"A cloth was put in my mouth so that the other girls couldn't hear me scream before it was their turn," says Mariama Ciré. “I was lying there on the cold floor, while some aunts pressed me to the floor and others opened my legs. Then the woman started to cut. I could do nothing. It's the tradition.” Even though Mariama was circumcised at the age of 7, she is still traumatized years later. “Every week I pass the place that marked me for life. This has to stop."
With a rate of almost 97%, Guinea rises up to number 2 in the world, after Somalia. Although this practice has been prohibited by law since 2000, yet this tradition remains persistent.
During a few weeks, I submerged myself in the lives and stories of victims, activists, ex- circumcisers and religious leaders. I attended the conference held in Conakry for the new quintannual plan to stop this practice. I managed to make some photos during an excision feast of young girls (5-6 years).
Traditions, misbelief and a lack of information keeps this horrible practice alive.
Nowadays a circumcision party is often organized for appearances where the girl has been spared of genital mutilation, but the family is in line with the traditional requirements that will keep the girl out of the hands of beckoning aunts and grandmothers.
Publication in De Volkskrant
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