What It’s Like to Experience Female Genital Cutting

When she was 7 years old, Mariya Karimjee sat on a tarp in a neighbor woman’s living room and had an operation that would affect her life forever. As part of a family tradition in her small Dawoodi Bohra sect of Islam, Karimjee had part of her clitoris removed in a procedure that was meant to make it impossible for her to feel desire or “get turned on.”

“When I was younger, someone took a knife to my clitoris and cut out a small but significant part of me.”

Karimjee shared her story of slowly learning about what happened to her that day in Karachi, Pakistan, in 1995 on the radio program This American Life this week, and has written about her experience previously for The Big Roundtable. As she said in the recording, her mom referred to her budding sexuality and anatomy as a “bug” that needed to be taken out.

 “According to my mother, a bug was growing in an egg down there — her language not mine — and that it would hatch and eventually crawl to my brain, unless we removed it,” Karimjee said. So her mother took her to the neighbor woman’s house, and she received a gold necklace with a teardrop pearl pendant as a gift afterward.

“For two days [after the operation], I wore what I can only describe as a big-girl diaper wet with blood,” Karimjee said. “Peeing was so painful that I tried to last for hours without going until my mother explained that I could give myself an infection. For the next year, I’d break out into a cold sweat whenever I saw the kind-faced woman who, on a tarp on her living room floor, had spoken to me softly as she took a knife and cut me.”

Read M0re: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/news/a58222/what-its-like-to-experience-female-genital-mutiliation/

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