Country: United Kingdom
The past few days have been an emotional rollercoaster for me. I deeply believe in the values that Sahiyo espouses and wholeheartedly wish for the practice of FGC to end. To my dismay, I have witnessed a hate campaign against not only Sahiyo, but the brave people who have been vocal against this practice.
To those who say that Sahiyo is not their voice, I would like to clarify what Sahiyo is. Sahiyo is a cacophony of voices, a roar from a collective of activists whose voices unite. We are individuals who speak for ourselves and on behalf of minors, who have tried and continue to try to engage in dialogue to end this practice. In return, we have received silence and now slander. Our character, faith, morals and intentions have been questioned and attacked.
I, along with the community of activists who share my sentiments, do not speak on behalf of Sahiyo, or indeed any other adult. I speak on behalf of young girls who are forever altered without their consent; I speak on behalf of the innocent young girls across the world who have undergone this procedure or who will do so in the future; I speak on behalf of the girls who do not have a voice and are not old enough to understand what is happening to them and I speak on behalf of my 7 year old self, who did not choose to undergo a procedure that has affected me for decades, and will continue to do so.
Now that I have a voice, I am being attacked for using it. I gain nothing from speaking up. No amount of campaigning will ever undo the permanent emotional, psychological and physical damage that resulted from a procedure that was deceptively forced upon me. To those who slander me, this is what I have to say to you: You are right to an extent – I do speak on behalf of others. I speak on behalf of your daughters, sisters, cousins, children’s friends, and every young girl who will undergo this invasive procedure, so that they don’t suffer the way that I have.
I hope that you remember this the next time you say laanat on me.