In Pokot, Girls Bleed

If you are a girl and you were born in West Pokot some 12 or 13 years ago, around this time, as the rest of the world heads into December’s hedonism, celebrations and excesses, you will be getting ready to be circumcised. That is, if “getting ready” is even an apt phrase to prefix in reference to getting circumcised. Nonetheless, you will find yourself in a hut with other girls, your peers seating on the cold earthen floor, knees touching each other. You will most likely be barefoot. Your hair will be short, thick, kinky and smelling of the sun. You will be in an old dress or a skirt, your best clothes, which ironically are also your everyday clothes. You will sit huddled like animals getting ready for slaughter in a “corner” of the cylindrical room, together yet alone.

Outside – beyond the hills of Chesegon – the sun will be going down in a perfect ball of orange, the short stubby withered trees covered in thin dust casting willowy shadows on the dry thirsty land of Pokot. There will be jubilation outside your hut. You girls will sit in silence in the encroaching darkness and avoid each other’s eyes, afraid to see powerlessness quickly growing in them like wild weeds.

In the next hut there will be a very old man seated on a stone, his shuka gathered around his waist. His nimble muscles will move under his saggy weathered skin as he sharpens a knife. You and your peers in the hut – as well as half the village howling in celebration outside – will be there because of that 4-inch knife. It’s the circumcision knife in case you are wondering; an ugly thing made from a long nail, pounded and curved into the shape of a leaf. A piece of wood is then attached at the end of it to act as a handle. The old man will sharpen this knife until it can cut by just looking at it. Then he will place it near a fire the whole night to retain its sharpness. Someone will stoke that fire, keeping it burning until the small hours of the morning.

There will be a celebrity in the boma; the old woman who will circumcise you the next morning. They are respected in the village, famed, lauded and celebrated. They turn girls into women, and women mean cows and children and clan longevity. This woman is wrinkled and stooped and her eyes sink further into their sockets as if unable to handle the light of day. Her skin resembles cracked earth. She has short stubby fingers with gnarled nails.

While the whole gathering outside will be drinking normal brew the whole night, she will be drinking special alcohol made from honey. She will sip it from a special calabash called kolowo.

She’s called Roda Longoleren. She’s got four daughters. All circumcised. And married off.  

At 10pm, her shadowy figure will bend and make an entrance into the hut. Your hut. You and your peers will all flinch. Other women will trail behind her inside singing folk songs. She will be carrying that knife and while dancing, she will flash it in your faces to see if you show fear. She will laugh; a hysterical, high pitched ghoulish laughter that pierces your small bones with foreboding. The women will taunt you; tell you how much of an embarrassment and disappointment you will be to your parents the next day if you show fear while being cut. “Don’t be the laughing stocks of the village”, they will tell you, “don’t be weak and unworthy. If you flinch you will never get a husband.

That night you will sleep in that hut as celebrations go on outside. The next morning, way before the sun rises from beyond Sigor; you will find yourself with your peers walking down to the river in a single file, surrounded by dancing and singing women. Dust reluctantly rising around you. You will be wearing only a top. You will dip yourselves into the cold flowing water, waist high and it will numb your lower body. You will shiver, from the cold and from fright. Your mother, dancing in the crowd, will wave jubilantly.

The entourage will walk back to the village where you will stand outside the cow shed, inside which there will be a stone. It’s a special stone picked by one of the women, flat at the base and high enough to raise your waist area above the ground. That stone will have been tried and tested for stability.  There will be a handful of women in the cowshed, including Roda with her knife. All around the shed will be villagers singing and dancing.

You will see your father standing where he is required to stand, at the entrance of the cowshed. He’s holding a spear.  

On cue from one of the women, you will run into the cowshed and sit on the stone whereupon you will part your legs, stick your chin up in the cloudless dawn sky, and proceed to raise your hands in the air.

Then you will wait for the knife.

Last week I met Roda in Kongelai, West Pokot. She has since walked away from this practice and is now an advocate against FGM. I asked her if she ever looked at the girls in the eyes right before she cut them and what emotion she saw in those eyes. Was it pride? Fear? Defiance? Resignation? She said it really didn’t matter then; it was and still is a tradition.

So anyway, there you are, seated with your legs open, looking up in the sky, it’s cold and your whole body is tense. You wait for the unknown. Then it comes. You feel a hand on your genitalia, a cold hand that has been rubbed with ashes from a three-stone stove, meant to help reduce the slipperiness because remember you are wet from the river water. The hands grope chunks of your young genitalia, the labia and the clitoris. You suck in your breath because you are not supposed to flinch you are not supposed to embarrass your mother and father and your aunts and the village.

You don’t see it, but you feel the movement of air as Roda swiftly brings down the knife. You hear the sound – that sickening searing sound of your flesh tearing apart – before you even feel the pain. It’s like the sound of a sharp knife cutting through soft linen. A macabre sound.

And just like that, Roda, with one swift expert motion, cut’s off parts of your labia and your clitoris.

She tosses them aside on the dusty cowshed floor. (Like unwanted items.)

The womenfolk cheer and ululate.

Your father smiles proudly.

You start bleeding.

I asked Christine Nakoki, 19, who had been cut not too long ago and ran away, to describe what went through her mind seated on that stone, the final moments before they severed her genitals. We are sitting in a traditional hut, a temporary safe houses set up by Action Aid Kenya that take in girls who have run away from their villages because of FGM and need care and education. It’s quiet and cool inside, a contrast to the blistering heat outside.  

“Describe for me that feeling”, I asked. She launched into a long pause. “My heart was beating so fast, and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Then when she cut me it felt  like someone had poured very hot water on me down there, then it started burning, the pain moving from the waist going up.” She never looked at me in the eye.

Your father is required to stand with a spear at the entrance of the boma. In case you decide to make a run for it, he is to spear you. Yes, he is allowed. He’d rather kill you than get embarrassed. Should this happen, should you make a run for it, the women who are in the cowshed are required to dance before him, to distract him and offer cover for you as you are dragged back onto the stone.

But you will not make a run for it, or cower, but you will bleed, maybe even pass out from the pain or the bleeding. Or both.  If you do, you will be carried out of the cowshed whereupon the next girl will run into the cowshed, sit on the same stone and get cut by the same knife held by Roda’s dexterous hands.

Later, in a special hut, your legs will be tied tightly together to keep the “wound” intact. You will stay in the hut with the rest of the girls tied like that, fed on ugali and plenty of milk delivered to your hut by different women. You will not leave that hut for a month; your legs will remain tied together. Should you want to pee, you have to lie on your back and then raise your legs up in the air to take the urine away from your genitalia.  

Exactly one month after ‘the cut’ you will limp out of the hut and there, waiting for you, will be – most likely – an old man. “This is going to be your husband,” your mother will tell you proudly. He will probably be in his late 50’s, leaning on a stick, flanked by gaunt younger men eyeing you like reptiles. He will grin at you, this husband-in-waiting, an ugly grin – maybe partly toothless, his mouth curved into the shape of the knife that cut you. He paid 35 heads of cattle for you. Suddenly one of the younger men will haul you on his back and cart you off, kicking and screaming to spend your first Christmas as a young circumcised bride.

Merry Christmas.

When you arrive at his boma you will realise, perhaps without surprise, that he has three other wives. That night, your honeymoon night, you will be expected out of obligation and duty to sleep with your husband, this strange old man with leather for skin and a rheumatic chuckle. Maybe he coughs all the time. Maybe he smokes a pipe that smells awful.

There will be no foreplay in case you are wondering (what is foreplay anyway?, you are a child, you don’t know anything). Not that night, not ever. He will have his way with you as you lie under him, stiff like a board and terrified, eyes shut tight as you twist away from his breath on your neck. The next morning you will be handed beaded bangles to signify that penetration was successful. However, if he tried unsuccessfully because your entrance was too small he will be surly and livid, and the next morning he will summon your village representatives and demand that something be done immediately or else his cows be returned, all of them, with not one hoof missing!

What happens then is that a bunch of elderly women will come to your new home, specialists on penetration. They will come with a cow’s horn, bent and sharp at the tip, and they will insert the tip in your vagina and wedge the horn inside, pry it open, and then they will bring it down, tearing your vagina. With the horn still inside, and you bleeding and crying, someone will call out to your husband who will come with his penis already erect and he will penetrate you right there as the women quickly recede out of the hut to allow him privacy to this spectacle pidgeon-holed under tradition.

I went down to Kongelai, West Pokot, with Corazon Aquino of Action Aid Kenya, and at this point when the women illustrated on a wooden dummy how the horn is used to pry open the girl’s private part in order for the man to penetrate her, she gasped sharply, leaned over and put her head in her hands, covered her face and stayed like that throughout the remainder of the grotesque demonstration, refusing to look up. I could hear her slow shallow breaths from my seat.

I met and interviewed some of these girls holed up in a particular safe house. Girls who ran away before they were cut and girls who ran away after they were cut. The safe houses are run by these amazing community women groups who take in the girls and nurse them to health, send them to schools with the support of Action Aid and go around villages offering workshops against FGM.

When I went into this temporary safe-house to interview some of these girls I was struck by not only their haunted looks, but how hunted they seemed. They cowered together in that darkened hut, wide eyed with fear and mistrust, not only towards me, but to humanity it seemed. It truly broke my heart. Instinctively, they sat with their legs tight together and I noticed how they kept pulling down their dresses over their knees. They were shy and spoke to me in halting whispers. They were jumpy. They giggled at times when I cracked a joke; surprisingly pure and melodious giggles. They were still children after all.

I’m told me that when they first come to the safe houses, they come stripped of any self-esteem. How they come as children who have seen a horror that children shouldn’t be allowed to see. Some come with the dreadful fistula. They come with scars uglier than the visible scars on their bodies, scars that perhaps very few will be able to reach or fully comprehend. They come fearful and desperate, bearing little or no dignity. They come violated and defeated.

They all come crying.

These girls walk from very long distances to escape – as long as 40km stretches. They come from the most interior of villages of Lelan, of Kasei, of Kapenguria, of Kacheliba, of Alale, of Chesegon. The walk barefoot in the scalding unforgiving heat and quite often they give up along the way and go back. Or they are caught and taken back. There is need for more safe houses to be built closer to them in different parts of West Pokot to give them easier access. Those safe houses need mattresses and beds and the community women, these dedicated old women who tirelessly help them, need a functional resource center.

And this December, the season for FGM, scores of them will be running to these few safe houses and when they do they will need to know that someone will be there to take them in and protect them.

We have the power to help these children. We can make these girls’ Christmas  one they will never forget. Let’s show them that they are not alone.

To Help:

Mpesa:

Pay Bill – 899610

Account Name: End FGM

Bank Details

Standard Chartered branch – Westlands

Account name: Actionaid International Kenya-local fundraising

Account number: 01-080-336006-10 Branch: Westlands

Switft Code: SCBLKENXXXX

For more information how you can help: http://actionaidkenya.org/anti-fgm-campaign/

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202 thoughts on “In Pokot, Girls Bleed”

  1. Kate says:

    Reading….

  2. Josy says:

    such an outdated practice and we should be in the forefront in fighting this FGM monster

  3. naseem says:

    Am sorry,i really tried but i can’t finish reading this.lets build this safe houses.

  4. Joy says:

    I am terrified. Oh my God..in this day and age???

  5. Nicole says:

    Too painful to even read…….and here I am not grateful for where I am. Lord forgive me!

  6. Linda says:

    I feel like am right there, and its scary… FGM needs to end

  7. Fridah says:

    chilling

  8. Benjaps says:

    Jesus Christ!

  9. mandy says:

    I was cringing in my set as I read this. I was hoping there would be a way to help them, and thankfully there is.

  10. Mark says:

    Never knew I could be so horrified in the morning.

    Mpesa:
    Pay Bill – 899610
    Account Name: End FGM

  11. Cathy says:

    Sobering

  12. justina says:

    Such a sad story.Life made miserable by outdated traditions.FGM is a monster

  13. bumble bee says:

    I have never been so heartbroken before. How can I offer physical help or offer tangible commodities???

    • Wambui says:

      Bumble bee ( nice name ) you can contact Actionaid Kenya their offices are at AACC Building on Waiyaki way telephone: +254 722 518 220 ask for Corazon

  14. Zureyaification says:

    I have sent. What a horror that such things are happening in our Kenya….

  15. Brian Tarpei says:

    This almost drove me to tears,what if it was my sister ?or my future wife ? FGM should just end !!

  16. Wema Ilukor says:

    That part where a sharp tipped horn is inserted to disvirgin a girl is horrifying to read let alone experience

  17. Grace says:

    couldnt help a tear…sooo sad

  18. Brian Tarpei says:

    End FGM..I just have to take part in this

  19. Ken says:

    The narration is articulate but heartbreaking. No one should have to go through the practice. FGM is a form of Gender Based Violence against women. Having attended and hosted several trainings on GBV, the reality that’s narrated to you by community workers is sordid, sad, haunting and unbelievable. We should share more through awareness creation, community capacity building and endless campaigns to stop the vice.

  20. Mukami Kathambara says:

    Am cringing in my seat….crying, tummy in knots… Am sorry, I can’t read this Biko…. I can’t 🙁 But I have mpesad.

  21. Murugi says:

    the pain in this is worse than against the pleasure principle in half a day these cultures need to take a backseat soon

  22. Murgori says:

    I just have one question.If you went through the practice and it frightened and traumatized you as a young girl, why would you allow a girl be traumatized as well because of cows she can buy you later?I support this vulnerable girl.

  23. Mc says:

    This is very sad and it’s even worse in places without safe house

  24. Mark says:

    Guys go through this cut same way, reminds me of my experience. But to imagine it’s a girl and trauma of being forced to have sex after the one month!!In school my classmate went for the cut and she was so proud and she could intimidate other girls. Learnt some just want to b cut because it was a sense of ‘womanhood’ in their community. Gang you should have a look at ‘Against the Pleasure Principle’ by Saida Herzi. FGM in the Somali community, it’s disgusting. FGM should b completely eradicated.

  25. Shirley says:

    Lord have mercy…..

  26. Jen says:

    “…They will come with a cow’s horn, bent and sharp at the tip, and they will insert the tip in your vagina and wedge the horn inside, pry it open, and then they will bring it down, tearing your vagina. With the horn still inside, and you bleeding and crying, someone will call out to your husband who will come with his penis already erect and he will penetrate you right there as the women quickly recede out of the hut to allow him privacy to this spectacle pidgeon-holed under tradition…”
    I. CAN’T. EVEN…!!!

    • Wanjuhj says:

      It’s DISTURBING, EVIL, DEHUMANIZING,TRAUMATIZING,SCARY AS HELL… To say the least

    • Caroline M says:

      That one has shtuad me vibaya sana. Yaani these women with the horn, they dont think its wrong. Cant comprehend how out of touch thet are with their emotions

  27. carol ma Hakeem says:

    Am reading and crying it’s too much pain for one person let’s end this together we can

  28. irene tanui says:

    Something needs to be done

  29. JAMES KALELI says:

    Very sad indeed. Where are their leaders and more so the female leaders?

  30. Lucyline Riungu says:

    Chilling…My body froze while reading this

  31. nick says:

    Harrowing

  32. Ythera says:

    I read this with tears in my eyes. My beddie (the one who slept in the upper deck of our shared double decker in high school) told me that she agreed to be circumcised because if she didn’t, she would become an outcast in her village and nobody would ever speak to her. I asked her, ‘But aren’t you educated enough to be aware of the dangers it poses?’ She shrugged and said she couldn’t stand having no one speak to her till she left home for university so she did it and she’s now respected and is a woman. I’m still shocked. More safe houses are needed. Even more, these women propagating mutilation in the name of tradition should be prosecuted.

  33. Anne says:

    Lord Jesus, i almost peed on myself as i was reading this. Mpesa pap

  34. Lydia Abiero says:

    This is sad. Let’s do all we can to save these children and end this practice.

  35. Jojo says:

    This is just heartbreaking! 🙁

  36. abdullah omar says:

    during Christmas season!a ghost story!

  37. Mitch says:

    OMG!!!!!That is the most grim experience any female should be made to go through, how much more a child. The more I read, the more appalled I was.
    We need to rise and put an end to this repugnant practice, we no longer live in the dark ages and surely criminal penalties should be imposed on all those who participate or even acquiesce to the continuing of this dehumanizing practice.

  38. tabby says:

    heart breaking to say the least

  39. Ben says:

    This is horrendous. Very sad and very painful for lack of a better word. Thank you Biko for this post, we’ve heard stories but not words so colored and arranged to bring it this close. I will help.

  40. Dyshaun says:

    Too sad The demo part sob sob!!!!!!

  41. Ben says:

    This is very horrendous and painful in equal measure. I’ve heard of these stories but never pictured how it is. BIKO you are a blessing. I will help

  42. KK says:

    Reading this filled me with goosebumps. Such a gross violation. Gosh!

  43. Kwambs says:

    What happens then is that a bunch of elderly women will come to your new home, specialists on penetration. They will come with a cow’s horn, bent and sharp at the tip, and they will insert the tip in your vagina and wedge the horn inside, pry it open, and then they will bring it down, tearing your vagina. With the horn still inside, and you bleeding and crying, someone will call out to your husband who will come with his penis already erect and he will penetrate you right there as the women quickly recede out of the hut to allow him privacy to this spectacle pidgeon-holed under tradition.

    Am horrified! the pain the girls must go through… its unimaginable.

  44. Lauryn says:

    Touching…

  45. IceBreaker says:

    WT..H! There are traditions and cultural beliefs which are terrifying and non-beneficial at all. It is unacceptable if at this age and era the community and local leaders still allow such outdated acts to happen.

  46. Joan says:

    Speechless…. How can a fellow woman use a horn on a young girl? And in the painful bloody mess some idiot can still be erect! Really? FGM MUST END!

  47. Bridget Tuei says:

    My Heart goes out to those girls. I cry for them. Too much pain.

  48. ces says:

    How do you describe beyond horrified? That sharp tipped horn is the stuff nightmares are made of!

  49. carolyn says:

    This is sickening!!!!

  50. @clif_the_tall says:

    Oiiiiiiiiiii…. This is saddening. Such cultures need to be abolished. They are heartbreaking to say the least.

  51. Jcee says:

    The horn…..Daaaaaaamn! I felt the pain n to imagine the man comes with an already erect Penis……I shed tears for those girls…..

  52. Trish says:

    As a parent to a girl child, my mind refuses to comprehend what these girls go through. It’s a sad read Biko. No one should have to go through this.

  53. Beth says:

    Thats inhumane practice mostly the part of inserting a horn

  54. Waithera says:

    Gutted. Totally. M-pesad.

  55. alice says:

    OMG! How terrifying. Adult men and women inflicting unbearable (oh yes it is) pain
    on kids in the name of stupid culture. It is our duty to protect all minors regardless of
    community. Oh my and oh my, it had to be an outside organisation (Thanks Actionaid) ‘mulika’
    practices we thought ended long ago.

  56. David says:

    It`s really depressing how in this age our fellow Kenyans are still holding tight on age old retrogressive traditions. Clearly, education has not reached everywhere

  57. Sharon says:

    I am shaking with fear, rage and disbelief. No one should through such an ordeal! Financial help is the least we can do.

  58. feli says:

    I cannot imagine how much pain these girls go through.
    At this day and age. So horrifying.

  59. Rachael says:

    oi! this is just too painful to read..let alone imagine. FGM must end!

  60. Joel says:

    I had to comment on this. My father’s security company offers them their services. In Rongai. After hearing and actually meeting some of them, he quit asking for payment.

  61. Emaline says:

    Is the business number same as the account number

  62. Nelly says:

    I am a Gynaecologist and my insides are all knotted up in horror. I can’tell, I just can’t!!!!! We must support these safe houses but we need those facilitating this practice jailed for life. Legislation must be enforced!

  63. Nancy says:

    This was a painful read l couldn’t finish it maybe l will keep reading till l finish.

  64. Nimmoh says:

    the cut,the horn an already erect Penis, too much pain to bear in the name of tradition and culture. I felt it reading through this and cant get over the pain those gals go through. Strips off the dignity of the helpless gals.#STOPFGM

  65. QS Vosty says:

    Mutilated, enslaved and raped in the name of culture.Nobody should have to undego that. Thanks Biko for the article

  66. Clement Ndege says:

    Yes. Some parts are painful to read. I can’t imagine it been done to somebody.End FGM.Let’s end it.

  67. Maru Wanjiru says:

    I CAN’T.. I JUST CAN’T.

  68. katrine norah says:

    this is traumatizing

  69. GITHOGORI says:

    What’s the correlation between gun-toting communities and their affection with disfigurement of female working parts and dehumanization of women, Pokot, somalia Turkana and Samburu among others
    It’s sickening

  70. Nimo says:

    Good Lord! 🙁

  71. Merci says:

    I admit, I skimmed through whenever I met a gory description. Very painful and sad.

  72. Adhiambo says:

    Terrible practise .. cruel .. My heart goes out to these gals.. I have sent my contribution yet it seems so inadequate

  73. Kevin Ochieng says:

    very Sad indeed that this can happen in this day and age.

  74. Damn! I am out of words. Literary. A thousand things can be said about this. But I think the best of them is a commitment to help. I will help.

  75. Psoilo says:

    Biko, you’re a sadist. Men are equally butchered and you don’t write about it. Remember “Anga Mathenge ndari kiongo kiega…a ndumira mbica ingi tuma tiga uhii atahiki mani, iromania akiruthia mundu..ta maka kimwana giki kina ng’oni na mundu mugima wa miaka thate!’?? Lest you forget 🙂

    • Mercy says:

      Biko if this is true, write about it. though i dint get the comments in the other lingo. Could anything be as bad as FGM?

    • Mimi says:

      Men are not butchered. And in this particular blog that you are referring to, Biko was talking about a very human circumcision act in fact in a hospital AND with anesthesia. There was no butchering there. If you can even dare to compare that with what the girls in Pokot go through, then you and the circumcisers or the savage women sticking a cow horn into a young girl to devirginise her have no difference at all.

  76. Mware says:

    Sad. reminds me of a short story in the book Half a Day and Other Stories; Against the Pleasure Principles.

  77. Wangui Kinyua says:

    Such a painful experience. I have made my contribution. Wishing the girls a joyous Christmas.

  78. Chepkonga says:

    Goodness….. I have been chilled just from reading this….It is not enough that she is stripped of the very core of her womanhood, she has to go through the whole horn biashara!!…. This has to end…

  79. Joel says:

    Crap. I do not comment but this is…just inhumane,up there with cannibalism. Did not get the mpesa link and as to what cause.

  80. Muguru says:

    My heart bled.

  81. Mercy says:

    Aii Hapani, this is very scary. I could feel these girls pain on my body. Why do people have to go through this painful experiences just for some culture to be fulfilled?

  82. jamillah says:

    This is sad and heart breaking.Cant imagine the pain these girls go through,just reading this makes my heart ache.

  83. faith says:

    I have met the girls but had no courage to ask what really happened.I tried not to cry though I was teary, It really happens but we as women, men and ladies need to come together and end the practice.our girls need to go to school just like the boys.

  84. Mushie says:

    This is so sad and painful; Just because of some backward cultural practices.

  85. T.K says:

    to some like us it happened way before we were old enough to know the consequences, way back, just 10 years old.Living within the community where it was a tradition and older girls taunting you for not yet going through it was reason enough to go through the cut. 18 years later I still dont know how i feel about the whole experience. For my own sake I chose to TRY and forget about it. I am thankful it never affected my self esteem or relationships or health so far. What I surely know is it is nothing but a disgusting tradition. No woman should got through it to prove anything or to be deserving of anything

  86. Rugie says:

    As chilling and as horrifying this story is , it needed to be told.One of those sweet girls will one day turn into a ‘Roda’ if we don’t do something.

  87. Karwitha says:

    This article just broke my heart. It moved me to tears not just because i feel for the girls but also because I’m angry. I’m angry that a father would watch his child go through this horror and do nothing to help her, I’m angry that a mother would celebrate the butchering of her child knowing very well what it will do to her. We should all be angry enough to do something about it. donating money for the shelter is a start but what else can we do to help them get over the trauma?

  88. samuel oloo says:

    Petrified! So very petrified.
    No human should ever(EVER)go through such a gothic experience.

  89. Priscilla says:

    I am currently at this place you are talking about and have witnessed 1st hand all this. There is need to really educate this girl’s about the effects of fgm. I have had a chance to talk to some of the girls and it’s a pity they are being brainwashed by the elder women that they won’t get married if they don’t undergo the cut. They are made to believe that they are lesser women if they remain uncut. Watching them go through that pain gave me goosebumps every time I had to escort one to hospital.

  90. Oh No,no,no, This cant be true,,oh no, come on, its soo,,,, I feel like I have genitalia right now,,oh my

  91. Aly says:

    No one should go through such an experience, let alone a child. This could be the most horrific thing i have ever read

  92. Betty says:

    This is beyond sad. This is all due to ignorance and illiteracy. Guys, let us give what we can to support them.

  93. christine says:

    why such retrogressive traditions? am in shock and still cringing at the thought, cold shivers going down my back.. harrowing. Lets commit to help ata that 50 bob will make a huge difference.

  94. Susan says:

    OMG! Ati what? In the 21st Century? Wah, am shivering. I will definitely make a contribution. Thanks Biko for sharing this. #Jesuispokotgirl.

  95. Ruth says:

    Heartbreaking that this practice is still there in this era…

  96. Redempta Bisangwa says:

    very very sad that such an old tradition is still ongoing.I had to take a break reading this because i could not bear the fear or what the young girls were going through.

  97. Njeri says:

    The women come with a horn to break open the narrow passage. If penetration is successful, she gets a bead. WTF!! she is just a means to an end. The man will demand his rights if he can’t penetrate. To her family, she is just a source of cows. No foreplay because why should a woman enjoy sex. Only whores do. My God! So heart breaking.

  98. pau says:

    Man, this’s horrifying, I almost shriveled up, no point in mutilating such a beautiful creation

  99. Mumbi says:

    The first few sentences are scary enough, I’ll have to spare this for a friday, when am a little tipsy

  100. Hellen says:

    Horrified.Im glad there smtg i can do.#wipesatear

  101. Carol Ohonde says:

    I couldn’t read this one…….too emotional……

  102. sylvester says:

    SO sad indeed.lets join hands and assist our sisters

  103. VIVIAN says:

    I read this and Immediately my body was shaking. Are people this inhuman? May God forgive us. This is absolutely terrifying Biko!

  104. JOwuor says:

    This is terrible. To. Say. The. Least. What, really if I may ask, was the purpose of such a tradition? I’m informed there was always some sound reason to most traditional practices.

  105. Rose says:

    Im so angry i can barely read this! Im so so angry

  106. Wah! Cringe mode to the max. Horrifying that such archaic diabolical practices continue in the name of culture. Traumatizing to think that fellow women perpetuate the practice.
    Yes to more safe houses.
    Btw: there should be a paypal option for ease of contribution if one is out of Kenya.

  107. Wambui Ndungu says:

    It’s unthinkable and unbelievable in these day n age what people make their children go through in the name of culture. Even more painful as a mother that your own husband is ready to spear his own
    blood to avoid embarrassment……those people are not parents but betrayers!!!!

  108. Mercy says:

    Ooh my God,its chilling story .in a community where they don’t value women Ipray that many will be rescued this season.

  109. Kendi says:

    Periods
    make me cry,A cut,a horn and a penis???OMG Shaking.This has to stop

  110. Maureen says:

    I am heartbroken, this is such a profound article.
    Good job Biko.

  111. Rina says:

    Besides the physical pain, the worst is the emotional burden of scars, pain and bleeding that many
    carry into their adulthood

  112. ENOS TUPOKAL says:

    That is s o bad, FGM must end !!!!

  113. Vero says:

    Jesus Christ!! I read this with my legs tightly closed together, The kind of pain these children are going through in the name of culture. This practice is abhorrent, and needs to stop!

  114. mso says:

    Jesus Christ thats so sad
    FGM should cease

  115. Wambui says:

    Hi Biko, it would be great if there were other payment options for the diaspora.

  116. I’m saddened by this story. I don’t even know what to say. Above all, this broke my heart:

    “What happens then is that a bunch of elderly women will come to your new home, specialists on penetration. They will come with a cow’s horn, bent and sharp at the tip, and they will insert the tip in your vagina and wedge the horn inside, pry it open, and then they will bring it down, tearing your vagina. With the horn still inside, and you bleeding and crying, someone will call out to your husband who will come with his penis already erect and he will penetrate you right there as the women quickly recede out of the hut to allow him privacy to this spectacle pidgeon-holed under tradition.”

    End FGM.
    mikeinioluwa.wordpress.com

  117. Dawn says:

    Horrific. My heart goes out to those little girls who have to go through this. Thank you Biko for writing about this.

  118. Riri says:

    So horrifying. And these areas have leaders? And women reps?! And women budgets?!! Let’s end FGM.

  119. Lumbzy says:

    It’s too painful just reading about it, can’t even imagine what those girls go through. So sad. It has to end!

  120. Bacchus says:

    It’s something that shouldn’t be happening because it’s inhumane. However, the vice is gonna be around for a few more years. There’s still a lot to be done. Education is important so the oldies get to learn; ignorance isn’t helping.

  121. Chela says:

    So sad and traumatic….

  122. andy says:

    Mwathani!

  123. Maureen says:

    I’m disturbed.

  124. Beth says:

    They taught us, we in the city that FGM is bad and should be banned, but never mentioned how horrendous and excruciating it was.How, unlike Male Circumcision it takes eternity and robs you off your dignity – For Life.Thank you Biko for telling it as it is and to AAIK for giving these girls a second home.My support buffering…

  125. patrick mutemi says:

    My heart is beating very first after reading this.This FGM should be ended. The administration should work with action aid to eradicate this behavior and culture.

  126. Kambura says:

    I didn’t breathe the whole article through! Horrified!

  127. Sylvia says:

    Thanks to action Aid for coming out strongly To Help the girls, A lot really as to be done…

  128. Bacchus says:

    It’s ironical The Pokots circumcise boys/men who are as old as 21. If the girls were to wait till they’re 21 when they’re old enough to decide what they (don’t) want, I am pretty sure most will opt out.

  129. Lilian Gitonga says:

    Gang, if any of your workplace policies include CSR,please submit this article for consideration during the festive season. My heart bled when I read “they all come crying”. The finality to that was too distrubing. Chilling. I cannot bring myself to picture these innocent, young girls having to learn to live with the cruelty their safe havens (society) dished to them. How conflicted and emotionally scarred they are. I just want to wrap my arms around each of them. I shall do my part.

  130. Wangari says:

    OMG..!!!..

  131. candy says:

    i felt paaaaain just from reading this. its awful!

  132. Juster says:

    My heart bleeds for these girls. Thanks
    Biko for the enlightening us…

  133. FMumbo says:

    Horror stricken…..OMG!!!

  134. JennyM says:

    It is unfortunate that some girls have to go through such gruesome practices, all for a man’s sake, for his pleasure, his ego, it is really sad. I wish, as much as we sensitize women about the dangers of FGM, men should also be sensitized about sex, what it takes to have good sex, sex should be sensual, they should be educated on women’s bodies and women’s needs and how to handle women. How can someone insert their damn dick inside a bleeding, sobbing girl? How? These girls have a right to enjoy sex, when they are old enough to even understand what sex dynamics. Someone please educate these men, please. Thanks Biko, this is an award winning piece.

  135. Lizzie says:

    Read, teared up, then felt a strong urge to drive a spear through one of those characters in support of that kind of brutality

  136. Purity says:

    This story broke my heart. Thank you Biko for taking the time to explain the process. I have a better appreciation of FGM. I have contributed to any help that can be extended to our girls.

  137. Dexterous says:

    Why??
    I refuse to believe it. I only want to believe its fiction and not reality.
    Horror! Horror of horrors!!!!
    Apart from mpesaring, what else can we do? I feel like I should relocate to pokot and help as much as i can, esp with escaping and at the safe houses

  138. Sinyora Liza says:

    Oh No……Lord have mercy. This is painful. Am squeezing my legs together with fear as I read this.

  139. L.K says:

    I have read this article with balancing tears…and to think my auntie almost kidnapped my sister and I to take us through this heinous act!

  140. Winnie Muchiri says:

    Biko I couldn’t finish reading this….my stomach has turned.
    Things we take for granted.

  141. Derick says:

    LORD HAVE MERCY!!

  142. peter says:

    Simply horrified.

  143. I know what the women go through in child birth. I am a mideife and they go through hell. We need to stop this under all cost. I am an advocate again st this cruel practice. Lets all supporr the end of this. Terrible!

  144. kanyuira says:

    Not cool at all.

  145. mmk says:

    My legs are tightly crossed,the horn,omg!..i cant imagine such a horrific act,my God something needs to be done,i think am gna fall sick ,what??

  146. Imelda says:

    Couldn’t finish reading. Too scary

  147. carolyne says:

    More like rape….too horrid. In this day and age its unbelievable. I have sooooooo much anger against the perpetrators. We must support the end of FGM.
    Even more angry at the parents…how do you celebrate such horror??

  148. fyby says:

    What is this??? Oh my,,like what the hell,this is so wrong and horrifying,,,like those young girls will never know the beauty of sex, love , independence and all,,,why would a sane person take their daughters through all this???????

  149. Alice says:

    Its totally unfortunate that there are communities that peg the value of their women on her ‘cut/uncut’ status. It is my humble submission that while safe houses are the most ideal short-term solution for this problem, educating men about the negative impact of FGM in such communities would provide a long-term solution to the same. After all, it seems (at least from where I sit) that men are the primary ‘drivers’ of such a backward tradition.

  150. Gladys says:

    The father with a spear! It therefore means we need to reach the fathers.

  151. Connie says:

    I am in shock, and feeling so sad for these girls! No one deserves this inhumane act to be done onto them… I hope that more girls get the courage to run to the safe houses. Thank you Biko for articulating all the horrible things done to the girls, and thank you Actionaid for what you do!

  152. Lorenz'o says:

    That the damn FGM season is around the corner is just an insult cruel enough that should not reach the ears of any sane humanity.The whole thing is chilling and depicts the community practising the same not to belong to any BEING!!So the Almighty to help us.

  153. Kyengo "CK says:

    This is truly horrifying. I’ll try my best to contribute!

  154. Gakz says:

    This is so horrifying.

  155. Esquire says:

    Chief, never have I cringed and skimmed over one of your articles as I have today. This is beyond horrific. I got a suggestion, how about we do this every year just at this time? And try to get as many girls to run as possible though the better solution would be to educate these guys. FGM serves no real purpose. Thanks for the vivid picture. Most just imagine the procedure.

  156. Kami says:

    Walala, this one has brought out emotions I have never had when reading your articles. I am so sorry for those who have gone through this… Let’s all come together as humane people and end this barbaric practice. Good Lord :-O

  157. Chiri says:

    Now i know why i kept skipping that article ….oh my good God I will help.

  158. flo says:

    This is just too horrific to read i cant even imagine how the girls are able to stand that pain.
    sob sob….

  159. Kipkoech S says:

    …so sad…

  160. Their suffering is attributable to no one,,,its so saddening

  161. Kevin says:

    On Tuesday I waited for the email notification as usual. When it came I hungrily clicked check. However, upon seeing the subject I felt nostalgic. There was something disturbingly sad about it. So I did what I always do when I don’t feel ready for something. I postponed and said I would read it later. Everyday I’ve checked my mail, clicked on the link and closed it without reading it. Six days later, I had to read it. I am not an emotional chap but I swear if I had blinked I would have followed it with a sniff. You know how it goes. Anyway, I didn’t. It’s really sad for these girls to go through such horrific experiences. Please let us help however we can.
    Thank you Biko.

  162. Kevin says:

    On Tuesday I waited for the email notification as usual. When it came I hungrily clicked to check. However, upon seeing the subject I felt nostalgic. There was something disturbingly sad about it. So I did what I always do when I don’t feel ready for something. I postponed and said I would read it later. Everyday I’ve checked my mail, clicked on the link and closed it without reading it. Six days later, I had to read it. I am not an emotional chap but I swear if I had blinked I would have followed it with a sniff. You know how it goes. Anyway, I didn’t. It’s really sad for these girls to go through such horrific experiences. Please let us help however we can.
    Thank you Biko.

  163. nyambura wa githaiga says:

    Harrowing, to say the least

  164. Hilda says:

    This was hard to read! Chills .

  165. Flo says:

    Oh Jesus, traditions my foot! I really feel for these helpless kids, sounds more like a rape!

  166. Catherine Muia says:

    This is like a horror movie!

  167. Wanjiku Mumo says:

    No human being should go through such a grotesque experience in thisday/age.

  168. Wanjiru muigai says:

    Jesus ……. This is truly heart breaking…… Chilling…. Hair raising….. I am shivering…..

  169. ndindi says:

    Some women don’t deserve to be mothers if they can’t stand up for their daughters…… So help me lord

  170. erick says:

    Great piece of work

  171. Erick wamalwa says:

    Oh my God!!! It’s so terrifying. I feel the cold and chilly. It’s so sad but I’ve red it.
    This’s the monster that need to be fought by powerful and superior weapons.

    How? How do these young girls feel?

  172. Bea says:

    Biko, Do you know what the cost is to build a new safe house? Imathiu

  173. Debz says:

    Really unfortunate what these girls go through..

  174. Sandra says:

    I have read part of this with my legs tightly crossed, had to skip the bit where it goes into detail about the cut and the use of the horn. such a nightmare for our girls in Pokot, I am definitely Mpesaing

  175. Chela says:

    Now i can comment…It has taken me 3 days to finish this particular read.I have cried and imagined the kind of pain that this babies go through or have gone through.This is the oldest ,most barbaric and outdated act on innocent beings.

  176. caroline.k.j says:

    what a terrifying ordeal…The issue of inserting the sharp horn has made me breath twice more than normal#notofgm

  177. Miriam says:

    Oh my God, this is so dehumanizing and horrible!

  178. Kairetu says:

    biko, anyway to see how the rescued girls are doing? How did the fundraising campaign go?

  179. Joseph Kipkoech says:

    Biko, i hope to write to Corazon and get to see what plans they have as an organization in terms of enlightening men to understand the fangers of FGM.Good job BikoZulu

  180. Sue Kay says:

    Oh how I have cried!! I can’t even bear to imagine how traumatic this FGM is!

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