6 African Women Talk About Being Victims Of FGM

January 22, 2021

FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) is also known as female circumcision and it is the cutting of some or all of the external female genitalia. It has been criminalized in some countries, but not all. Unfortunately, there have been millions of women who have been victims of this act. Six African women talk about their experience being victims of FGM.

Yetunde, 22, Nigerian

It happened when they discovered I had started my period at the age of 13. My mother is from Ekiti state, and apparently it was a tradition from her side of the family. The day I started my period, they killed a chicken for me and cooked. It was like a celebration. The FGM only happens after your period starts, because that is when they believe you will have more sexual urges, and it is done to avoid the clitoris touching the baby’s head, so the child can stay alive. They believe women with clitoris risk losing their baby during childbirth. Apparently, once the clitoris touches the baby’s head, the baby will die. I am not sure if my father knew about it, because it is not his tradition, but I saw him object for my niece’s 5 years ago.

Now, I am 22 and sex is complicated for me. If there is a reason I get dry in 5 seconds, it might be because of it. The dryness, burns and swollen areas during sex only makes me not so interested in sexual relations. It is not STI, because I have checked and I don’t have unprotected sex. FGM is one of the reason I haven’t had sex in 2 years.

Jane, 25, Nigerian

I was about two years old when they did it to me in Rivers state. They said it was so I would not have sexual urges and they did not want us to be having sex as teens and preteens. However, the only thing I think it did was to make me unable to orgasm. I don’t know what having an orgasm feels like, and I had to ask my friends cause I thought it was normal to not be able to. Honestly, I blame grandma and whoever did this to me. Luckily, it is no longer as common as it used to be, and I was the last girl in my family it was done to.

Anita, 26, Nigerian

I feel I found out in the worst way possible. I went to an all girls boarding school and we usually bathe outside. So, from junior school I noticed my vagina was different and I did not have a clitoris and did not know what a clitoris was. It was strange to me why other girls had something between their vaginas and mine was different. So in SS2, I finally asked my mother why mine was different, and if something was wrong with me. She laughed and said they cut it off when I was born. It was done by this doctor or midwife that ran a maternity hospital. When I asked why, she said to make sure I don’t ‘spoil’ when I grow up. It’s believed that having a clit will make you always horny, so it’s better you don’t have it so you don’t have the urge for sex until you get married.

I guess they got what they wanted. I had never had an orgasm, and it wasn’t until last year I started wanting to have sex. All my teenage years up until I was 24, I didn’t know what feeling horny was like. I only had sex because my partner wanted it, so was more like an obligation. I met someone else last year, and sometimes I want him, but I doubt it’s sexual urges. Maybe it is because I just love being with him, so if it means fucking then that’s fine. FGM is why I have to deal with multiple UTIs and why it hurts when I pee sometimes. Not to mention the low self esteem it brings. In Secondary school, I had someone laugh at me when I was bathing because my vagina was fat. I can’t even be angry at my mum. She was circumcised too, and I just feel bad for her.

Hi there! While you are here do you want to take a minute to sign up for HER’S weekly newsletter? There’ll be inside gist from this series and other fun stuff. It’ll only take 15 seconds. Yes I timed it.

K, 21, Kenyan

I had FGM done to me in 2007. Initially, my dad was against it so they waited until he left town to do it. After our circumcision, my younger siblings who are also girls went through with no objection whatsoever from my dad. I think he originally rejected because it was the first time, and he was less religious and more reasonable then. I come from a Somali family, so that was the norm for most of us. It scared me and I wanted to be done with but it never occurred to me that it. I didn’t know I could say no or I had a say in the matter. Now that I am grown, it’s so weird that they did something like that and never thought of me as a person whose privacy they invaded even in that young age.

Cynthia, 21, Nigerian

I didn’t find out until I was about 12/13. I had read about it online, seen movements speaking and kicking against it, and I agreed with these activists. So one day I was chatting with my mom and trying to build up the conversation, she just blurted out that I was ‘circumcised’ as well. Apparently it happened when I was still a few days old baby. I think what hurts a lot is that she did not say she had a reason for doing it, they just did it. I felt and still feel so betrayed.

I’m trying to extend some grace to her because she didn’t know better and was ignorant. At the time I was born there were lots of myths flying around; that ‘uncircumcised’ women grow up to be promiscuous or they get sexually active too early. So it was a somewhat ‘normal’ practice. I’m glad my family doesn’t do it anymore.

Ada, 23, Nigerian

It happened when I was a child so I can’t say an exact age, and I actually never knew I was circumcised until last year. My boyfriend was the one who let me know, and after a lot of research I found out it is common in many igbo homes. That in the 90s and early 2000s, they just ‘circumcise’ straight from the hospital. I am too scared to confront my parents, but I am still working up the courage. The day I found out, I cried so much. My boyfriend and sister were the ones that comforted me. I have come to terms with it, and understand that they do not know any better, and I honestly hope it has stopped. I am the first and I know myself and my other sister sister have been ‘circumcised’, but I do not know about the younger two. Honestly, I just hope it did not get to them.

For more stories about women and women type things, please click here.

Zikoko Donation Banner

Help Zikoko keep making the content you love

More than ever, people are turning to Zikoko for stories that matter and content they love. But still, we, like many media organisations, are feeling the financial heat of these times. If you find us valuable, please make a contribution to help keep Zikoko zikoko-ing.

Thank you for your support.

We are also cool with Crypto.

Donation Close
Zikoko Logo

Complete Your Commitment

Donation confirm

Your Contribution is confirmed! Amount

Itohan Esekheigbe

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

November 16, 2020

A lot of people tend to experience pain when they have their periods. Some women have been able to hack this thing (lucky them), so we asked them to share how they handle period pain. P.S: None of these are professional advice from a doctor. Just women stating what has worked for them. Amaka, 25 […]

June 18, 2020

Painful period cramps are the worst thing ever. It’s like being singled out to be consistently punished and tortured for an offense you don’t even know about. And you keep filing complaints but HR doesn’t want to hear your side of the story. It’s the real ghetto mehn. Here’s a 9 things women who have […]

June 11, 2021

How we start our day usually has a paramount effect on how the rest of our day goes. When you love a woman or want to move to a woman you like, it is important you send her beautiful messages to put her in the right mood. Here’s a list of helpful ways on how […]


Now on Zikoko

August 3, 2021

You’re probably on the wrong side of Twitter NG if you’ve not seen any tweets from user, @deoors. Recently, I saw a couple of really nice tweets from him, so I decided to do a deep dive on his account and find some more bangers. You’ll smile (or chuckle a bit) throughout this post. 1. […]

August 3, 2021

If you are single and in search of reasons why you should get into a relationship, then you are in the right place. Here are eight reasons to convince you and not to confuse you as to why you need to get into a relationship 1) You have someone to be helping you zip your […]

August 3, 2021

The show has started and housemates are already giving their fans something to talk about. Here are five things you need to enjoy Big Brother Naija Season 6 wherever you are in Nigeria, other African countries, or the UK. 1. Cool Friends You may need to change your friends if they yab you for loving […]

man flexing arm bicep
August 3, 2021

In today’s society, everyone has an opinion about what it means to really be a “man”. Whatever those opinions are they end up doing more harm than good, seeing as 75% of suicide victims are men. Here are some of the ridiculous ways society thinks you should act like a man. 1. Never cry. As […]

August 3, 2021

There are very few things that make adults happy. The word ‘adult’ here is used loosely because some of you are 18 and you only barely qualify as adults. Truth is, the older you get, the more simple things make you happy.  1. Finding the perfect grocery store Not everyone can say that they have […]

Recommended Quizzes

April 14, 2020

Every friend group consists of very different and specific characters — from the parent to the fun one — and it can be a little tough figuring out where you fall. So, we’ve created a quiz that lets you know exactly what kind of friend you are. Take to find out:

January 2, 2020

Do you have even a single romantic bone in your body? Well, if you’re not sure about just how sweet and thoughtful you can be to someone you love, that’s what this quiz is here to answer. 11 Quizzes For Nigerians Who Are Ready To Marry  Are you ready to marry? Take these quizzes.

November 7, 2019

These days, everyone is always talking about how much sex they’re getting, or how little sex they’re getting, or how disgusting sex is etc. There’s just so much talk about sex, it’s almost impossible to know who’s lying and who’s telling the truth. In anticipation of our new series about the sex lives of young […]

October 10, 2019

2019 is certainly Burna Boy’s year, but, if we are being honest, so was 2018. Since his transcendent mixtape, Outside, the afro-fusion star has refused to get his foot of our necks — dropping a string of fantastic singles and then capping it all off with his career-best album, African Giant.  So, in a bid […]

More from Her

July 31, 2021

Angel, one of the resident Gen-Z’s in the ongoing Big Brother Nigeria has shown us that beyond being self-aware, she is also very funny. Here are a few times Angel has shown us that she is one of the top 5 funny women in Nigeria. 1. She being a generous and accomodating side chick. 2. […]

sad girl covering her eyes
July 29, 2021

As told to Mariam  In a group chat conversation about Nigerian parents, Tega said her parents were toxic. When I asked how, here’s what she told me:  Trigger warning: Physical abuse  I’m the first of three girls. My father was distant when I was younger. He was rarely around except when there was a problem […]

July 28, 2021

The subject of today’s What She Said is a 24-year-old woman who has a very rocky relationship with her stepmum. She talks about how she misses her mum, the ill-treatment she got at the hands of her stepmum, and the medical condition that messes up her self confidence. What’s your earliest childhood memory? It’s driving […]

two women with curly hair
July 27, 2021

If you found out your younger sex was having sex, how would you react? We spoke to three Nigerian women about how they found out that their younger sisters were sexually active and how they reacted. Here’s what they had to say:  IB, 24 One day, we were gisting and she said,  “You know I’m […]

diagram of the female reproductive system
July 25, 2021

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is still largely unspoken about across Nigeria. Many people may have heard about it but a lot of them don’t know what’s true or false about the condition. Here are five myths and facts about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Every woman with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome grows hair in unlikely places.  Though a […]

black woman in the gym
July 25, 2021

I spoke to four Nigerian women about what visiting the gym as a woman is like. Here’s what they had to say: Bibi, 22 I always have a pleasant experience at the gym but there was this day, my friends and I were on the mat and the instructor was helping us stretch our bodies. It […]

July 23, 2021

Romantic relationships bring different changes to our lives. Some welcome, some not. In this article, five Nigerian women talk about how their partners changed their lives.  Bisola, 23 I grew up in a conservative space but I always knew I wanted to explore certain things and with the help of my current partner, I am […]

black girl using her phone
July 22, 2021

There is a growing number of dating apps available to Nigerians living in Nigeria. In this article, three Nigerian women talk about using dating apps.  Dami, 27 I downloaded Bumble a few months ago. This is my first time using a dating app. I chose Bumble because my friend told me that the app is […]

July 22, 2021

TW: Sexual Abuse Everyone has a story about their first time. In this article, eight Nigerian women talk about the first time they had penetrative sex. Nancy, 22 I didn’t bleed during my first time, probably because my boyfriend in secondary school used to finger me when we made out.  The first time a penis […]

what she said design with a woman in a hospital gown sitting down
July 21, 2021

The subject of today’s What She Said is a 23-year-old woman who had an ovarian drilling surgery. She talks about PCOS and how it affected her mental and physical health, how unhelpful the doctor who diagnosed her was, and needing an ovarian drilling.  Tell me something about your childhood. Okay, let’s talk about my first […]


Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.