It’s All Normal

Trigger warning / “A Part of Me” campaign:
This story could contain potentially sensitive and/or triggering material, especially for victims of female genital mutilation. Please remember to check in with yourself as you read and to stop reading if it gets too overwhelming.


I have been following the campaign for a while
I feel pain for all these girls.
I am not sure how my story will come across in comparison to all these painful stories.
I was lucky that the doctor refused to conduct the procedure,
And said, “there doesn't seem to be anything worth cutting”

I learned about circumcision in primary school from some friends.
They would talk about it vaguely.
I found out from one of them that they cut away a part of you,
Because a woman shouldn’t be like a man
If a woman doesn't get circumcised, her husband won’t sleep with her

That was all I knew,
And after I got my period, I felt like it would be my turn soon .
Baba, Mama and my grandma were talking about me going to a gynecologist.
When I asked them “what for?”
My mother would laugh, and not respond.
I would ask a lot of questions trying to get her to talk to me about it,
But she wouldn't.
At the same time, there was a campaign on TV against FGM.

I would look at my body in the mirror and bid it farewell,
I didn't know what they were going to do to it, or what they were going to cut.
When I went to the clinic, there was a girl who was crying and screaming
I was horrified from all the stories I had heard.

When I went into the room and took my clothes off,
I didn't want anyone to come close to me.
I steadily took off my clothes.
I am not sure how to make sense of that.
I have never told anyone this story before.
But the doctor said, “It looks normal. Take your daughter and leave.”

Mama insisted that I get it checked again.
I went back to the doctor two years later for a general check up.
Mama came along, and asked her again,
“Can you take another look and make sure?”
The doctor said, “There is no need. If I checked it before, then it means that it's not necessary.”
She asked me, “Do you feel anything large down there, or not?”
My aunt later kept trying to convince me that it's a religious practice, a sunnah.

Warning The stories on our story archive could contain potentially sensitive and/or triggering material. If a story causes you discomfort or pain, please remember to breathe and check in with yourself before continuing or stop reading completely if necessary.