For some years now, a fascinating and amazing young Kenyan woman has been agitating effectively against the heinous practice of female genital mutilation ("FGM"). As has been pointed out many times, this tradition is pre-Islamic in Africa and has affected Christians, Muslims and animists alike. In this case, the victim is a Christian, although most mutilated women worldwide are Muslim.
Now 30 years old, the colorful and feisty Lucy Mashua was forcibly mutilated when she was nine, joining the ranks of some 130 million girls and women globally. Her ongoing trauma and physical anguish motivate her in no uncertain terms: She is out to destroy the vile practice of FGM.
One day I will reach the World Court and criminalize globally FGM. I swear I am going to reach there. I am now building a very big network of very committed people. I aspire even to be a human rights movie documentary producer. I am going to get words out there and catch the attention of all kinds of good people. I will kick FGM ass out of this planet. And that makes me smile.
All I can say is, "You go, girl!"
FP: You have suffered some persecution and terrible ordeals because of your fight against FGM while you were in Africa. Tell us what happened to you.
Mashua: First I was rejected by my own society, relatives and friends because of my strong uncompromised belief that women are human too and that no one should take a razor, knife or sharp glass to cut off our clitoris.
No man owns a woman and no one has the right to beat or hit a woman. I have watched my mom suffer at the hands of men and I had enough and began my rebellion by not obeying what men wanted from me and I knew then I have begun a war.
As young as 6 years old I would open my mouth and shout to the top of my voice in a gathering to speak my mind out. Of course I would get beatings but I grew immune. I could not cry anymore from the beatings but I cry out when my friends and relatives undergo FGM.
My fight against FGM has landed me in jail as a protester. I have suffered beatings, rejection, sexual abuse, separation from my babies. I have been tortured physically, sexually and emotionally. I have physical scars all over my body. Up to this time there are times my mind goes back and it’s like a horror movie. I suffered a great deal but I thank God almighty for America....
Amen, Sister! America the Great. It is always terrific to hear the voices of the grateful refugees from the lands of horrors who appreciate the freedoms and protections provided by the U.S. Constitution. If you are an American who takes these freedoms and protections for granted, please remember the voices of such individuals as Lucy Mashua - there are many millions like her worldwide who deserve our help.