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Female Genital Mutilation is a type of Abuse - Chep 20 Years

My grandmother was a traditionalist who followed our Pokot culture religiously

My name is Chep from West Pokot, and I am 20 years old. When I was 14 years old, my mother died. After my mother was buried, my father left me and my brother with our grandmother since he felt incapable of caring for my brother and I. My grandmother was a traditionalist who followed our Pokot culture religiously, especially the circumcision of girls (FGM). I always read stories of young girls who were married off and underwent female genital mutilation without their consent. I didn't know that I would come to face this brutal act at some point in my life. 

The Point of Vulnerability

My mother was from a Marakwet community that rarely practised female genital mutilation, unlike other Marakwets who follow the culture to the latter. It was devastating that my mother, who would have protected me, was now late.

The Incident 

Despite my Grandma knowing that my mother and I were against the practice, she arranged it. One night my Grandma pulled me out of her kitchen and took me to a maize farm with a group of women. They had razorblades, and all I could remember was being naked and my hands being held down by the women, legs apart and a strong force on my chest so that I could not raise my head. 

Feeling helpless

The only thing I could think of was wishing someone could rescue me. But unfortunately, my brother was too young to be helpful, and the community fully supported the practice. I felt helpless, and it was pretty tragic.

The outcome

I lost a lot of blood because of bleeding; therefore, I was rushed to the nearby village hospital. However, I was referred to a big hospital because my situation was too serious to be handled by a small hospital facility. Luckily, I got assisted and was grateful that the bleeding had stopped. 

After treatment, I had a mental breakdown; I felt left out, desperate, invisible, and unwanted by my family. I missed my mother more. I was bitter with my father, who left me with our Grandma and that he supported the female genital mutilation practice against me. This act felt like it took with it my sanity and dignity.

My light at the end of the tunnel

My Grandma and father lost custody of my brother and I to a children's home in Uasin Gishu County. This happened through advocacy from an Anti- FGM organization that granted us full support in our education. I am pursuing law in my second year of Moi University Annex. I have gone through my healing process, which I am grateful for. I hope they'll be a mindset shift in the communities that still practice FGM.

I wish FGM to STOP



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