Finally. Female genital mutilation has been banned in Nigeria. Finally.
I remember the first time the reality of this atrocity resonated with me – it was during an episode of Law & Order. Don’t laugh – they did an extremely well-written, thus immensely disturbing revelation of the reality of this culture… I was outraged! It was by no means the first I had heard of it; but for some reason, it was the first time the full import of how it happens and the lasting physical and psychological effects touched me.
Okay, yall know about this, right? I mean, do I need to go into the details? Honestly, for as much as I do not shy away from much, touching the reality of the depiction of exactly what happens to these young ladies physically feels like that much more abusive. And quite frankly, the mere thought of it finally brings me to the full understanding of why men instinctively cover and hold their penises when anyone speaks of either the un or intentional damage, injury or harm to another’s.
So today, as I celebrate Nigeria’s decision and hesitantly remove some fingers from protecting my own private part, I would like to address some of what I have learned are the long-lasting effects caused by this mutilation. First let me say this – there is a school of thought that insists that, “one cannot miss what they never had”… bullshit! The rationale behind that is that if one grows up indoctrinated to a culture, a religion, a set of familial/societal/governmental protocols, those become ingrained into them – absolving them of either the knowledge of or envy for another way of life. A different or better way of life. In this day and age – in this age of not-just-social-media-but-life-media it is fool-hardy to believe that anyone within shouting distance of an electronic device is still unaware of their options. To believe that you can continue to subjugate with impunity.
I sit and think of the tip of my clitoris being cut off (okay, they prefer to say, “surgically removed) because they would like to control my sexual desires… and I mentally and physically shudder. My outrage boils over! My sense of (self) righteousness rebuffs any concept that attempts to trample on and dominate my right to ownership of and governing over my body. And that includes the right to my sensuality, sexuality and god dam orgasms!
Listen, all of us sitting and reading this with all our parts intact, imagine the psychological effect(s) it would leave us with if we were sitting reading this or anything else knowing we were different. Knowing that what is in our pants or under our skirts no longer reflects our complete sense of masculinity or femininity and that literally and figuratively we were short-changed. Imagine that. Imagine not being able to understand or relate to the expressions and feelings your counterparts convey when speaking of desire. Imagine never having an orgasm. Imagine being abandoned by partners who do not understand or refuse to accept a life with a partner whose toes never curl, for whom desire is something they have read about, heard of, long for, but never quite achieve.
So, they justify their actions by saying it’s an attempt at keeping their women chaste; saving us from behaviors that, well, are only allowed the males in their population. See, sexual desire is quite okay and even encouraged for those with the parts that (supposedly) hang low to experience; desires that oftentimes take them outside of their marital beds. That enjoyment is solely their right and it seems their reward just by virtue of being born male. Young ladies, women, us? Well, heaven forbid we experience the same emotions! Let the world burn to the ground if we are allowed to understand not only the power housed under the hood of our clits, but bold enough to then demand (and judge) the skill of those who clamor to come near it.
Think back to having a scar, anywhere… visible. Remember what it did to your sense of security and how self-conscious it made you, imagining that was all everyone looked at. How traumatized you may have been that all else faded to the background of your beauty – you were now being judged for public appropriateness by this one blemish or flaw. Imagine understanding that you have been permanently scarred, mutilated and there is no Vitamin E oil that will make this either fade or grow back. Imagine that. Remember implementing all the tricks possible to cover your scar – hats, scarves, turtle-necks, long sleeves, band-aids, make-up, whatever? What do you suggest we tell these young ladies, these women to use to cover the scar not only to their clitorises, but to their esteem? How do you cover the scars to your femininity?
It is now banned. Great. We are getting somewhere. Of course, this decision comes way too late for the millions that have already been affected; but, at least, unlike the orgasm they may never experience, it has cum. For that, I am grateful. I hope you have been equally as outraged at this practice and thus join in the celebration at its cessation. You see, it is only when we stop distancing ourselves from the actions that are visited on the thems in the world, will the injustices of any kind stop. As long as we continue to turn a blind eye on some in humanity we tacitly lend our support for the continuation of the inhumane.
Another step in the right direction…