home what'snew resources ask amy news activism antiviolence events marketplace aboutus
Ask a Question!
Meet Amy!
Amy's Resource Guide
Ask Amy Main
TOPICS
Feminism
Girls/Children
Health
International
Media
Miscellaneous
Most Asked Questions
Politics
Reproductive Rights
Sexual Harassment
Violence Against Women
Women's History
Work/Career
   
 


 
International

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to you in anticipation that you might be able to help me in any way to solve the problem my children and I are facing, I have decided to contact you after hearing about your organization in a female workshop I attended a couple of days ago.

My name is Comfort, I come from the Mid-Western part of Nigeria, a mother of two children, a daughter and a son. I live with my children and their father in Benin City where I have spent most part of my life, our two rooms apartment wasn't really much in terms of space and comfort but it was our home, a place we found peace and happiness, our shelter from all the troubles of the world, that is until my troubles began.

It all began when my daughter turned 3, the age of circumcision in my tribe. I was circumcised as a little girl in my village together with many other girls in my age group. I still remember the painful experience and the memories still haunt me till today. I had a lot of complications during childbirth, which is as a result of circumcision; the circumcision of my son brought back horrible memories, which almost depressed me as he was circumcised when he was only 7 days old.

Over the years, I have had problems with my family and the people around me. I was regarded as a cheap whore and a disgrace as I was not legally married to my boyfriend. Bearing children out of wedlock is considered an embarrassment and one is often subjected to humiliations and harassment, for years I endured this hostile situation and now the issue of my daughter's circumcision has brought the hostility to itÕs peak.

As my daughter grew older and closer to circumcision age that is between 3 and 6 years, I got weary of the fact that it will take a tough long battle to protect her from being mutilated, over the years the act of circumcision has remained the same, the ritual is basically the same, the children are being circumcised without anesthesia, the instruments used are not sterilized and the condition of the place where it is carried out is unhygienic, that explains some of the reasons why infant mortality is at a high rate in Nigeria.

Considering the consequences of circumcision and the fact that I am a victim, I was determined not to put my daughter through it, a few days before her planned circumcision day, I ran away with her to a close friend who took us in, but this action cost me a great deal as my boyfriend became violent and beat me up badly, he and his relatives forced me to promise and swear an oath that I will make her available on the next general circumcision which is few months away.

My home that was once peaceful became a home of sadness as my boyfriend constantly hits me, he threatened to attack me with acid if I didn't keep to my promise, and now I am in a state of confusion and distress as I am running out of places to hide, everyone that has helped us has been constantly threatened and harassed, reporting to the local authorities has done nothing to ease the situation as most members of the police force believes our tradition comes before any other adopted law. I have met with other women in similar situations that have suffered death threat like me and some have even received acid burns on their bodies due to their refusal to succumb to the demand of their husbands or boyfriends.

I am appealing to you to help me in anyway you can to protect me and my children from this constant harassment and threat, advice me on what legal steps to take or any other solution that you might find helpful.

PLEASE HELP!!!! I AM DESPERATE TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Yours truly, Comfort.

 

   

Dear Comfort,

From the research I have done, I have discovered that female genital cutting is endemic within Edo State, which I'm sure you know too well. I also understand that there is a law in place against female circumcision in Edo State and the wife of the State Governor is a major advocate on this issue. The problem is that many families still do this underground and there could be stigmatization if reported.

The suggestion I have been recommended to make to you is that you try to contact the office of the first lady through the Youth Resource Center. The coordinator's phone number is 234 805 564 4635.

Take care and thanks for reaching out,

-- Amy