Waris Dirie and the fight against female circumcision
  
Waris Dirie on the genital mutilation of African women
In this article

Waris Dirie on the genital mutilation of African women


You chose to publicly talk about your circumcision to an NBC journalist while you were a famous model. Why did you decide to do so at that moment of your life?
It wasn't on that particular day that I decided! The actual day that changed my life, the day when I decided that I would talk about it, that I would fight for as long as I live, was the day when they mutilated me, when I was 3. It was that day that I decided on my purpose in life. Afterwards, I just waited for the right moment... and the moment came.
 
Female circumcision was something people didn't talk about. It was taboo, unknown even. Were you afraid of people's reactions? The risk to your career?
It never crossed my mind because all of that was so much greater than me! There are 1 million women and babies in the world screaming out because of circumcision. Nobody helps them, nobody speaks up for them. I knew about it and I thought about it all the time, it kept me awake at night. I couldn't see how I could do any different, I had to speak up. The rest, people's opinions... I didn't give a damn.

And the fact is, people gave me filthy looks, they appeared to be a bit disgusted. "What? You? Circumcised?!" People who I'd worked with for years have completely disappeared. Others were afraid... In reality, they were very ignorant people. They didn't know what to do, how to deal with it or what to say to me.


Actress Liya Kebede © Sipa


Women in Focus Editor
19/04/2010
Rank this page: 


Don't miss...
Celebrity Men with GlassesPlay Our 2048 Game!
Next Week's Coronation Street Spoilers20 Honest Quotes About Dads To Write In Your Father's Day Card
Latest… 09/12/2016
Women in Focus News
Guides
Videos
12 Life Lessons We Can All Learn from Iris Apfel
All Women in Focus news
Changing your name | How to change your name
Work for yourself - get your small business online
How to deal with redundancy
Registering and voting: everything you need to know
See all Women in Focus guides
Income protection: What if you couldn't work?
See all Women in Focus videos
 

Don't miss out!

...Join our newsletter
Get the sofeminine latest straight to your inbox
  OK
Find us on...