Exclusive: At least 14,250 women and girls living in the UK have undergone FGM
“It was painful, so painful, there was blood everywhere,” Yeabu recalls. “There were other people watching in the room. They were singing their own songs. They were happy when they were cutting me.”
Yeabu* was 16 when her parents sent her to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) in Sierra Leone, telling her afterwards: “You’ve become a proper woman now.”
She says she remembers knowing what was going to happen to her, but was too frightened to fight after seeing other children held down while fighting and biting the cutters.
“As a young girl you have to do it because for them it’s decency,” she explains. “When you’re with your man you are clean if you do that, that’s the mentality.
“I was frightened but we don’t disrespect our people. I they say that’s part of our tradition we have to go through it, but it’s not something I wanted.”