The lady in these pictures is Miachi Sheriff, she lives in the Eastern part of Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa.
She is a victim of Female Genital Mutilation (F G M). For over five years now, she’s been going through this horrible pain of bleeding every month as you can see in these pictures and short video.
According to her, its as a result of Female Genital Mutilation (F G M) been forcibly done on her when she was just 12 years old.
In a short video interview with Ibrahim Amzah Kamara of SUPPORT FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (SFWACI), she explains how the act of Female Genital Mutilation (F G M) has made her life so uncomfortable and miserable.
Errm, Madam what is your name?
My name is MIACHI Sheriff
I see you have blood all over your legs, your face is frowned, tears running down your face and you are holding your stomach. What is the reason behind the pain you are going through now?
Ever since Female Genital Mutilation (F G M) was carried out on me and when I started having my menstrual period at the age of 17, my stomach aches and that is the cause of this problem. This is not the normal menstruation. This is bleeding! I usually experience this condition for two weeks every month
Since you went through the process of Female Genital Mutilation (F G M), what difference have you observed about yourself in terms of your womanhood?
Let me don’t lie to you. Ever since I went through this process, I do not get any feelings to have sex. I don’t enjoy sex and that has made me to loose many of my relationships. For example, if you are having sex with a man, because you don’t enjoy it, the man always feels that you are ignoring him. Since I went through the process of Female Genital Mutilation (F G M), my life has gone from bad to worse. I don’t enjoy having sex and every month this is what happens to me for two weeks. Even when I was about to give birth to my son, I was in labour for over 2 hours and 30 minutes as a result of complications. It is really painful!
Have you gone to the hospital or seen a medical doctor before in relation to your condition?
I have seen several Doctors but all they tell me is they don’t have an idea of what is happening to me. I have been to several different hospitals complaining that my stomach aches and I always bleed for two weeks. All they tell me is, they don’t have an idea and so that has made me to give up and accept my condition
So what message do you have for women out there that have not gone through the process of Female Genital Mutilation (F G M)?
I want to tell my fellow women that going through the process of Female Genital Mutilation (advice was a mistake because when it was carried out on me, I didn’t know myself. If I had matured, I wouldn’t have accepted for it to be done on me because it is nothing but pain. It is really painful! It makes you to not have feelings. It makes you loose your matrimonial home because when you are having sex with your man and he enjoys it and you don’t, he thinks that you are cheating on him or you don’t love him. So, my advice is, if you have a girl child, do not force or allow her to go through the process of Female Genital Mutilation (F G M). Even if she is willing for it to be carried out on her, encourage and counsel her not to go through the process of Female Genital Mutilation (F G M).
In this part of the world and especially Sierra Leone, people always frown at some people who condemn the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (F G M). Why do you believe that the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (F G M) should stop despite the fact you know that people will frown at you or even persecute you for condemning the practice?
I just think this practice needs to stop because I am a victim. It really needs to stop! That is all I have to say!
February 2017 – Female genital mutilation denies women and girls their dignity and causes needless pain and suffering, with consequences that endure for a lifetime and can even be fatal, United Nations Secretary-GeneralAntónio Guterres has said, stressing that the UN Sustainable Development Agenda promises an end to this practice by 2030.
“On this Day of Zero Tolerance, let us build on positive momentum and commit to intensifying global action against this heinous human rights violation for the sake of all affected women and girls, their communities and our common future,” the Secretary-General said in a message on the International Day, marked annually on 6 February to strengthen momentum towards ending the practice of female genital mutilation, globally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls. The practice also violates their rights to health, security and physical integrity, their right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and their right to life when the procedure results in death.
To promote the abandonment of FGM, coordinated and systematic efforts are needed, and they must engage whole communities and focus on human rights and gender equality. These efforts should emphasize societal dialogue and the empowerment of communities to act collectively to end the practice. They must also address the sexual and reproductive health needs of women and girls who suffer from its consequences.