tw: genital mutilation, rape, assault, sexual violence
“If you want to be a cutter, you can choose to be a cutter,” Jane says. After watching her mother and grandmother force prepubescent girls into the animal sheds at the back of the village to “make them clean and pure”, Jane begged, “Let me be the one to do this.””When that moment arrives, when you feel like you’re ready to undertake the procedure, you watch how she [the cutter] holds the knife. She shows you this is how and where you cut it,” Jane says. “That’s how you start.”It was only when Jane was married a few years later that she realized how FGM had destroyed her own body.”When my husband made love to me,” she explains, “the wound and the scar cracked again. My husband didn’t want to stop what he was doing. It was so painful. I really struggled with that as it soon became a very big swelling.”Then Jane fell pregnant. During an excruciating 14-hour labor, she suffered severe complications. Her vaginal opening was obstructed from the makeshift ‘stitching’ of her FGM procedure, causing a blockage to the birth canal. When the villagers sunk a knife into Jane’s wounds to make way for her baby, the blade caught the newborn’s skull. The child survived only briefly and was severely disabled for its short life. Soon afterwards, she stopped cutting.