In March, our Member Save a Girl Save a Generation published a powerful video interview between Asha Ismail and Dr Renée Bergstrom, both FGM Survivors.
“We are beautiful as we are. There is no justification for society telling us that there is something wrong with us and we have to be changed in any way.”
Asha Ismail interviews Dr Renée Bergstrom, a Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) survivor.
"FGM is a practice that is not only carried out in Africa. It exists in different places around the world. One example is the case of Dr Renée Bergstrom, who was cut when she was only three years old in the United States. A doctor who “practised her religion with a scalpel” decided to cut her clitoris to prevent her from touching herself, since masturbation was seen as a sin. Her mother realized immediately afterwards that it had been an error, but it was too late. “Nobody should find out about this,” she told her. “Don’t tell anybody or it will ruin your career,” several of her colleagues told her later on in life. This part of her life was silenced and was always accompanied by a feeling of guilt and shame.
Some years ago, Dr Renée decided to share her experience and, thanks to her opening up, we can now hear her say, “We are beautiful as we are. There is no justification for society telling us there is something wrong with us and that we need to be changed.” Asha Ismail and Renée Bergstrom, who are both survivors of FGM, agree that in spite of not being able to know how “women who are intact” experience their sexuality, there are other ways to enjoy one’s sexuality. “Sexuality is not only about one’s genitals, it’s about your whole being: mind and body,” Asha explains.
This interview is a call to all women that have undergone this practice to talk about it and share their stories. FMG does not only take place on the African continent. It is a practice that thousands of girls throughout the world are subjected to. We need to hear more stories like Dr Renée’s so that this practice, which has historically been silenced, is now openly discussed and the voices of women who have been subjected to it can finally be heard."