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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Undressed

2019

It started when I was in elementary school.
When I was in fourth grade,
One of our neighbours took me to the doctor.
I was very scared.
At first they couldn’t find anesthesia,
They kept searching until they did.
Thank God for that.

They performed the procedure.
I lost a lot of blood.
The doctor was concerned.
But things turned out okay, thank God.
After that, I felt embarrassed when baba even looked at me.
It made me feel naked.

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I was 8 when I started working

2018

I was pretty young—eight years old—the day I started working at the workshop. It was during a school vacation.
There wasn’t internet back then, and there were only two TV channels.
I knew nothing about sex at the time.
gender violence, sexual violence, child molestation, sex

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My Neighbor

2016

I learned one day that my neighbor whom I used to play with was getting married.
She was almost 16 years old.
“I’ve got something that my husband will take from me and throw away tomorrow morning,” she said.

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A Part of Me

2016

For the longest time, perhaps until after highschool, I thought all girls were like me.
Then I found out that not all of them were like me.
I didn’t understand what it meant. What’s the difference?
I would always avoid thinking about the incident.
Until a black cloud formed in my mind, engulfing the memory of this incident.

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Mirror, Mirror

2010

I’m starting to believe that men see women merely as something that serves their pleasure.
Very few of them treat women as human beings,
Who have their own dreams, and desires,
And could be useful in things other than pleasure.
And you should ask me about men,
Because she who raises a monkey knows their games!
gender violence, hijab, romantic relationships, parents, social pressure, sex, body image, sexuality, consent

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Your Personal Doctor

2017

I thought I’d ask my science teacher since he probably knew about these things.
I showed him the book.
But turns out the things I couldn’t understand in the book were problematic.
He sent me to the school principal.
“I don’t know where she got this book. We need to call her parents,” he said.
sex, sex education, school

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The Signs of Adolescence

2019

I was 14 when people around me started talking about jerking off and puberty.
I didn’t understand anything.
I hadn’t reached puberty yet.
I was so happy when I did.
And I told my friends about the dream I had the next day.
sex, sexuality, masturbation, adolescence

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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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Unnecessary for Women

2019

I was circumcised when I was in sixth grade.
I was aware of everything,
And tried to talk to my mother,
But she was passive,
And didn’t care.
Even though she complained a lot about her sex life,
And how it does nothing for women.
gender violence, physical violence, fgm, sex

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