“Matter is anything that occupies space and has mass. Every lady matters and putting an end to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) matters.”
Storytelling is an age-old craft and skill by itself. It informs, enlightens, educates, entertains, persuades, seduces and can rally people to action or turn them against a particular course. From the days of revolution, we acknowledge the great oratory skills of our forefathers that enabled them win the hearts of their people to fight for their sovereignty and identity. When we celebrate our freedom and rights we thus owe it to their storytelling skills and the ability to use it for a particular course, in this case our liberation.
The power of a story holds so much weight. I recently mentioned in this blog here about a friend who joined in on one of our #BonfireChat sessions at Ryculture and from the narration of her experience following FGM, we resolved to act. On this account, our plan of action was to add the voices of survivors to the Anti-FGM campaigns for which the call is currently out for survivors to express interest to her on email at: firstname.lastname@example.org and copy email@example.com. It was a point for us to act and acting meant we needed to find ways to amplify the voices of the survivors and bring to light the actual damage of FGM on the lives and livelihoods of the ladies who go through the cut. I wouldn’t lie that I know how it feels but if you could shift position and feel for the survivors from their story, you’d commit to do the right thing, that’s to support them in putting an end to it.
Today I had the privilege of paying the CEO, Anti-FGM Board of Kenya Madam Bernadette Loloju a visit to deliberate on the approach that could be used to bring onboard the survivors to share their stories. It’s said that we all need to find something that matters to us. For her, she found what plays to the tune of her soul. Being a survivor who have gone through an ordeal of it’s own at childbirth because of FGM, she commits to put an end to FGM in the country for as long as she lives whether at the board or out of her position. In talking to her I could feel the pain, gauge the extent of damage and trauma caused and ultimately what it really means to commit to something. Her passion to put an end to FGM is on another level and we could all drink from her cup of passion and never drain it dry.
Leaving the meeting with an action plan on the engagement, I felt the nudge one gets from doing what matters. I felt it was the right decision and not because I have a friend who went through the cut but because it affects all of us. The deformation and damage done to women from the cut is traumatizing. It’s a disfiguration of the genitalia and imagine the aspect of associated complications that arise from such harm. From shame that follows you in every of your romantic relationships, anytime you are left it makes you question your disfigured genitalia, complications at child birth, risk of fistula and high risk of urinary tract infections among many others. It could be your mother, aunt, sister, wife, cousin, niece or daughter and in all fronts the harm isn’t justifiable. It’s time we say no to FGM, both men and women because it affects all of us.
Let’s break the cycle and protect the next generation of ladies not to go through FGM because we can. Giving survivors a voice is the first step in the journey. That’s what we are out to do, you can help us disseminate this through your networks so that the survivors sign up.
Ps. Their confidentiality will be protected and respected as per the agreed upon terms of engagement.