How do you find the words to describe a book that leaves you speechless? That, from the first few pages, has the ability make you weep. That, even though you’re sat on a beach in 30° heat, makes you sit up, put your hand to your mouth and close your eyes because you just can’t fathom or comprehend the words your brain is trying to absorb?
In truth, there are few words that I can give to articulate the sobriety this book causes, the sheer raw and honest nature that wrenches your heart from your chest, makes your realise how lucky you are and how dark and misinformed the world can be. By now you’re probably wondering what the hell this book is and why I haven’t even mentioned the title, so I’ll slip it in here… Cut: One Woman's Fight Against FGM in Britain Today.
Cut points to evidence that many in the UK don’t know what FGM stands for or even what it is, I was only vaguely aware of the term and was nowhere near close to understanding the full implications. To me it was another abbreviation. Words that had nothing to do with me, that didn’t affect me. Words that sounded horrendous, but were probably ok because no one was talking about them. Before I explain it, I want you to understand a few points.
• It is a cultural practise (not religious).
• There is no health benefit; in fact it is the root cause of many health problems.
• It is illegal in the UK and many other countries.
• It is a form of child abuse.
• It is a violation of human rights.
• It happens in the UK.
Female Genital Mutilation is the act of partially or fully removing the external part of the vagina and is usually performed on young girls, but sometimes older, in order to fulfil the cultural belief, that upon reaching womanhood, the girl will be considered clean or pure and therefore, can marry well. Author and FGM Campaigner, Hibo Wardere, takes us on a journey, her journey, through the world of FGM. The telling of her life experiences; from being cut at 6 years old, to intimacy with her husband, to the fears of childbirth as she goes into labour, are all harrowingly raw, at times unbelievably difficult to read, but significant. It’s a book everyone, men and women alike, should read in order to understand, raise awareness and create dialogue about an issue is considered a taboo. Pick it up. This woman is heroic and this book is important.