By Alifya Sulemanji
Country of Residence: United States
I was looking forward to attending the second Sahiyo Activist Retreat as it is a great platform to meet more women who are standing up for the abandonment of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C). I was happy to meet women from different parts of the United States. It was a great experience to hear different views of women of all age groups. It is encouraging to see more and more women join every year.
FGM/C has always been a very sensitive issue for me, as I had been through this atrocity myself and would never want another innocent child to go through it.
As I mentioned in my prior post about the first retreat, I have a very vivid memory of being cut at the tender age of seven. It felt like my body was being violated. Even when I was just 7 years of age, I knew something wrong had been done to me as I was told that this thing was a dark secret I was not supposed to tell anyone about. As I grew up I found out that none of my other friends had this religious ritual done, and it confirmed that what had been done to me was wrong. In the past few years, I learned that many other women like me felt the same way.
The Sahiyo Activist Retreat gave me insight into how I can talk to other pro-FGM/C people and how I can convey my thoughts on FGM/C to them in a positive way.
Sahiyo has created a strong platform for women like me to come out and express their grief and opinions to create awareness.