WEEKLY STANDARD | 17.06.2015
Confronting FGM in Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan
Female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) exists in the Islamic Republic of Iran even...
stopfgmmideast | 20.05.2015
Campaign in Iraqi Kurdistan: Paying a visit to a Mullah who promoted FGM
The shock was great when the Iraqi Kurdish Xelk Media Network reported about a Kurdish Mullah...
THE TELEGRAPH | 04.03.2015
"If they mutilate my granddaughter? I’ll kill them’. Meet Iraqi village ending FGM
Amirah vividly recalls the day she was taken into a bathroom by the village midwife and forced to...
biomedcentral | 06.02.2015
The diversity of Kurdish women’s perspectives of female genital mutilation
The 6th February is marked by the United Nations sponsored awareness day, International...
WADI | 10.02.2015
International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM in the Kurdistan Parliament
Wadi, UNICEF and the High Council of Women Affairs launched an event about how...
stopfgmmideast | 05.02.2015
Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM: We need more campaigns in Asia
On the fifth official International Day of Zero Tolerance to female genital mutilation (FGM)...
WADI | 02.02.2015
Four new TV-spots Wadi has produced supported by UNICEF
as part of the ongoing campaign to eliminate FGM in Iraqi-Kurdistan. These spots will be aired by different TV stations...
WEEKLYSTANDARD | 20.01.2015
Female Genital Mutilation a Growing Problem in Iran
The hideous practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is neither an exclusively Muslim nor a...
ORCHIDPROJECT | 17.12.2014
KMEWO Event on FGC
On November 13th 2014, the Kurdish and Middle Eastern Women Organisation (KMEWO)...
WADI | 09.12.2014
Radio feature on WADI’s efforts to improve the situation of Free FGM Villages in Iraqi-Kurdistan
“Fichar” program at Radio Deng, an independent Radio station in Kalar, did a feature on WADI as...
WADI | 03.12.2014
Kurdish FGM-Free Village invited to Talkshow
Kurdistan's first FGM-free village as talk show guests on 'Binewshe" (KurdSat TV) to...
ekurd.net | 18.10.2014
A Kurdish girl's story of Female genital mutilation FGM in Iraqi Kurdistan
As we all know from news reports from the region, the people of Iraqi Kurdistan have been...
TRUST.ORG | 09.09.2014
Iraqi Kurdistan could end FGM in a generation - expert
Female genital mutilation could be eradicated in Iraqi Kurdistan within a generation, a U.N...
The Guardian | 08.09.2014
Majority in Iraqi Kurdistan oppose female genital mutilation
Survey reveals widespread knowledge of FGM's dangers, with 68% of people saying it...
stop fgm mideast | 29.07.2014
FGM in Iraq: The hoax of a hoax?
Last week a statement by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was circulating in Arab...
WADI BLOG | 22.07.2014
Islamic caliphate labels female genital mutilation obligatory
Recently the Islamic state issued a fatwa which called female genital mutilation a religious...
WADI | 14.07.2014
One in four women in Central and Southern Iraq is affected by Female Genital Mutilation, new study suggests
A first independent study on female genital mutilation in central/southern Iraq finds that...
HIVOS | 13.06.2014
Kurdish villages declare themselves FGM-free
For ten years, Hivos partner WADI has been campaigning against female genital...
wadi | 05.06.2014
Cooperation agreement between UNICEF and WADI to combat FGM in Northern Iraq
UNICEF and WADI just signed a contract to boost the ongoing...
Gatestone Inst. | 07.05.2014
Solidarity Against Female Genital Mutilation
"No victim files charges against her own parents." — Rayeyeh Mozafarian, University of Shiraz...
stopfgmmideast | 30.04.2014
Second Middle East Conference on FGM to tackle myths
The Second Middle East & Asia Conference on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) by WADI and...
opendemocracy | 14.02.2014
Embracing shame: turning honour on its head
The challenge that embracing shame poses to the longstanding perversion of honour, is the...
ekurd.net | 10.02.2014
Continues battle against Female Genital Mutilation FGM in Iraqi Kurdistan
For many years, people have believed that practicing of female genital mutilation (FGM) is...
wadi | 05.02.2014
Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation; Action in Asia is needed
On the fourth official International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female genital mutilation (FGM), the...
RUDAW.NET | 27.01.2014
A Slow Fight for Kurdistan’s Women
“It is like digging a well with a fingernail. Our work is very slow. But we did make progress.”
DEUTSCHE WELLE | 09.12.2013
Iraqi Kurdistan fights female circumcision
Female circumcision is slowly declining in Iraqi Kurdistan. Years of campaigning and a law...
RUDAW.NET | 29.11.2013
Kurdistan Premier: Stronger Policies Needed to Combat Gender Violence
Two years ago the KRG passed a law banning violence against women including genital...
BBC | 07.11.2013
BBC-Documentary: Dropping the Knife; The Fight against FGM
A BBC-Documentary: Dropping the knife; the fight against FGM...
CPT | 04.11.2013
IRAQI KURDISTAN: WADI shifts attitudes toward Female Genital Mutilation
On 30 October 2013, CPT’s partner organization, WADI Iraq office, organized a press...
AL-MONITOR | 02.11.2013
Female Circumcision Continues in Iraqi Kurdistan
Despite the efforts of Kurdish civil society organizations and the media to shed light on the...
HIVOS | 27.10.2013
WADI’s ground-breaking campaign against FGM: interview
Falah Moradhkin is WADI’s project coordinator in Iraq. He was one of the few who survived a...
BBC RADIO | 25.10.2013
Kurdistan's success in stemming Female Genital Mutilation
Kurdistan is one of Iraq's rare success stories, the region has enjoyed an oil boom and...
GULFNEWS.COM | 24.10.2013
How Kurdistan ended female genital mutilation
Two years ago, FGM was banned as part of a wide-ranging law to improve women’s rights...
the guardian | 24.10.2013
FGM: the film that changed the law in Kurdistan
Two filmmakers spent almost a decade reporting the greatest taboo subject in Kurdish society...
BIOMED CENTRAL | 08.09.2013
Female genital mutilation among Iraqi Kurdish women: a cross-sectional study from Erbil city
Iraqi Kurdistan region is one of the areas where female genital...
wadi | 14.08.2013
Rate of FGM decreases in some regions of Iraqi Kurdistan
The British MP Gary Kent has traveled again to Iraqi-Kurdistan and recently wrote an article...
The Independent | 31.05.2013
Fighting against Female Genital Mutilation in Iraq
It is a misguided belief that Islam requires young women be circumcised...
CIP | 22.03.2013
The Global Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation Continues
A global campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation [FGM], often misnamed "female...
Kurdistantribune | 04.03.2013
Tackling Female Genital Mutilation in the Kurdistan Region
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is defined by the Word Health Organization (WHO) as...
UN Special | 06.02.2013
The long road to the first FGM-free villages in Iraq
According to a large survey conducted in 2009, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is...

 

 

 

 


ekurd.net | 18.10.2014. original text

A Kurdish girl's story of Female genital mutilation FGM in Iraqi Kurdistan

by Nigeen Akram

SLÊMANÎ, Kurdistan region 'Iraq',— As we all know from news reports from the region, the people of Iraqi Kurdistan have been facing great threats and hardships for many years and are currently on the frontline of the fight against ISIS (also known as the Islamic State). However there is another, covert threat facing Kurdish women, many of whom undergo female genital mutilation (FGM).

This summer 28 Too Many volunteer, Nigeen Akram, returned to Iraqi Kurdistan determined to learn more about this secretive practice and how it affects the lives of Kurdish women. In this blog she tells the powerful story of one of these women and we share it on Blog Action Day 2014 to highlight this secretive practice and support those fighting to end FGM in Kurdistan.

A Kurdish Girl

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter" - Martin Luther King Jr.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is unfortunately an ongoing practice in Kurdistan. Although there are organisations working to abolish it, many young women are afraid to share their stories or speak out because they are afraid of what would happen to them and what would happen to their families and those involved in the ritual of FGM. This fear has cultured these women into silence, so we are unable to know the exact number of the victims of FGM in Kurdistan because they are covert.

When I was in Kurdistan this summer I met a brave 26 year old women, from a village not far from Slêmanî (Sulaimaniyah) who found the courage to share her story in the hope that other women would join her and share their stories so that we can put an end to this barbarous practice.

This is Payam’s story

“I remember distinctly, it was a Tuesday afternoon, my sister and I were playing in front of my uncles house; She was 5 and I was 7. An old lady approached us with my mother in tow; she was disliked by girls in the village but I was too young to understand why. She had a merciless face as she walked up behind my younger sister: "You two, come with me" she said to us.

I looked up at my mother to see her approval: "Go with this grandma".

Too naive to envisage what was happening, my sister and I followed the old lady. However, my mother didn't follow...

Suddenly, I felt anxious. Why isn't mother coming with us, I wondered. Why did she leave us with this lady that nobody liked.
"Grandma, where are we going?" I questioned.

"Don’t speak so much" she snapped. We tagged along obediently, like little kids do.

We arrived in a small mud house which smelled of dirt and crushed leaves. In the corner of the room sat two other women whom I recognised from the village. They were what the locals described as "Doctors" even though they held no medical qualifications; or any qualificatiowww.Ekurd.netn for that matter. Grandma walked up to the two ladies and rapidly whispered something in their ears, too quiet for me to make out what they were discussing.

The two ladies made their way to me and my sister each with a piece of black cloth in their hands. Fear settled over me. Where was my mother?

One of the ladies grabbed my arms and blindfolded me. I kicked and pushed, but she had much more strength. I could hear my little sister also struggling. She was screaming and crying for help, but I couldn't do anything to help her. I was helpless.

"Get off me" I screamed, but the lady pushed me down with even more force.

"It will be over soon, I promise" she said as she took my skirt off and tied my legs to the table.

I heard my sisters scream from across the room. It was the most agonising sound I've heard to this day. The sort of sound that I never want to hear again. I was blind folded, so I couldn't see what was happening. My sisters crying died out eventually. If my memory serves me well, she passed out. From the fear. The pain.
Then came my turn. I felt cold hands on my thighs, pressing down. Grandma's hands?

I started to struggle again.

"Hold still" grandma hissed.

I screamed. Cried. Pushed. But it was of no use, I was locked onto the floor.

And then it happened. The cutting occurred really rapidly. To this day, I have never experienced a pain as intense as being mutilated. It’s the kind of pain I wouldn't wish upon my enemy. They cut us without any use of anaesthetics, as a result I passed out.

I’m not sure how long it took for me to regain consciousness but when I did I felt sore. I opened my eyes to see one of the ladies applying crushed leaves to my wound.

"It'll heal quicker this way" she smiled as if she had an ounce of sympathy in her. But I guess I can’t blame her. She didn't know any better. She was following what people viewed as "cultural norms".

I stayed in that room with my sister for around a month. The ladies would visit us and put crushed leaves onto the wound daily until the wounds eventually healed into a faint scar.

My mother would come and visit us often, bringing food and new clothes with her.

I would ask my mother: "Why did they cut me? How could you let them do that to me?"

After a moment of silence she would reply: "My daughter, I did it to protect you. Those who are not cut in our village are looked down upon. No one will ever eat anything they cook. They are seen as impure. Unclean. You would be an outcast and I didn't want that for my daughters"

I'm still very angry. Angry that they dared brutalise me like that. But I think they truly believed they were doing my sister and me a favour. In a sense you could say it is their way of dishing out tough love, however unwanted it may be.

Talking about what happened to me is traumatising and embarrassing. Every time I speak of it I feel the same fear and pain I felt on the day of the cutting. FGM has affected my life negatively. This unnecessary practice is the reason for my phobia of cuts. No matter how small a cut is or where it is, I have a panic attack.

I am classed as one of the lucky FGM victims. Some girls weren't so lucky. A girl from our village died during childbirth due to complications as a result of FGM.

I hope more girls speak up and share their stories because together we can end this painful, life threatening practice. I want my future daughters to grow up in a culture that is free from FGM. No girl should go through what my sister and I did. I will make sure my daughters don't.”

After thanking Payam for being brave enough to share her story and assuring her that her voice will be heard I promised Kurdistan to work hard to end FGM and similar practices. Please share this blog and help Payam’s voice be heard. Many Kurdish women want FGM to end and we need to support them in their stand against the practice.