I almost died after undergoing FGM - Rumana Issack
1 months ago, 21 Oct 11:17
The director of Children and Women affair under the umbrella of Mandera West Youth Association Rumana Issack, now 24, faced the knife when she was 11-years-old.She recollects her near-death experience and how picking up the pieces was no walk in the park
How was your growing up?
I was born and breed in Korogocho Slums. Our family wasn’t well off, but we survived. I went to High School and passed very well. I was a bright student.
You underwent FGM. How did that come about?
Well, you will not believe it but it was out of peer pressure. I was only 11 years old. Most of my friends had undergone FGM and I felt like an ‘outcast’. My mother had refused, but I still did it anyway. I felt undergoing FGM meant I was now more ‘honoured and dignified’. The memories are awful. It was the most painful thing and I wouldn’t wish anyone to go through it.
What exactly do you mean?
Immediately after I was cut, my legs were tightly tied together to try stop the bleeding. I had to be carried since I couldn’t walk. I bled for more than 11 hours. It was bad. I almost lost my life. The scar took months to heal. Thankfully, after a few months I was back on my feet and managed to go back to school. I vowed to fight against FGM and educate girls on the dangers of it.
You mentioned you started the campaign while in University?
Yes. After I cleared High School, I enrolled at Kenyatta University where I pursued a Degree in Media. I decided to do my Project on FGM, since I wanted to dig up more information about it. I approached a doctor in whom I confided that I had undergone the cut. She really sympathised with me, but talking to her also helped me. It was like therapy. From that point, I decided to fight FGM.
How did you go about it?
In 2016, I partnered with an organisation, Girl Generation to fight FGM and gender based violence in Korogocho. We educated the women on the ills of FGM and also gave them free sanitary towels. It was such a fulfilling thing to do.
I later relocated to Mandera, where FGM and early marriages is a big issue. What most people don’t know is that FGM messes women up. First, your libido goes down and this results to high cases of divorce. Second, complications during childbirth.
Tell us about your work...
Currently, I am the director of Children and Women affair under the umbrella of Mandera West Youth Association. We are dedicated to save girls from early marriages and rescue them from FGM.
It is challenging since it is deep-rooted, but we are almost getting there. See, girls of age 11 and above are the most vulnerable. They are lured to early marriages immediately they undergo the cut.
Does the society appreciate what you do?
Well, yes. We have rescued so many girls from getting hitched to old men. We move around homesteads asking the parents to take ...
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