By Amin Kef Sesay
The Chairperson of Amazonian Initiative Movement (AIM), Rugiatu Neneh Turay, has stated that they at AIM appreciate and thank all those who commented on their first piece whether negatively or positively.
She continued that the many comments were motivations to their work to keep pushing in the right direction, while the negative ones challenged us to do more.
“They created opportunities to look into other areas of work and ensure to address them,” she claimed adding that those that disagreed changed their stance when they engaged them. She argued that such shows that they should engage more, educate more members of communities on Female Genital Mutilation / Cutting (FGM/C).
“There are lots of misinformation peddled out by unscrupulous people so as to cajole the innocent poor girls and young women in an avoidable hazard in the near or immediate future,” she underscored maintaining the position that they need to write more of such pieces to educate and bring more information to the public so that even those sitting on the fence will read the fact and forget the myths.
Madam Rugiatu Turay stated how a lot of people carry on with myths believing that they are right disclosing how people reading the fact from that piece took on social media to educate the others.
“If you are touched take an action don’t just read and comment,” she enjoined stating how a single action will save a life.
“I also want to use this opportunity to thank Duty Bearers who took their time to respond to my message and declared their support and commitment to support the fight to remove the cutting from our Bondo culture,” she expressed gratitude also extending thanks to the wife of a high profiled person for being sincere with her husband by sharing her experience going through the outdated culture at adolescent age.
“Together you took the decision not to have your girls cut,” she said furthering that for standing their ground and not succumbing to family pressure the individual has changed a generation in a family.
“I am sure if all other women are sincere and open to discuss the ordeal with their husbands together they will protect their girls from going through the same ordeal,” she stated adding that failing to take actions have exposed the next generation of that family to the same outdated culture.
According to her, recently, a survey shows that there is an increase in the number of HIV/AIDS amongst women than men. That report, she went on, was posted on social media with comments from different people who happened to read it.
She pointed out that again the high incident of infant mortality rate in the country cannot be over emphasized.
“Our country is one with one of highest infant mortality rates. These two are subjects that need to be investigated by our medical personnel and address them with sincerity to help the womenfolk and not to be ignored,” Rugiatu recommended.
She called on all to visit the Aberdeen Women Center and see the increasing number of fistula patients saying a specific survey has not been conducted but most women at that center are cut.
“Check and find out about sex workers whether they are on the streets or private homes, married or single most of them are cut women and girls which clearly shows that cutting the clitoris of a woman does not stop her from being promiscuous as we are made to believe,” the rights activist argued.
On Cleanliness and FGM or women with clict she said most times people say uncut women and girls are unclean which according to her also is a myth.
Rugiatu argued that cleanliness in a woman has nothing to do with being cut or uncut.
She continued that our medical personnel know that HIV/AIDS can spread by FGM because blood is involved through piecing of the body.
“The medics know shock, suffocation and tetanus from FGM kills, they know the problems and disadvantages from the removal of the clitoris that can lead to obstructive labor which most times lead to Caesarian operation, most women loss their firstborns,” she argued further.
She added how our medical personnel especially the DHMT and the district medical sisters must start doing robust monitoring of MCH Aids who are more involve with communities.
Rugiatu expressed the belief that because of the lack of monitoring those MCH AIDS are allegedly accused of being involved in performing FGM maintaining the position that it will be great if our medical and health personnel focus on preserving lives than getting involved in promoting FGM.
Dilating on influential religious leaders Rugiatu said she wants to draw attention to the teachings of the Holy books on women. She said born and grew up from a Muslim home one thing that she knows about the Quran, which ,according to her, is most times misunderstood and misinterpreted to promote FGM has so much respect for women.
She argues that in fact, a whole Surah is dedicated for women which is also very clear on the instruction not to modify the creation of God.
“However, human beings have taken tradition and culture so important than the words and commands of the creator,” she stated arguing that performing FGM on women is like telling God He has done a bad work.
“I am not a preacher of the gospel nor an Imam but I believe that God is a perfect God and can’t make mistake,” she argued adding how He has placed the clitoris on women for a purpose and that is why He said we must enjoy sex.
She expressed the view that Sex is meant to be enjoyed stating how it is been done for pleasure but a lot of women who are cut don’t enjoy sex rather they live in pretense to maintain their relationships.
Rugiatu maintained that marriages today crumble because of starvation of sex.
“The appetite of sex in most women is reduced because of the pain during sex, it is not every sound that your partner makes during sex that signify pleasure, most times its pain but we can’t speak, we are shy to speak about sex even to our partners,” she maintains adding that she will leave all with these questions: Why do women still want to put their daughters into the same ordeal they faced?
What difference do they want to leave with their daughters?
Do they wish their girls happy homes and relationship?
Rugiatu said our religious leaders are suffering too as they are human beings with flesh and blood.
“Speak to them and hear their stories about sex with their wives yet they are quiet about the practice of FGM,” she said saying most will argue that the Hadith says cut small but argued that it is like Shylock, the Money Lender in the Merchant of Venice, “ I will take a pound of flesh”.
“Our religious leaders and medical personnel don’t need votes. All they need is to save lives. One saves it physically and spiritually and the other physically and emotionally. Our work and words will change the narratives. Speak to the politicians. Let them know you are now aware of the dangers so you will stand to speak the truth to save lives,”