No Pleasure

2019

I’m 25 years old.
I was circumcised when I was 11.
I was in the fifth grade then.
I knew what they were going to do,
But I didn’t know anything about sex at the time,
Or how FGM would affect my ability to have sex.

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Let’s Find a Midwife

2019

I was a little older at the time.
I was in the seventh grade when mama took me to a gynecologist.
The doctor said, verbatim, “she doesn’t need to be circumcised.”
I understood what they were talking about,
What they wanted to do to me.
“The doctor said I don’t need it,” I told them.
“We know better than the doctor,” my aunt retorted

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Baba Beats Me Up For Being Fat

2019

Baba used to beat me up for being fat.
When I was around 13 or 14,
Mama was convinced that I won’t get married because I’m overweight.
body image, bullying, beauty standards, physical violence

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Almost Lost Consciousness

2017

I used to love someone.
We worked together.
I really admired his personality.
He asked for my hand in marriage,
But my parents rejected him,
Because he was from a different social class.
I had a feeling he was ambitious,
And that he’d amount to something.
When we were engaged,
He was always concerned with the apartment,
And getting it ready.

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I Aged With Marriage

2017

I feel like I aged considerably the moment I got my first suitor.
I was still young, in eighth grade.
After I got married, I started bearing responsibilities, and I grew up.
My father had us thinking that marriage was the end-all-be-all
We weren’t supposed to fight with our husbands.
gender violence, physical violence, parents, marriage, divorce, work

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Spiked Rod

2017

No one has ever experienced what my father put me through.
It’s such a difficult thing to live through,
When you’re a kid in first grade,
And your father takes you home from school,
And beats you with a spiked rod,
Nails penetrating your entire body.
It was a long walk home,
And I was being beaten up continuously,
blood gushing out of the wounds.
All of this for something I didn’t do.
Something that wasn’t my fault.

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Make me food woman

2017

My father was a difficult man.
He didn't like us girls.
He only liked the boys.

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My Son Is an Orphan

2018

He was always suspicious of me.
Whenever he went out, he’d wedge a single hair between the door and the doorframe.
When he’d get back home, he’d check the door to see if I’d gone out.
His suspicions were very hard to deal with.
When God was going to bless us with a baby, my husband gave me an ultimatum: “It’s either me or the baby.”
So, I went and got an abortion.
motherhood, social stigma, domestic violence, prison, physical violence

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Just a Tiny Pin Prick

2019

I was in sixth grade.
I got home one day,
And mama told me
“Go take a shower.
We’re going out.”
I thought we were visiting a relative.
I asked her where to,
“We’re going to the doctor.”
She explained circumcision to me,
“It’s a simple process.
It’s like a tiny pin prick.”

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Dresses

2019

They made me lie down on a bed.
Then all of the sudden,
They were taking off my clothes.
I screamed and cried.
They tried to hold me but couldn’t.
I kicked and squirmed.
I didn’t want them to do anything to me.
They brought my older sister in to calm me down.
But nothing would.

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