Genital Mutilation: Kemi Olunloyo Recounts How She Was Cut With A Sharp Razor & Given No Anaesthetic For the Pain

Via IBTimes.co.uk: Kemi Omololu-Olunloyo still remembers the secluded area behind the Oja Oba market in Ibadan, capital of Nigeria's Oyo state, where she was subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM).

Olunloyo, now a renowned journalist in Nigeria, was five-years-old when her family took her and her sister to visit an old man, who made the two girls lay on his laps "and then cut part of our vagina and clitoral area off."

Nearly 50 years later, memories of the encounter that would leave an indelible mark in Olunloyo's life are still vivid in her mind.

"There was no anaesthetic and a sharp razor blade was used. I remember my sister and I screaming afterwards. We went home bleeding in diapers and, for a week, it was like we were little girls with menstrual periods. My mom was bathing us and diapering us. Deep down, mom was not happy for some reason," Olunloyo told IBTimes UK.

After years of resentment towards her mother, Olunloyo finally confronted her in 2012. "She burst into tears telling me that our late paternal grandmother ordered my dad to have us do it," she explained.

"This tradition is over 70-years-old. Our grandmother was a traditional Muslim woman who dictated many rules to her young son, my dad."

Lifelong repercussions
Some women and girls who undergo FGM, have their entire genitalia cut and "sewn closed."

Olunloyo's genitalia were only partially removed, meaning she did not experience difficulties while giving birth.

However, the psychological and physical consequences of the mutilation still linger in her life.

"Calling it an operation is nothing. It was a cultural barbaric act used to decrease the female libido. It caused me post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for life," she said.

"I don't experience orgasm during sex and when I tried to promote the use of sex toys among Nigerian women, men started attacking me saying I was discouraging African women 'from the real thing'.

"Sex is not important. I have no libido or urge to have sex and I've been celibate for 10 years. Millions of women in Nigeria go through this, but they cannot talk or be outspoken like me. It is shameful and a disgrace to them," she continued.

"Many women say they fake orgasms and others have husbands who go out to prostitutes and girlfriends. FGM has destroyed marriages here."


Female genital mutilation in Nigeria - FGM ban in Nigeria
In 2015, former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan passed a law banning FGM. Among other things, the legislation also forbids men from abandoning women and children without economic support.

However, a report by NGO 28 Too Many claimed earlier in October that around 24.8% of girls and women aged between 15 and 49 still undergo FGM in Nigeria, where an estimated total of 20 million women and girls have undergone the practice.

The organisation said the practice is more prevalent in urban areas (32%) compared to rural ones (19.3%) and among Christian and traditional religions in the south-east (49%) and south-west (47.5%). The north-east and north-west areas of the country have the lowest prevalence.

"Oyo state still practices it . Only the Ijebus people across the Yorubaland where I am from in Nigeria don't do it at all," Olunloyo said.

"My message to girls who have been through it is to stay strong and get into support groups. I would like to be a UN Ambassador and travel around Africa forming support groups in communities and educating girls about sex education the right way, instead of cutting part of their genitals off causing a lifelong traumatic problem," she concluded.