Mama Wouldn't Talk to Me

2006

I decided not to have any contact with men when I was 17 years old.
Some people told me, “You’ve become too conservative.”
While others told me, “May God bless you.”
And a lot of my friends stopped talking to me altogether.
But no one told me how to deal with my fiance.

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At the Hands of Butchers

2019

We went with them,
And I don’t remember anything about that day,
Except for the doctor yelling at me.
She told me to take off my pants,
But I refused.
They gave me anesthesia,
And cut off a part of me.
I regained consciousness when I had become a “woman.”
Everything changed after that day.
Gender violence; sexual violence; physical violence; FGM; sex

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Not Like Other Women

2019

I was in primary school when I got circumcised.
I already knew about it,
Because my cousins had it done to them before me.
I thought it was a good thing,
And that it would mean I’m all grown up.
I knew where I was headed.
I knew what was going to happen to me.
But I didn’t know how it was going to be done.

Gender violence; sexual violence; physical violence; FGM; sex

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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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Biology Class

2014

Normally, no one attended classes, but everyone showed up for this one: the lesson on reproduction.
The classroom was packed.
Students from other classes even joined our class for the lesson.
Apparently some boys made it their mission to attend every one of these lessons.

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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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Ms. Hala

2015

Listen here, boys. I dismissed the girls because I know you have some questions.
Write your questions on a piece of paper, fold it and give it to me. I’ll answer your questions.
This questions reads: How do I stop masturbating?

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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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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 Hymen

2014

In my family, it’s neither accepted nor allowed for a girl to not be a virgin before marriage.
I don’t know how intercourse works, and I’m afraid of it.
I feel that the hymen itself is shackling and imprisoning me.

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