Today is the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Typically taking place during rite of passage ceremonies into womanhood, FGM is ultimately a way to control girls’ and women’s sexuality. There are no health benefits, only harm.
This year, we will launch FGM Survivor Stories, a series of personal testimonies from women and girls who have been impacted by FGM. Equality Now and our partners want to amplify the voices of women and girls who are championing efforts to address FGM in their communities and provide readers with actions they can take to end this human rights abuse. For International Day of Zero Tolerance, we’re sharing Miatta* from the United States’ story. Miatta was just 12 years old when she went on vacation with her parents and little sister to Sierra Leone – so excited to have the chance to visit a country and relatives she had never met. What started out as a joyous time, however, turned into something else.
"When we got to Sierra Leone, my whole family was waiting at the airport…Once they were done with their tears and embracing each other, they finally noticed me and my sister. Evidently, we came to Sierra Leone during “bundu” season, based on what my grandmother said. When she mentioned “bundu”, my dad flipped…"