha K.C.
Sep 12, 2011
Sep 12, 2011

Hello Halima sis,, how are you dear? though it's late to read I caught it today. I really could not read all dear. My eyes could not stop to rain. when i saw pics of small girl lying i imagined my daughter ,, she is like same as her.

My god !! how cruel practices!!!! can not even imagine!!! but sister you are coragous you tolarated all those pain even in such a tender age and more over you show your bravery making your vlice loud against this practices .

Wish , I never ever hear such practice in the name of god,in the name of culture!!

Usha K.C.
Sep 12, 2011
Sep 12, 2011

Hello Halima sis,, how are you dear? though it's late to read I caught it today. I really could not read all dear. My eyes could not stop to rain. when i saw pics of small girl lying i imagined my daughter ,, she is like same as her.

My god !! how cruel practices!!!! can not even imagine!!! but sister you are coragous you tolarated all those pain even in such a tender age and more over you show your bravery making your vlice loud against this practices .

Wish , I never ever hear such practice in the name of god,in the name of culture!!

Halima Rahman
Feb 13, 2012
Feb 13, 2012

Dearest usha kc,

Thank you so much for passing, reading and sharing this comment. As you put it, it is a cruel practice that should be eradicated to day. I believe that is this is a wishful thinking. In real life, things don't go like that. Because, in such cases the practice is going on and will continue publicly and in hide.

AS a child, I didn't realize what was going on? why I was nicknamed coward? why should it be done at that tiny age? Questions I used to ask myself wen I grew up and discovered the dimension of the problem I was/ I am facing, and will always face.

FGM, is spread worldwide, but in Muslim societies it is associated with religion, this may explain, why it is difficult to approach this issue and fight it. Lately, this cruel practice has been supported and backed by the sitting government.

Love,

Halima

Aminah
Apr 03, 2013
Apr 03, 2013

I don't know what to think.

I am glad that I came across your post through Voices of Our Future program for this year. I have heard about FGM but never really have taken a moment to read on it. I guess I never realized it was such a huge problem as I personally have not witnessed it neither have heard much about it in my own community.

But that's not the right mind set - I agree. We need to be able to empathize with other people and their plight as much as were care about our well being. Thank you for explaining it in such simple terms - the message profound. It takes a lot of courage and strength to share personal experiences.

I wish you and your effort all the best

Betsy Teutsch
Jul 01, 2013
Jul 01, 2013

I am quoting your ending to this powerful essay in my upcoming book!http://www.womensglobaltoolkit.com/2013/04/alternative-rites-of-passage-...

Halima Rahman
Jan 13, 2016
Jan 13, 2016

Dear Aminah,

wa alaiki as-salam,

I sincerely thank you so much for your words and support!

God bless you!

Halima

Halima Rahman
Jan 13, 2016
Jan 13, 2016

Dear Betsy Teutsch,

I hope it is not too late! If so, please feel free to do so!

Halima

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