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The Discussion of Female Genital Mutilation in Fauziya Kassindja’s "Do They Hear You When You Cry?"

Clarissa Poston

Posted on April 24, 2021 19:36

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Fauziya Kassindja’s "Do They Hear You When You Cry?" is considered a nonfiction piece of literature. This book discusses a multitude of globally recognized women’s issues; however, the issue of female genital mutilation was an extremely prominent and informative inclusion.

For starters, Kassindja’s Do They Hear You When You Cry is an outstanding read. It covers the life of a girl who faces immense obstacles in life. Originally from Togo, West Africa, she is, eventually, forced to flee her country for asylum.

Throughout the telling of the story, readers are informed of the many women’s issues that can be found in West Africa, the United States of America, and other various locations. Some of these issues include forced marriages, child marriages, and unfair gender roles; however, the most prominent women’s issue discussed is that of female genital mutilation.

Unfamiliar to most, female genital mutilation is a rarely discussed issue. This is unfortunate, as it is such a common procedure across the globe. Thankfully, Kassindja’s book thoroughly discusses the issue. 

In her book, Kassindja states that the female genital mutilation procedure is a “traditional practice” used to make women become “clean” for men. She then goes on to describe how the procedure is carried out, including the mentioning of being held down by other women, having the designated “woman parts” scraped off, and the lack of proper sterilization, pain killers, and anesthesia.

Furthermore, Kassindja informs her readers of the healing process which takes place after a woman has been mutilated: you are wrapped “from your hips to your knees…you have to stay in bed for forty days…After the forty days, you are ‘reborn’ for your husband.”

Kassindja then goes on to inform her readers of the various types of female genital mutilation, all of them being absolutely horrific.

To sum up her mentioning of this procedure, Kassindja includes the potential medical risks: “…death, bleeding, pain, shock, psychological trauma, infection, disfigurement, scarring, [and] loss of sexual sensation.” She also includes information as to why this procedure is carried out: to “keep [women] pure…to reduce their sexual feelings and desire, to keep them under men’s control, [and] to please men.”

Clearly, the issue of female genital mutilation revolves around the societal “norms," in some countries, where women are meant to be treated as the property of their husbands. Here, in the United States, this procedure is not as prevalent; however, we must start identifying ourselves with the citizens of other countries. We must begin to recognize their issues, imagine ourselves in their shoes, and take the steps to help.

Clarissa Poston

Posted on April 24, 2021 19:36

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Source: Screen Rant

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