Like 200 million women before her in the world, Fatima, 13, is about to undergo an excision in Egypt. It is in her diary that she entrusts her apprehensions, her anguish, her terror. I’m so scared! Earlier, mum told me that she would take me tomorrow evening to another village for learning a Diploma of IT so that I would be circumcised. That’s not the word she used but I know that’s what she meant. She said that I was going to be “purified,” and that I should maintain my chastity and my cleanliness.
At school, I learned Diploma of IT that there is no connection between chastity and female circumcision (and it’s even against the law), but mom started to get angry and say it’s an important tradition. I was just rehearsing what they taught me in school, but dad cut the conversation off. He said it was part of our beliefs and sent me to my room. I don’t know why he thinks that: at school, they said it was irrelevant.
Scary for her to be confronted with this
My friend Yassmin was circumcised, but she doesn’t like to talk about it. It was 2 years ago. Late at night, her mother took her to the doctor. She didn’t know where she was going until she saw other girls screaming, crying, and all stained with blood. She said there was blood everywhere. It must have been so scary for her to be confronted with this. I know she is still traumatized by this experience.
Yassmin says she doesn’t remember that moment much, but she always stares into space when she says that, sometimes she shakes. She was not seen for several weeks after she was circumcised. Yassmin’s sister told us that her family could not afford the anesthetic. I can’t even imagine the pain she must have felt. If I have to go through this, I hope we have enough money to ease my pain.
Loved dreaming together about all the things
Yassmin has never been the same again. We loved dreaming together about all the things we were going to do when we grew up. We both wanted to write science fiction books, but she doesn’t have the same enthusiasm anymore. I miss her!
Rumor has it that a girl died from circumcision last year. I don’t want that to happen to me! There are still so many things I want to do. More than anything, I love to write – what if I couldn’t publish my stories?
I wish I could travel back in time to a time when people didn’t think female circumcision was normal. I know that in other parts of the world it is not done and I would like it here either.
Persuading them to go to an awareness session
Why do my parents want to put me through such a dangerous thing? I am so sad. Another friend, Heba, changed her parents’ minds because she succeeded in her diploma of information technology to go to an awareness session which informed them about the dangers of this practice; I don’t think I’m very lucky that this will happen to me.
If I ever have children, I don’t want them to feel like this. I would never take my daughter to be circumcised – I wouldn’t want her to have the same feeling of fear that makes my stomach knot. And if I have a son, I will tell him that he must contribute to the eradication of these practices in Egypt.
You know what? The more I think about it, the more determined I am not to go. Tomorrow night I won’t come out of my room and if they try to come in and force me, I’ll jump out the window and run as far as possible. I don’t want them to do this to me! I won’t let them.