A Survivor’s Battle Against Female Genital Mutilation
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Lucy Mashua, the Global Ambassador for fighting FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) and standing up for Women’s Rights.
FP: Lucy Mashua, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.
Tell us about your background and your own personal story.
Mashua: I was born 30 years ago in a small village in southern Kenya in Rift valley province. I come from the Maasai tribe, which is known for its cultural wearing of beads, red ochre and wraps. We are nomadic people and move with our animals from one place to another in search of pastures, as it’s a semi arid area. We have three major groups in Africa: Bantu, Cushites and Nilots.
My tribe falls into the Nilots group and the tribe from which Obama’s father comes from, Luo. We migrated from Egypt in 16 AD, named after the river Nile and most of us are black Jews, but practicing Christianity. I am a Christian.
I love my tribe so much that I want them to treat women and children right by ending FGM and early child marriage. Women and girls are not men’s properties. It is our God- given right not to be mutilated and married off at a tender age. I am the first born of a family of six and underwent FGM at the age of 9 one early morning with a group of other girls. Vaginal genocide was committed on us.
And now here I am living to tell and be a voice for the voiceless.
FP: Why does your tribe practise FGM? What is its philosophy? And why does it also engage in child marriage?
Mashua: My tribe practices FGM because they are ignorant and brainwashed since the days of Pharaoh in Egypt as they migrated to East Africa with this tradition. The philosophy is that women will be more tame and controllable. When a woman is made to feel like she is an object and not 100% human, she will fall for it. They become puppets and not valued, but it didn’t work with me.
They also engage in early childhood marriage to control and tame women because if you are married off at 12, by the time you are 18 you are just worn out and you will never see the need to explore life. The younger the girls are, the easier it is to control and manipulate them. It’s also about wealth. The more wives and cattle you have, the wealthier you are and you have more property.
FP: I am sorry to ask, but can you kindly share with us the horrible experience you suffered of FGM? Who did this to you? What were the consequences? How did you cope with it?
Mashua: One chilly morning in a group of 29 girls, we were mutilated. I was tied with a rope because I was screaming and begging them to stop. Some girls were considered brave for not crying aloud. But I know their heart cried out loud. I could hear their cry and still do.
It is so hard for me to talk about this. It’s so fresh. I am still so traumatized. They used the same knife on us, not caring about any infections. These are tradition mutilators and midwives that perform this savagery. My mom could not watch this. Up to now, I am scared of any human blood. I scream when I accidentally cut myself. A few days ago I passed out when I cut my finger and I hurt my back as I live by myself. No one could help me.
I have nightmares. I have never coped. I have very painful PMS. I have extra glands growing so I need surgery. I have scar tissues. That’s why my vagina muscles hurt. I will live with this for the rest of my life. I will never cope but one thing for sure I will never stop voicing out against FGM.
One day I will reach the World Court and criminalize globally FGM. I swear I am going to reach there. I am now building a very big network of very committed people. I aspire even to be a human rights movie documentary producer. I am going to get words out there and catch the attention of all kinds of good people. I will kick FGM ass out of this planet. And that makes me smile.
FP: I am sorry that I asked you to talk about this horrible monstrosity that was committed against you. Thank you for sharing it with us. I speak on behalf of Fronpagemag.com to say that our heart is with you and all the victims. We feel your pain and stand beside you in this battle to stop this violence against little girls and women.
You have suffered some persecution and terrible ordeals because of your fight against FGM while you were in Africa. Tell us what happened to you.
Mashua: First I was rejected by my own society, relatives and friends because of my strong uncompromised belief that women are human too and that no one should take a razor, knife or sharp glass to cut off our clitoris.
No man owns a woman and no one has the right to beat or hit a woman. I have watched my mom suffer at the hands of men and I had enough and began my rebellion by not obeying what men wanted from me and I knew then I have begun a war.
As young as 6 years old I would open my mouth and shout to the top of my voice in a gathering to speak my mind out. Of course I would get beatings but I grew immune. I could not cry anymore from the beatings but I cry out when my friends and relatives undergo FGM.
My fight against FGM has landed me in jail as a protester. I have suffered beatings, rejection, sexual abuse, separation from my babies. I have been tortured physically, sexually and emotionally. I have physical scars all over my body. Up to this time there are times my mind goes back and it’s like a horror movie. I suffered a great deal but I thank God almighty for America.
FP: What efforts are you now making to stop FGM? What resistance are you confronting?
Mashua: Since the day I stepped foot in the United States, I have been leading a fight against FGM. I have received help from my attorneys Roy Petty and Daniel Stewart, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and many organizations, such as the Center for Survivors of Torture and Human rights Initiatives.
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson held my hand and stood by me. Annually I am a guest speaker to her World of Peace Women Conference. She even introduced me to President Obama back in 2007. He recognized my efforts on human rights issues and said he was proud of me in a letter he wrote to me.
The Congresswoman is a great friend. She helps me in many big ways that you cannot imagine and they are very personal. She went ahead and introduced me to my adopted brother J. Kendel Johnson, who has always been there for me, even in my hospital bed during my reconstructive surgery. He is an angel.
Parkland hospital surgeons saved my life and reduced my pain and body struggle by 60%. Many individuals groups supported me and still support me with my campaign here in the United States.
I began my campaign officially in 1999 in Kenya by holding demonstrations, speaking in seminars, radio and television programmes and in other East and Central Africans countries. I have currently launched a world wide campaign to stop FGM in Europe. It’s not always been easy. First, resistance from my own people, then resistance from traditional mutilators who say that I am trying to destroy their only means of income.
FP: How about the Left? They pretend they are for human rights?
Mashua: Leftists pay lip service to women’s rights, but they are full of empty words. They derive fame and recognition from the pain and suffering of women. They only talk and travel just to show off; they do nothing to help or join in the fight against FGM.
FP: Expand for us on why leftist feminists and the Left in general abandons the girls who are the victims of FGM, especially those under Islam? They simply cannot bring themselves to criticize adversarial cultures and religions right?
Mashua: It’s simple: they don’t care about the harmful cultures. All they care about is opening their mouth or scribbling some words online or on paper to act as if they care and so far they have scooped several Grammies for best actors.
They bow down and worship the women haters to achieve favors and recognition. It’s high time we smoke these hypocrites out. I cannot stand them anymore I even don’t want their money to support my campaign because it’s blood money and evil-haunted money.
I would rather crawl and beg in the streets to sustain my campaign instead of working with such people.
The leading member of the Women Development Organization in Kenya, the vice chair, said this about FGM: “Unlike other gender issues, such as access to education, FGM is viewed as cultural practice, which, if threatened, endangers the cohesion of an entire community.” Her name is Rukia Subow and she is a supporter of the mutilators and of mutilation. She is the vice chair of Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organization–or MYWO–a leading Kenyan women’s rights group based in Nairobi. She writes: “FGM is considered most significant rite of passage to adulthood, enhancing tribal cohesion, providing girls with important recognition from peers.”
This is an organisation that is funded and works with the leftists in the West. I went to court to sue this organisation and its leadership with other 10 women and we lost and ended up in jail. We were beaten up and threatened just because we wanted them to womanup.
Another example is Ricken Patel of AVAAZ who grew up in Kenya. He told me that FGM is not an important issue and cannot beat climate change and his organisation will not help us to protect girls from FGM. Believe me, religion is a playing card here because this pretender doesn’t want to step on the toes of religion leaders and haters of women. Then a few days later he put a cause on Facebook that he cares about sex slavery. I told him these girls run away from their home to escape the crude culture of mutilation and child brides and end up in the streets where they are captured by educated heartless people for sex slavery and it’s so painful because it happened to someone very dear to me. She disappeared for years. She was only 11
In the Washington Post, Secretary Clinton wrote a column “Fighting Modern Slavery” lamenting worldwide sex trafficking. The root causes of sex trafficking are poverty, illiteracy, and powerlessness. Gender inequality is the basis for all three. I am hoping to represent the Department of State in a two week conference next year in Sierra Leone.
FP: You come from a tribe that is made of up Christians, and yet there was FGM. This is strange as Christianity would be completely against this kind of thing. It is in Islam where this is most occurring and Islamic theology sanctions it. Tell us also about your experience with Islam and Muslims in terms of FGM today.
Mashua: Yes my tribe is Christian and also full of traditional believers. I don’t know why they practice it because there is no single Bible verse that says to mutilate women. As I said earlier, it’s a way of controlling women. It has nothing to do with Christianity and they do not point to Christianity. They carried this tradition from Egypt in 16 AD (days of Pharoh). As Nilots, we immigrated to East Africa.
My experience with Islam on FGM is very sad. As you correctly point out, a majority of people who practice FGM on women are of the Islamic faith and in the Muslim countries that I have visited their women and children have encountered the worst form of it, and many reconstructive surgeons can testify to this. It is a form of control and manipulation in the name of religion.
The good news is that there many Muslims who are rising to end any form of torture against women.
FP: That is great but the problem is that Muslims point to traditional Islamic teachings that sanction FGM. This is the way they keep it in placed. That is why when Egypt, for example, banned FGM in 1996, an Egyptian court overturned the ban in July 1997 after Islamic clerics went on a rampage to bring it back, pointing to Islamic teachings and ideology. Islamic tradition, for instance, records the Prophet Muhammad emphasizing that circumcising girls is “a preservation of honor for women.” A legal manual endorsed by Al-Azhar University of Cairo, which is the oldest and most prestigious university in the Islamic world, states that circumcision is obligatory for both boys and girls.
The sexual mutilation of girls is in the interests of those who control the structure of Islamic gender apartheid. Keeping FGM legitimized and institutionalized is one of the most effective means that Islamic gender apartheid keeps women subjugated and caged.
Yes, let’s hope that Muslim reformers can be empowered to fight FGM, but in order to do so they have to confront the misogyny and demonization of female sexuality that is embedded in Islamic theology.
So where does your battle stand now as we speak?
Mashua: We all read the harmful Muslim remarks on Beyonce after she said she was going to perform in Egypt:
“Beyonce, queen of the crusader whores and puppet of the Zionist entertainment complex, plans to bring her filthy sex act to the heart of the Muslim world with a concert in Cairo. Not since al-Malik al-Adil Nur ad-Din Abu al-Qasim Mahmud Ibn ‘Imad ad-Din Zangi fought the crusaders in Damascus has the Muslim world faced such a threat.”
“If Beyonce is allowed to go ahead with her insolent sex party, all of our daughters risk growing up whores. Soon, they will dare to show their ankles in a public setting, or sit in a room with a grown man who is not an immediate family member.”
“If Beyonce insists on traveling to Egypt, she must be met with fierce resistance. She should be arrested and made to have a female circumcision in order to correct her wicked urges. If she objects, she must be stoned to death. Only then can our daughters be safe from Western vice and debauchery.”
Wow, tell me what kind of religion it is that hates women so much to the core? It’s simple: women are not allowed to enjoy sex or laughter or just the gift of life because of these Islamic attitudes and teachings. Look what happened at the Fort Hood shooting. The authorities knew about Nidal Hasan’s jihadist views but they were afraid to report him because of political correctness. And the fear of not taking action cost us our blood and lives. Believe me there are so many of the major Hasans out there. It’s high time we call a spade a spade.
Five hundred thousand women are still dying in childbirth every year and the promise of universal access to reproductive health and family planning made at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt in 1994 has been more honored in the breach than in the implementation. A.majority of women’s deaths in these cases are caused by early women rights violations (i.e. FGM, child brides, etc.)
On Common Ground must expand the discussion to the entire planet. What we do here in this country has an effect on the entire world’s view of women, on their status, on their role in human affairs. America, we are the hope of the world. Let’s stand together and lets not be scared of the haters and leftists.
FP: Thank you Lucy Mashua. Final words?
Mashua: When the world takes care of women, women take care of the world. What does taking care of women mean? It means that people rejoice equally at the birth of a girl or a boy. Every single human being ever born has come from the womb of a woman. Women risk their very lives to ensure the propagation of the species. If women lack health and education and choices in their lives, humanity suffers. If women disappear, humanity disappears. It is really that simple. So take care of women.
FP: Lucy Mashua, you are an inspiration to us all. We encourage all of our readers to help join the fight against FGM.
[To get the whole story on why the Left won’t lift a finger against Female Genital Mutilation and Islamic Gender Apartheid, read Jamie Glazov’s new book, United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror.]
(Tags: Tribe, Women, Childbirth, World)