‘When you’re cut you won’t be a slut looking for men like a prostitute’: An utterly horrifying encounter with the FGM cutter women who butcher young girls’ genitals with a razor blade
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
- MailOnline visited two female cutters in Kenya ahead of the ‘cutting season’ when girls are sent from the West to undergo the brutal operation
- Tribal leader claims girls who aren’t mutilated can’t ‘control their emotions’
- Some 700,000 victims live in Europe – 140,000 in the UK and 100,000 in France. 500,000 women in the US have suffered or are in danger of FGM
- The practice is illegal in many parts of Africa but campaigners told MailOnline there is little hope of western leaders stopping it
- Supermodel campaigner bravely described the lifelong effects of having her vagina sewn up and calls the ‘sexist’ practice ‘child abuse’
Standing barefoot with a viciously sharp blade in her hand this is a cutter woman who performs female genital mutilation (FGM) on young girls as part of a misguided belief it prevents promiscuity and maintains family status in the traditional community.
Half-blind and with just a couple of teeth left in her mouth, Anna-Moora Ndege started cutting girls’ sexual organs over 70 years ago.
At first she used a six-inch nail, sharpened on stone to create a crude flat blade. Now she uses a razor blade – bought at the little shop at the end of the dirt track leading from her mud hut in rural Africa.
Ndege, 86, along with Agnes Kerubo, are two of the cutters that can be found in villages, towns and cities in Kenya and across Africa and parts of the Middle East where communities cling on to this barbaric tradition.
She told MailOnline: ‘Girls are cut to ensure they remain faithful because the sexual organ is not there anymore. When you are cut you will not be a slut looking for men here and there like a prostitute.
‘You are docile, waiting for your husband because after you are cut, sex is for having children not for anything else.’
Although outlawed across the developed world and many parts of Africa, the practice continues among tens of thousands of families who fear being outcast if they do not submit their daughters to this horrific ordeal.
Over one million girls and women living in Europe and North America have been affected by FGM, according to welfare groups.
Some 700,000 victims live in Europe – 140,000 in the UK and 100,000 in France. A further 500,000 women in the USA have undergone the procedure or are in danger of being forced into it.
As one British victim said: ‘Everyone thinks it’s not the girl in Manchester, in Cardiff or London being taken away and having FGM but it’s exactly these girls, they are not girls who are immigrants or here on holiday.’
And this summer tens of thousands of girls living in Europe and North America will be brought to Africa by their parents to undergo FGM as part of a warped bid to maintain their status in the traditional society. School holidays are known as the ‘cutting season’.
It is estimated that there are three million new FGM victims every year across the world.
Speaking to MailOnline, Keruba told how FGM is a central part of the traditions of the Kisi tribe, as it is with many tribes and communities across Africa and the Middle East.
Keruba, 62, said: ‘Circumcision is an important festival. It’s a celebration like Christmas. It unites people. There is feasting and drinking and dancing.
‘When you are cut that’s when you can grow healthily into a woman because the bad blood is not there anymore. In the body there is good blood and bad blood. After a girl is cut the bad blood is gone.’
Kenyan anti-FGM campaigner Ester Ogeto said girls and their families – even if they are now living in Western countries – are put under tremendous pressure to adhere to this barbaric tradition.
Some communities believe a woman cannot become pregnant unless she has been ‘circumcised’.
Ogeto said: ‘Families worry that their girls will be made outcasts and be shunned if they are not cut. She would be called names – told that she was smelly, told that her “organ would grow until it touched the floor”.
‘When a girl has been cut she is considered to be grown up. Girls are cut to fit into their community. After that she can get married and become pregnant.’
Giving an insight into the pressure families are put under, Dixion Kibagendia, a cultural leader of Kenya’s Kisi tribe, said that ending the barbaric practice will turn Africans into ‘slaves’ of the West.
He said: ‘Circumcision is carried out by families who have left Africa to maintain their culture. Some [African families who have moved abroad] have been told to forbid their girls from getting cut.
‘But these girls have no discipline and show no respect towards their relatives. The families become isolated in their own community, they become lost from their own culture and traditions.
‘In Africa culture is everything. If you are out of the culture you are lost from the community. Not being circumcised is a cultural taboo. Someone who is without their culture is a slave to another culture.’
Outrageously, he said that a woman with a clitoris ‘can’t distinguish between her husband and other men’.
He added: ‘They cannot control their emotions if they have a clitoris’.
Kerubo added that uncut girls ‘are told they smell like a dog’.
There is also financial considerations. The family of a girl who is not cut cannot expect to a dowry for her hand in marriage.
Ogeto explained: ‘The cut girls would get money and a lot of cows for their dowry. Girls who are not cut do not get many cows, in fact they would not get a dowry.’
Supermodel Waris Dirie, has campaigned against the practice, spurred on buy her own horrific ordeal when she had her genitalia cut and her vagina sewn up using thorns.
She said: ‘The society I grew up in, girls and women are not respected. As a woman you have no rights. They [men] can abuse you, misuse you, rape you, mutilate you, beat you up and dismiss you, if they want.
‘Nobody will protect you when you are a woman. People believe a girl will not be faithful if she develops any sexual feelings or pleasure.
‘Therefore they destroy the girl’s sexuality in cutting her genitals. It is the worst form of child abuse.’