Welcome to you, who are willing to fight against the crimes of excision and forced marriage.
We are a small association, born of the small group created by Dr Duterte for his exiled, asylum seeking, homeless patients, who have immediately decided to create SOS Africaines en Danger !
When they were little girls, they were excised. They were told: "Silence, we torture you!"
Today they speak, they fight. Against their families, their villages and their government.
Dr Pierre DUTERTE
Doctor and director of the
Parcours d'Exil care centre.
Support to victims of torture.
I was only able to cease the extent of the feminine sexual mutilation disaster after creating the discussion group in the care center I am in charge of.
I did not suspect the extent of damages caused by this barbarian practise.
The first of crimes is silence.
I had decided to create a 'group therapy' for the women who wanted to talk through their sufferings.
To my greatest surprise, the first aim of these meetings was to help the women to discuss on why and how these mutilations happen?
They all agreed on one specific point: the rejection of any kind of sexual intercourse. They were disgusted by men, considered the sexual act a burden and wanted to get over with it as soon as possible.
How can we imagine that they would trust men after being forced into marriage, after suffering conjugal rape?
How could they trust anyone, their mother, grandmother having told them that they were going to the hairdresser, to a party, in order to trap and excise them?
Excision is the partial or full removal of a woman's internal sexual organs.
Every year, about three millions under-fifteen girls are at risk of excision.
They live in France, in Africa and everywhere in the world.
We believe that there currently is 125 millions excised women, mainly in 25 African countries.
According to International Law, excision is an inhuman and degrading procedure, on the same level as torture. One has the right to preserve their physical and psychic integrity.
In France, excision is punished by the Penal Court, and the excised women's circumciser and parents can be prosecuted.
The African Maputo Protocole (2003) asks that Nations take all necessary legal mesures, along with prosecutions, to forbid any kind of sexual mutilation.
Thanks to the Protocole, the practise is now prohibited in Senegal, Burkina-Faso, Togo and Ivory Coast.
Yet it remains unpunished.
The young women exiled in France, who attest of their infernal experience, are the very first generation to stand out and refuse that their granddaughters suffer the same crime as they did, some traditions that must be left in the past.
Master Danielle MERIAN
President of SOS Africaines in Danger
My mother told me of having been circumcised at 16 or 17 just before being married to my father. Her sisters were also circumcised. Seven of my nieces were circumcised the same day on the initiative of my mother-in-law.
I underwent excision at the age of 13 in the bush: a small cabin... a dozen young girls... about ten minutes. Three women were waiting for me inside, the one who practiced excision had her face veiled. The other two women grabbed me, I tried to run away and fight. One sat on my chest, the other blocked the upper part of my body. I couldn't move and it happened.
I know that in Côte d'Ivoire excision is prohibited by law. You don't report your parents to the police.
"My mother died when I was born. My father when I was 7 years old passed away. We went to my uncle's. He had 3 wives and 21 children. When I was 12, I told them that I was not circumcised. My uncle said “we are eating with a dog”. Excision, I didn't know it hurt so much. Around 5 o'clock in the morning they told me that we were going to the tailor, we went to the cutter. The cutter told me to follow her into the toilet. I said I didn't want to be excised. I have been circumcised. I bled a lot and got infections afterwards. I couldn't sit down, I was lying down all the time."
"I experienced female circumcision when I was eight years old. I was with my family members. My family took you and forced you for excision. Today, I still have health problems because of it. It was my father who decided to have us circumcised. It is serious to perform excision."
My older sister died of female circumcision.
I was seven years old when I was circumcised. It happens at night. They bring together girls of 4, 5, 6 years old. They say it doesn't hurt. They say it's an initiation.
Early in the morning they took us into the bush. We were 7 or 8. The women were singing and dancing. I almost died because I was bleeding a lot. My doctor uncle came to pick me up in the village. My uncle saved me. My cousin didn't bleed, but they sewed her up so she wouldn't have sex before the wedding. On the day of the wedding they opened. She got married at 14 to a man who already had 2 wives and died the day she gave birth. My sister died, my cousin too.
I decided not to excise my daughter. My first daughter was circumcised, it was in my absence. Our second daughter is a refugee here. I had very painful periods with lots of contractions. I have no sexual pleasure. I knew two girls who had tetanus: one died, the other had psychiatric problems.
In Guinea the law does not punish.
Ex-Project Manager for the Malta
Order's actions against isolation
Amnesty International defines forced marriage as "a person being married to a known or unknown person without their will."
It is a discrimination against women, and is mostly carried out in African and Asian islam practising societies.
The 16th Article of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights points out that "marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses". Forced marriage is prohibited in many countries. However, this cultural custom is still a practise.
The UNICEF (2014), states that about 700 million women have been forced into contracting marriage, one of three of which was less that fifteen years old.
The 2001 Bamako Initiative adopted by African health ministers states that the spouses' consent must be freely expressed. If not, the marriage is invalid and all kind of sexual act will be considered violent.
According to the UNICEF, forced marriage has harmful consequences on the health (growth of the infantile mortality rate), education (married girls usually stop going to school), and violent abuse of the girls forced into marriage.
"I got married when I was 19. At that time, I had no choice. My mom was worried because I was old. I met my husband, but in my country you can't date the person before marriage. I was dating a guy, I liked him. But it was in secret, my parents didn't know. Luckily I found someone. I thought I would try my luck. I was circumcised, my sister died of it; I went to school, I saw in biology why she died. My cousin also died of it. I have decided not to circumcise my daughter. I explained it to my husband. I told her that if we had a daughter, she would not be circumcised. Now my husband has accepted my decision. I had a boy, a girl and then another."
Fatoumata Binta DIOP,
I was married at 15 to a man older than my father, he was around 50. He raped me and I bled a lot. My husband raped me every day. I was in 9th grade when I was forced into marriage and I had asked my father to continue studying, but my father said that a woman should not study. My father chose me as a husband, someone from his family, my uncle who already had a wife and children.
My husband died in a car accident. At that time, I was forced to remarry her older brother. I had to remarry with the big brother - also, I experienced forced marriage twice. It happens a lot in Guinea, forced marriage. The girls are married at 14/15/16 years old. They don't necessarily wait for us to have our period, as soon as there is a little chest it's good. There are non-polygamous people, but 80% of the population is polygamous. Forced marriage is a cause that leads girls to engage in risky behavior. There are no centers for women, no orphanages, nothing for women who have left their marital home in Guinea. The only solution is to leave the country. Some fall into prostitution.
When I was 15 years old and my baccalaureate, my uncle gave me in marriage to a man in his forties. He already had another wife of about 25 years old. Marriage wasn't easy, because I didn't want to get married.
I was cheated for the wedding, I did not know that I had to get married that day. I had never seen my husband before the wedding. One day when I came home from school, I saw people in the yard at my uncle's house. I asked the neighbor what was going on. He told me he thought one of my uncle's daughters was getting married. My aunt told me to go into her room and I followed her. There were two ladies in the room. They locked the door and they kept the key with them. They put the wedding dress on me.
I didn't mean the wedding ritual. They slapped me for doing it. I couldn't resist, they were three. I screamed, and no one came to help me. It was the first time I saw the husband. He had given money to my uncle. They picked me up and took me home. He knew I didn't love him. When he entered the room, I started insulting him and hitting him. I told him that I didn't love him.
Afterwards, he wanted us to make love, but I didn't want to at all. My uncle's aunts and wives were behind the door to check if I was a virgin. I didn't want to, I started to struggle. The husband came out, they entered the bedroom and tied me up. He raped me all night. Afterwards, he took out the sheet and showed that I was a virgin. He continued, all night. The next day, my aunts came. Then I got pregnant. It was the same all the time, he beat me all the time. I have lots of scars and cigarette marks.
Master Judith CORONEL-KISSOUS
Lawyer at the Paris Bar
Dr Pierre DUTERTE
Doctor and director of the
Parcours d'Exil care centre.
Patients to whom I propose this reparation usually believe it to be a graft, collected from another part of their body, or a 'donor''s.
It is often a great surprise to these mutilated women to learn that, even excised, their clitoris is still there, hidden, and that there is a great chance for them to experience sexual pleasure. This reconstruction, invented by the french urologist Pierre Foldes, can give the woman a functional clitoris after having been through an excision.
Clitoris reconstruction is generally made by resection of the scar, liberation of the clitoral shaft and of the whole clitoral crux.
A clitoroplasty and repositioning then occur. Their goal is to restaure a normal anatomy, as much as to obtain a normally innervated organ, in order to recreate the original anatomy to recover a functional and satisfying sexual life.
Reconstruction seldom limits itself to a basic resetting of the clitoral function.
Excising 'techniques' are mostly vestigial, brutal and unhygienic, and their damages can extend beyond the clitoris itself, and necessitate further chirurgical interventions.
These reparations rid patients of the pain they felt when urinating, having their period or when having sexual intercourse. Reparation also makes childbirth less complicated and dangerous.
In certain parts of Africa, sexual mutilations go far beyond clitoral damage.
There are three famous types of genital mutilation: feminine circumcision, or 'Sunna' (taking off the clitoral hood and the glans' extremity); the basic excision, known as clitoridectomy (which removes a more complete part of the glans and sometimes of the labia minora) ; and finally the infibulation (which almost totally shuts the vaginal way by scarification and suture of the labia majora, sometimes even of the inner thighs.)
The women who have been operated and who come back to our discussion group express their feeling of being 'complete' again, to have recovered an important part of their body, and often to have felt sexual pleasure again.
Before the surgery, most of them are angry when talking about their excision. Angry against their family members, the people who surrounded them and who permitted this mutilation. But they also feel shame and fright when talking about sexual intercourse. After the surgery, the group is filled with smiles and the happiness to feel like a woman.