A human rights activist relayed the “demonic” experience of female genital mutilation (FGM) she underwent to a small crowd Thursday night at George Washington University.
Anti-FGM activist F.A. Cole spoke about her personal experience at “Understanding FGM/C in the U.S,” a six-person panel discussing the trauma associated with FGM, how to prevent it, and how to help women heal from their physical and emotional wounds.
Cole underwent FGM at the age of 11 when her stepmother took her and her 13-year-old sister to get cut. The procedure was done in a hut in the forest, Cole recounted to the audience, where the female cutters prepared for the procedure by heavily drinking and offering sacrifices to their gods.
“And before they do the cutting, these women, they do a lot of drinking before. They dig a hole and they offer sacrifices to their gods and it’s a demonic practice. They summon these demons into their presence,” Cole said.
The women took her sister into the hut first and Cole can remember the women shouting and screaming to drown out the cries of her sister. When it was Cole’s turn, they ushered her into the hut, blindfolding her and binding her hands behind her back so she couldn’t escape.
“They blindfolded me. They tied my hands behind my back. And they led me to what I call the ‘bed of death.’ They laid me there, face up of course. And one of the cutters was naked, she had no clothes on,” Cole said. “She sat on my chest. I believe it was four other women who spread my legs wide open and pinned me down so I couldn’t fight. I believe she used the same razor that was used on my sister. And she started to cut my clitoris. I started to fight because of the pain. No one told us what was really going to happen.”
Cole tried to fight them off, biting the cutter who was sitting on her in the backside. The women gagged her in response. After the procedure, Cole recalled not being able to walk because of the pain. After the procedures, the women warned Cole and her sisters that if they told anyone, their stomachs would swell up and they would die.
Cole, who speaks out against female genital mutilation, wondered why progressive feminists weren’t rallying more forcefully against the practice.
“To the feminist liberals who have marched for equal pay, equal treatment, and violence against women. I have yet to hear of a march against female genital mutilation, especially since it falls in the category of ‘violence against women,’” Cole said. “Is it because the girls and women who have fallen victims to this practice have names like Adama, Mabiniti, etc.? Is it because majority of us are not redheads with green eyes or blonde with blue eyes? Is it because we were born into families who embraced this practice as tradition, even though it is clearly a violation of our God given rights?”