S’s Story

April 1, 2015

I was born in the Gambia and I think I had my FGM when I was about 5 or 6. I came to the UK in 2006.

Before I got married I would argue for FGM because it is what I know. I grew up with not having anything down there.

When I got married it took me a week to do anything with my husband as I was blocked, type 3.

My grandmother said I had to go to the doctors. I was confused. My husband called my Mum and she too said I would have to go to the doctors.

The GPs had no clue and couldn’t see anything. They didn’t know what to unblock and how to reverse my FGM. I was advised to buy a lubricant, it took a few more days and sex was so, so painful.

I asked my Mum why she did it and she said it was so that I could be a virgin. My family felt they had achieved something.

Sex was a no go area and it took a long time before I got pregnant. My midwife inspected me and said they would have to cut me and I started crying again.

I was cut during the delivery of my first child in so many different places and I had to be induced to have my baby. I do not think I would have been cut that much if I hadn’t had FGM. I would not want my daughters to go through this.

I had two girls and the second delivery was a nightmare as well. My husband decided that there would be no more kids because of the complications.

I decided that FGM was not useful. It took me a long time to enjoy sex with my husband. We don’t talk about sex at home in the Gambia. One of my friends who is a survivor of FGM feels there is no point in having sex as she is dry all the time and she is very insecure that her husband will find someone else.

There is no good thing about FGM.

My auntie’s daughter bled to death because of FGM. Everyone said it was witchcraft at the time but I found out later it was because of FGM.

Even today I still fight with my Mum about it. My Mum thinks I should do it to my kids and tells me off for campaigning about it.

I was worried when I went on holiday to the Gambia that my daughters would be taken to be circumcised. Girls can be taken by grandparents to be cut and they won’t be in trouble for this. Now we’ve talked about it and my Mum jokes and says “I won’t touch these British kids”. I get insults from the community about being Westernised.

I told my Mum about the laws in the UK and that if she does it I will be arrested and sent to prison when I go back to the UK and there will be no one to send her money.

We have talked about the health issues also but my Mum thinks these happened because I was a virgin.

My Mum thinks that without FGM I would have been promiscuous but I disagree. I had boyfriends even though I was cut but it was my personal choice not to do anything with them. FGM was not the reason I was still a virgin when I got married.

My Mum listens to me more now although she still has a traditional mindset.

My sister is getting married and she will have to go through what I went through. I think she had FGM when she was about 5.

It was my grandmother who made the decision to do my FGM. I think she blocked me. She inspected me after I got married when I couldn’t have sex.I’m lucky that my husband was patient and waited but in Africa it is believed that sex has to be done in the blackened hours on the wedding night, forcefully if necessary.

I am lucky that I was able to understand myself and my body but I have suffered psychological trauma also.

ss-story

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