Girls are beautiful Just as they are – Stop the Cutting #FGMC

fgmc-beautiful-as-god-made-them
My daughter and friends from church

6th  of February has been set aside as the International day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting. Recently through the awareness on FGMC created by the radio drama serial, “Pim Pim Pim”, three girls ran to their local church to prevent being circumcised. Fortunately their local Pastor had the number put out on radio and so he called the line. The girls have since been rescued. Child protection is working on their case.

If only more parents will protect girls from having their vagina cut in the name of tradition.
This is still an issue in many communities in different parts of the world.

Some Reasons why it is practiced:
* FGMC is believed to be a girl’s right of passage to womanhood in many communities where it is practiced.
* To prevent a girl/woman from being promiscuous.
* To show chastity in a woman and therefore bring honor to her family.

Cost of Not Circumcising a Girl
* It is a cultural practice that is entrenched so much in communities where it is practice. Any girl who is not circumcised will not have a man willing to marry her.
* It is believed that such a girl/woman is loose. This tarnishes hers and her family’s image in the community.

Effect of FGMC on the wellbeing of a girl/woman
* Bleeding and loss of life
* Infection that could lead to difficulty in achieving pregnancy later on in life
* Difficulty in enjoying sex becomes a source of conflict between the woman and her husband.
* Mutilated vagina
* Complications during child birth

How can we stop this practice?

Engaging communities in the discussion about Female Genital Mutilation and cutting.

Creating more awareness that FGMC has no benefit

FGMC does not prevent promiscuity. There are girls who were circumcised and still keep chains of men.

Speak up and do more to STOP FGM/C

UN Women Statement on this year’s (2017) International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Pim Pim Pim! What?? Where? #Radio Drama Breaking

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Pim Pim Pim literarily means, “Cut cut cut”. What is been cut? Who is cutting? Is it painful? Is it harmful?

Someone is definitely cutting something and it turns into a serious saga!!

Pim Pim Pim is the story of a princess and her twin babies. What she proposed to do is a taboo in her community. The Royal chiefs become enraged…Her father the King might lose the throne if she insists. The whole community goes agog… who is going to save the day?!

Maybe the young doctor in the community, maybe the women, maybe the youths who are protesting….ITS A SERIOUS “SAGA” OR “GBEGE” AS WE SAY IN PIDGIN LANGUAGE.

It was fun producing the story for Amuludun F.M 99.1.       I had a great team to work with.

So do you want to know what is up with the Princess, her babies, the king, and community? Tune into radio stations in these states weekly:

SUPPORTED BY UNICEF
EBONYI, EKITI, IMO, OSUN AND OYO
MEDIUM: RADIO
PERIOD: 13 WEEKS: FROM JANUARY TO MARCH 2017
DURATION: 15 MINUTES

SOUTH EAST

1. HEARTLAND FM 100.5, Owerri (Radio Nigeria)  Wed 3.45pm Imo  Pim Pim Pim English

2. ORIENT FM 94.4, Owerri (Imo Broadcasting Corporation) Fri 10.45 am Pim Pim Pim Igbo. Repeat Broadcast Tues – 7.00pm

3. UNITY FM 101.5, Abakaliki (Radio Nigeria) Ebonyi  Sun 10.30am Pim Pim Pim English. Repeat Broadcast Tues- 1.45pm

4. SALT FM 98.1, Abakaliki (Ebonyi Broadcasting Corporation) Ebonyi Sat- 11.00am Pim Pim Pim Igbo Repeat Broadcast Wed – 5.00pm

SOUTH WEST

5. SPLASH FM105.5, Ibadan Oyo  Pim Pim Pim English – Sat 3pm

6 AMULUDUN FM 99.1, Moniya, Ibadan (Radio Nigeria) Oyo  Thurs 6.15pm Pim Pim Pim Yoruba

7. LIVINGSPRING FM 104.5, Osogbo (Osun State Broadcasting Corporation) Tues – 3.45pm Pim Pim Pim English

8. ORISUN FM 89.5, Osogbo (Osun State Broadcasting Corporation) Thur- 6.00pm  Pim Pim Pim Yoruba

9. EKITI RADIO FM 91.5, Ado Ekiti (Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State)   Fri 11.45am Pim Pim Pim English

10. PROGRESS FM 100.5, Ado Ekiti (Radio Nigeria) Thurs – 6.15pm Pim Pim Pim Yoruba.

Good news…The story is broadcasting in English, Yoruba and Igbo languages.

For comments, questions or inquiries call: 08173330586 OR email – pimpimpimng@gmail.com

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Fibi- Pregnant but must go Through a Rite

Fibi was eight months pregnant. It was time for the rite to be performed. She dreaded it but it must be done. Everything was set for the celebration. Her entire family was not going to be quiet about it…they wanted to show her off. Their eight months pregnant daughter must go the way of other women in their community.

The day finally arrived  and the circumciser was ready with her tools.

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Fibi’s screams could be heard miles away as she was cut. Dancing and celebration filled the atmosphere, Fibi had made them all proud. Her unborn child can now safely pass through the birth canal without fear of been touched by the forbidden clitoris.  The community’s belief is that it would cause the baby’s death. 

But Fibi started to bleed. She was later rushed to the hospital. No one was sure mother and baby would pull through.

Another case of female genital mutilation and cutting only this one endangers pregnant women as their culture demands that they get circumcised at 8months into conception.

As a mother I know what it is like going through Labour pains. Already without been circumcised, the  birth experience for any mother can come with a number of  complications so why increase the risk.  I have undergone surgery at the hospital during the birth of my first baby due to excessive bleeding. My  vagina was also cut (not circumcision) by my doctor as my second baby found her way into the world. She was a big baby. The after effect of these cuts is best imagined.

Why should a woman be circumcised one month to the delivery of her baby? This is simply a double torture.

As to the believe that the baby can die if the mother is not circumcised before birth… This is not TRUE. I am a living proof and so are many other mothers who were not circumcised and had healthy and living babies.

Please help spread the word:

Female Circumcision /genital mutilation and cutting has no medical, physical or Spiritual benefits.

Instead many girls /women struggle on with the negative effects years after it had been done. That is if they live to tell their stories.

Female genital mutilation and cutting is a known cause of prolonged Labour as the scared birth canal might be too narrow for the baby to pass through. It simply puts mother and child at risk.

#EndFGM.

Photo Credit : Unicef

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Why would a Bride do this…?

bride-veil-2Martha (not real name) fell in love with a young man, John (not real name). They both had just graduated from school. Everyone loved the couple; it felt like a relation made in heaven. Their love blossomed and soon talks about marriage popped up. Martha and her fiancé decided to tie the knot and their families began the wedding preparation in earnest. Everyone looked forward to a memorable day.
It was a bright and sunny morning. Jubilation was in the air. The wedding guests who had come from the community and nearby cities bustled with laughter and jesting filled the atmosphere. Other young ladies were teased to hurry and invite them for their own celebration.

The groom was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to take the vows with the love of his life. He waited at the altar smiling and waiting to catch a glimpse of his beautiful bride in her cutely sewn wedding gown. A gloomy face emerged and ran to the altar towards the groom… everyone wondered, the news soon filtered around, “Martha, the bride to be had run away”.

It looked like a scene from the movie, “Runaway Bride”, as I listened to this story but no it was a true life‘s experience.

Why did Martha run on the day she had looked forward to all her life? She ran because she couldn’t face John. She had a secret… “Her vagina was covered with keloid. Martha is one of many girls who gets cut on their vagina when they attain puberty. The flesh around her vagina had been cut and it formed a big scared tissue. She was ashamed, she was afraid to let John see that ugly overgrown scared tissue, now formed keloid on her vagina.

What this means for Martha/How Keloid in the vagina can affect a person’s wellbeing and life:

  • Scar  which grows excessively into Keloid tissue can be embarrassing to the individual; create uneasiness.
  • Affects the person psychologically as she might feel less beautiful about herself.
  • Keloid tissue scar makes the skin around the area it occupies less elastic which can affect certain nerves causing pain.
  • Martha is likely to experience itching and  pain during urination, menstrual flow and sex.
  • Would her husband/partner be willing to accept her as she is. He might be turned off sexually and this will not do their relationship any good.
  • She might need a cosmetic surgery and the process of treating Keloid might be a long journey. That is the swollen tissue every clears completely.

This is one of the heartbreaking stories i came away with from a radio drama script writing workshop on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) organized by Unicef in partnership with the Ministry of information Nigeria. It was an eye-opening experience.

You know sometimes we think that we know so much about a subject or issue simply because it’s a familiar subject. I am very familiar with and have lend my voice to creating awareness about the effect of female circumcision known as female genital mutilation /cutting in the past. But statistics and real life stories told by facilitators and other participants showed that the consequences of female genitalmutilation/cutting is far deeper and grave than i thought.

One thing is clear that a lot still needs to be done about changing perceptions and achieving behavioral change towards the practice of Female genital mutilation/cutting.

Many women and families suffer great consequences long after the female genitalia cutting. #EndFGM/C

end-fgm

Why is this tradition and practice still been upheld in many communities around the world?

Some people have replaced genital cutting with another practice and they justify it. What is the new trend?

I will be sharing more stories from FGM/C world in a series of  posts.

Photo Credit: DHgate.com – Wedding Veil Cathedral Thick Lace Manthila bridal veil.

Adebisi Adetunji(C)

A Mother on the run

Recently i heard this true life story and found it amusing but i also realize the seriousness of the issue. So follow me and read the story:

MOTHER ON THE RUN

A mother whom i would call Kikelomo is happily married to her dear husband who loved her and their girls however one thing cast a shadow on their relationship.

Every time Kikelomo gave birth her mother in-law showed up to perform a family tradition. Every girl born into their lineage must undergo the necessary rites of circumcision. Unfortunately Kikelomo kept giving birth to girls and every time her mother in-law showed up a battle ensued in their home. Kikelomo fought tooth and nail to prevent her two girls from going through this gruesome practice but every time her mother in-law’s wish prevailed. She tried to make her husband see what carrying out the circumcision meant to their health and future but he was a strong believer in his family’s long aged practice. After their second baby girl was circumcised the little girl fell ill and it took sometime before she recovered that was when Kikelomo promised herself that it won’t ever happen again!

Kikelomo  began to dread getting pregnant but she did again. All through the period of her pregnancy she was tensed and when she found out through a scan that they were expecting another baby girl she knew it was time to fight back.

Finally her day of delivery came and she had a healthy baby girl. Kikelomo smiled and thought of what her plan would mean to her family but it had to be done. As far as she was concerned it was the only way out. She never went back home; in fact her husband on returning to the hospital to take his wife and baby home found an empty hospital bed. He found out a few days later that his wife and baby girl were now in France – out of the country. He couldn’t believe that she would go to that length to  protect their baby girl from been circumcised.

As i listened to this woman’s story i couldn’t hold a smile and i said out aloud…“she made a smart move”. Thank  God she could at least afford the trip. They say desperate times call for desperate measures, Kikelomo was desperate enough to protect her girl from been circumcised. I don’t know how this family ended up sorting out the matter and i wondered whether her husband finally realize that it was indeed a serious matter.

Some reasons people give for carrying out Female Genital Mutilation is unbelievable. In my culture i have heard that girls are made to go through circumcision so that they would not be sexually promiscuous. What an ignorant ideology!

Take a look at some costly effect of FGM on girls:

  • Complications can occur leading to bleeding
  • High risk of been infected with HIV
  • Complications during childbirth later in life (Prolonged labor)
  • Urinary track  infection, VVF
  • Complete Virgina obstruction can occur
  • Psychological effect such as anxiety and depression, lack of trust for  carers, sexual dysfunction, and more.

Protect girls from female genital mutilation!

GIRLS FGM
Young girls dressed in Fulani attire dancing 

For more up-date on questions about FGM,you can check out UNPA

Photo Credit: Thank  you wierdlittleworlds.com

Adebisi Adetunji