Telling your story may be the single most important action you take to rid yourself of the lingering pain of a forced genital cutting. Telling our stories amongst ourselves is cathartic. It releases us of the shame and guilt associated with keeping a secret. It is equally effective when you tell a story of how someone else’s forced genital cutting has adversely effected your life.

In the past, you may have felt reluctance telling your story. Shame and guilt on our part prevent victims and survivors from speaking about their forced genital cutting. This is compounded by the ignorance, malice, disbelief, and misunderstanding of so many others.

Who do we tell, our betrayers? Family members who may have sanctioned our cutting? Doctors, cultural, or religious leaders who may have participated in our cutting? Friends who do not understand?

We publish these online so others can read them. So they can hear our screams, feel our pain, and know how we struggled to escape. We want everyone to understand the very real consequences of forced genital cutting. It does not matter what sex, race, nationality, or religion you are–having someone hold you down while cutting on your genitals is a traumatic violation regardless of what good intentions they may have had.

We also hope that previously unaware victims–or those in protective denial–may have an awakening to their betrayal and body loss. Finally, it is a way for our collective stories to increase awareness to this ongoing atrocity, change the world, and promote genital integrity for all.

The more stories that are told, the more they will be read, the more awareness is raised about this terrible human rights violation. Your story will change the world. By telling your story fewer children will suffer what you have.

All images, content, and stories are copyright 2006 for Project: OUCH!

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