‘It makes me feel bad to know that I cannot go back to who I was. I’ll have to endure it for as long as I live. People don’t talk about it openly and in my case there was no way I was going to know what FGM was all about.’
Subjected to female genital mutilation in Somalia at the age of 11, ‘Najma’, whose real name has not been used, is campaigning to put a stop to the practice.
Now 19 and from Sheffield, she wants to show that FGM can damage a woman’s health, while encouraging others to speak more openly about its risks.
Her story was broadcast on ITV News Calendar on Monday 13th July.
‘It wasn’t until I came to the United Kingdom that I questioned what I had gone through,’ Najmaexplains.
‘I want people to question why they do it and I’m working to encourage others to discuss female genital mutilation within their own communities.
‘If people started talking about the issue I think that will bring a big change in our societies. My biggest hope is that this practice will come to an end sooner rather than later.’
With Fixers, Najma has helped to produce a spoken word film to support victims of FGM.
She offers further information about FGM, which is defined as intentionally altering or causing injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
‘Female genital mutilation is carried out by a number of communities in the belief that it either makes the woman cleaner, curbs their sexuality, or it’s part of a transition from being a girl into womanhood.
‘It’s an abuse of the girls and the women who go through this and it is happening here, right now.'
You can watch Najma’s TV piece at the top of this page.