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FGM Survivor Funds Reconstructive Surgery Through GoFundMe

A woman affected by female genital mutilation has raised the funds she needs to travel to the United States for reconstructive surgery, thanks to Toronto Star readers who donated to the cause.

Yasmin Mumed, who has lived in Canada since the age of nine, was only six when her body was unwillingly mutilated – she was held down to have her clitoris and part of her labia cut with a razor blade. She recounts what she remembers of the event in a video, detailing the horrifying practice that affects at least 200 million girls globally.

For a long time, she didn’t remember the procedure at all. It took until she reached her teens, when she became sexually active, for the memories to come back.

She remembers that the room was very dark.

“My legs were like, spread. A couple of women are on one leg, a couple on the other, and I still was, like, moving. It was, this like – the pain is indescribable. It’s very, very, very painful, and I just remember screaming.”

Though she still has scars from the incident, including one which was made accidentally during the procedure, having the surgery is helping her to reclaim control over her body.

“I’ve made a decision over my body and I’m choosing to do it,” she said.

Though the surgery itself is free, provided by a Las Vegas based organization called Clitoraid, Mumed raised $6,650 through her GoFundMe page to cover flights, a hotel stay, and medications.

The donations have even surpassed the goal Mumed had initially set. A recent donator named O. Wells gave $22 and commented, “Thank you for your courage & determination & making Canadians aware of this barbaric practise on innocent young girls, good luck!”

Megan Radford de Barrientos donated $25 and said, ““I hope this surgery brings you hope and that your story encourages the government and the medical community in Canada to reassess their services to women who have gone through this, or girls who are at risk. Your courage is inspiring.”

A Star investigation that is ongoing “has previously revealed that the federal government knows Canadian girls are being sent abroad to be subjected to FGM and is lagging far behind other developed countries in its efforts to prevent it. Experts say there is also a lack of support services in Canada available for women living with the physical and psychological effects of FGM, regardless of when and where it happened to them.”

Many women who’ve suffered from FGM continue to suffer long after their mutilation, choosing to remain silent rather than seek support in a society that offers very little.

Ivona Percec, and American cosmetic surgeon, remembers the shock she felt when she saw her first FGM patient.

“It was a psychological shock that this woman had kept the burden to herself. She didn’t even let her husband see what had been done to her…She had lived in this country for multiple years, and had never before tried to get help.”

Mumed made similar difficult choices. She did not go public so that people would feel bad for her, she says. Instead, she recounts the way she felt inspired by all those who reached out to tell her they were having conversations about FGM that they’ve never had previously; daughters began talking to their mothers and even young men who were previously unaware of the horrors of FGM.

“We can actually start talking to our moms, our grandparents, our cousins,” said Mumed. “This is how we stop it.”

Featured Image by Azat Akhyarov on Flickr
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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