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No one knows the pain we go through, circumcised women speak

By Graham Kajilwa | Published Fri, February 9th 2018 at 19:41, Updated February 9th 2018 at 20:12 GMT +3
Rosilla Lenanyokie,16, from Samburu County who was circumcised at age nine before being married off.

Rosilla Lenanyokie was just nine years old when she was forced to go through the outlawed tradition of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

It was 2011. And all her parents were interested in was getting her married off. It worked, but not for long.

A local doctor in Samburu County came to her rescue through the Samburu Girls Foundation and she is set to sit for her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) this year.

As she narrated her story yesterday during the International day for Zero Tolerance to FGM, it is her testimony that elicited heated emotions from women MPs, survivors and activists who took the platform to criticise a move by a Machakos based doctor to have the act legalised.

Dr Tatu Kamau hit the headlines for filing a case early in the year seeking to not only disband the Anti FGM board but also have it legalised on grounds that it denies expression of culture.

"We are the victims, we are the survivors. The wearer of the shoe knows well where it pinches. Let her drop that case," said Sadia Hussein, a survivor.

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A teary Sadia, from Tana River also gave her testimony on how she was circumcised by her own grandmother with ten other women holding her on the ground.

She was proud back then for upholding her community's culture.

However complications started coming out in 2008 when she was in great pain giving birth to her daughter which marked her turn around.

Ijaara MP Sophi Abdi Noor, who also went through the cut said having a medical practitioner petitioning to have the act legalised is an insult to the efforts made so far.

“Let me ask, is she a victim? Let us who are survivours speak of what we have gone through. She has no idea what I went through during childbirth and the troubles I experience as a circumcised women at my age," said Noor.

The event, organised by Anti FGM Board was also graced by Nairobi County Women MP Esther Passaris.

While the tradition is said to be declining, according to government data, it emerged that some individuals have resorted to carrying out the act in health facilities where they take advantage of patient-doctor confidentiality.

"Please do not tell us there is good FGM. Even if you give me three injections to ease the pain. So whether you do it under a tree, or a beautiful hospital FGM is still FGM," said Anti FGM Board Boss Bernadette Loloju.

According to Government data, FGM prevalence stands at 21 per cent.

Communities with extreme numbers include Samburu (86 per cent), Somali (93), Kisii (84) and Masai(77).

"The proportion of circumcised women increases with age. Muslim women (51 per cent) are likely to have been circumcised than women from other religious group," reads the data in part.


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