Friday, 6 November 2009

FGM as a weapon of conflict

It's exactly a year since I returned from Lalibela to Addis. Which again, makes me think of my talisman photograph of the two smiling girls, who hijacked us, as we wound our way through the small paths and stumbled upon churches, the infamous rock hewn Lalibela churches.

Who would have thought my journey would have brought me here one year later?

I'm building up to something. Two things in fact. And clearly I think that by beating around the bush and meandering in memories, that it will save me from having to tell you. See, even now, my innate sense is to protect, rather than to reveal.

OK - you know I blogged about a photograph? Here it is:

I won't go over thoughts, feelings, perceptions - as I did that in an earlier post. All I can do is leave it out there - let it speak for itself.

The second issue - if it's possible, is almost harder. I sat at FORWARD's AGM last week and talked with one of the trustees, who is Kenyan. We discussed the politics of Kenya, the uncertainty of Kenya.

She leaned over to me and said, conspiratorially (we all at some points, whisper about FGM - although sometimes, we speak it loud and clear) "one of the things that's happening in Kenya..." (deep breath, glance around the room, back at me, finding my eyes) "women are being forced to go through FGM"

A few moments for it to be understood, then I see what she's saying. "It's bad enough that rape and violence is so prevalent - but if a woman is raped and they see she has a clitoris, they cut it out."

FGM as a weapon of conflict. Of course it is. How stupid of me not to have seen it before - or even, not to have somehow known it.

And so this journey unfolds, continues.

Not much left to say today.


  1. you've left me speechless today Julia............but don't stop. Horrific enough that rape is being used as a weapon of war but sexual mutilation............ I am continuously horrified at the cruelty and barbaric behaviour perpetrated upon women and girls. Surely if women were going around chopping off men's testicles there would be more of an outcry and punishment. Something would be done.

  2. I am not quite clear about this latest horrible idea. Who exactly performs this Cutting out of a clitoris after a rape? And is it supposed to be some sort of punishment for allowing herself to be raped in the first place? Trouble is women are blamed for all of it. Why are we not telling the men that they are responsible. Rape is a Male issue! Clitoredectomy (and the rest) is a Female issue.