Some 200 million women and girls across 30 countries have been affected by female genital mutilation (FGM). But how do survivors live with the pain of peeing, periods and childbirth?

“The first time you notice your physicality has changed is your pee,” says Hibo Wardere.

Hibo, now 46, was subjected to what is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “type three” mutilation when she was six. This means all of her labia were cut off and she was then stitched together, leaving a tiny hole she compares to the size of a matchstick. Her clitoris was also removed.

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Some 200 million women and girls across 30 countries have been affected by female genital mutilation (FGM). But how do survivors live with the pain of peeing, periods and childbirth?

“The first time you notice your physicality has changed is your pee,” says Hibo Wardere.

Hibo, now 46, was subjected to what is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “type three” mutilation when she was six. This means all of her labia were cut off and she was then stitched together, leaving a tiny hole she compares to the size of a matchstick. Her clitoris was also removed.

She grew up in Somalia, where 98% of women and girls between 15 and 49 have had their genitals forcibly mutilated.

“An open wound rubbed with salt or hot chilli – it felt like that,” she recalls.

“And then you realise your wee isn’t coming out the way it used to come. It’s coming out as droplets, and every drop was worse than the one before. This takes four or five minutes – and in that four or five minutes you’re experiencing horrific pain.”

Hibo came to the UK when she was 18, and within months visited a doctor to see if they could relieve the pain she experienced when she passed urine and during her periods.

Her translator didn’t want to interpret her request, but the GP managed to understand.

Eventually Hibo underwent a procedure called defibulation, when the labia is opened surgically. This widened the hole and exposed her urethra. It is by no means an outright fix, and can never restore sensitive tissue that was removed, but it did make it slightly easier to urinate.

 

5 thoughts on “‘This is what it’s like to pee after female genital mutilation’

  1. Thanks for posting this. This is horrific. Most treatment of women and girls anywhere is completely unacceptable garbage. We need to stop this practice and advocate for the humanity of females everywhere. And this means that anti-female religions should be put out of business. God is a racket.

  2. Let’s not forget about our boys and male genital mutilation (MGM) – circumcision.

  3. Yet Male Genital Mutilation of infants goes on every single day in the USA, Israel and Canada. Nobody bats an eye. Babies die from bleeding, shock or aspiration of vomit they inhale because the agony is horrible!
    ALL GENITAL CUTTING IS MUTILATION. ALL of it is sick and twisted, those who do this will have to answer for their torture of helpless infants and children. Anyone ever heard of a “Life review”? It’s what happens after you die, and you experience every good or bad thing you have done to others in your life.
    Behind male and female circumcison is the devil. All of it is pure evil.

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