FGM is and will always be traumatic. It has been found that the psychological trauma that women experience through FGM stays with them for the rest of their lives. However, not talking about it, not sharing the issues that they are facing doesn’t help. Why you think they do that? They may have no one to talk to, or the most simple reason is shame. FGM is so deeply rooted in their culture that even speaking something negative about it will have you cast out of the community.
Newly married women face other psychological effects include emotional distance, flashbacks, sleep disorders, social isolation. Isn’t FGM something that was supposed to prepare victims for marriage? Removing sexual pleasure so that you can be ready to be with one man for the rest of your life, yet you cannot be emotionally close to him because he doesn’t understand your trauma and suffering. But that’s not a conversation people are prepared to have.
Traumatizing, that’s all I can describe FGM as. Imagine being one of those women, being cut causing you to bleed day after day with no medical support and going through so much pain.
Women told me there was a certain pride in having survived the cut and in “becoming a woman,” but mostly pain and fear stay with them forever. While the physical pain goes away forever, the mental disturbance stays with them always. Not dealing with that makes a very unhealthy society, they may heal physically, but they do not heal mentally.
Women who have undergone FGM may also be affected by chronic pain syndrome, and with other causes of chronic pain there is an increased risk of depression and mental health issues including mood swings, reduced social functioning and interaction, worthlessness, guilt, and even suicidal thoughts.
To anyone that promotes FGM, this is what you promote, pain, and long-lasting suffering. But again, this is not a conversation people are ready to have.