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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On the Same Day

2019

My cousins and I were circumcised on the same day.
I didn’t feel anything because I was under anesthesia.
But I remember lying on the bed with my legs spread wide.
My relatives came over to congratulate us.
I was very embarrassed.

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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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I Just Couldn't

2012

There are a lot of things I don’t have a problem with.
I’m an open-minded liberal.
But I never imagined this would happen to me or anyone I know.
With a blank look on my face, I told her/him, “No, I can’t.”
And I ran out of the room.

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Cleanliness Is the Most Important Thing

2016

Cleanliness is the most important thing.
You should smell good, and you should be dressed up.
I’ll visit you tomorrow.
Make your mama proud.
We’re all coming tomorrow to check on you.

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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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The Bridal Cloth

2016

But listen to me here: let him be in control.
There’s no yes or no.
Here, women don’t talk about these things.
You must only do as he says.

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The Midwife’s Visit

2019

I was 12 when I travelled with my family at the end of term to Upper Egypt.
That’s where the story began.
One day, I felt a sharp pain in my stomach,
I felt nauseous for three days straight.
That’s when my aunt, who was a 65 year old uneducated woman, decided,
“Our girl is getting older… the midwife must visit.”

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The Habit

2017

Until I was sixteen years old, I didn’t know exactly what made boys and girls different.
I hadn’t lived a sheltered life or anything, so I don’t know why I was ignorant about this.
In what felt like an instant, I became surrounded by teenage friends whose jokes were always sexual in nature.

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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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