The journey from being a victim to becoming a survivor
“I curse the practice of FGM and I don’t want any of my daughters to go through the process that almost claimed my life”, those were the words of Mrs. Margaret Chepoteltel.
Margaret Chepoteltel is from Lochengenge village in Lochengege Parish, Amudat Town Council in the Amudat district of Uganda. She is a Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) survivor who advocates for an end of the practice in Uganda.
She was 13 years when she was cut. It was believed that if she was cut, she would fetch a larger dowry than other women that were not cut. She was also cut to fulfill her parents’ wish for cattle.
Margaret Chepoteltel got married and was pregnant but she faced some complications while giving birth to her first child. She underwent Type 3 of FGM (Infibulation) which involves stitching of the external reproductive organ leaving a small opening for passage of urine and blood during her menstrual period. So while giving birth, the birth attendant had to cut open her reproductive organ to allow the passage of the child. Margaret felt so much pain, bled badly coupled with childbirth labor pains. She gave birth to the child but the most painful part was that the child eventually died. She lost her first child. So painful.
Community for Development Foundation Uganda (CDFC) organized a meeting in which Margaret Chepoteltel was in attendance. Attending the meeting, Margaret realized that the complications she encountered during childbirth were linked to FGM. She was well informed about FGM after the meeting.
Margaret Chepoteltel became a mother to two girls and she promised herself that she will never let the same thing (the complications she went through during childbirth after being mutilated) happen to her girls. She vowed never to let her daughters undergo FGM.
The enlightenment Margaret got from the meeting organized by CDFC made her become an advocate for FGM. Margaret Chepoteltel started sensitizing communities about FGM, sharing her story, how she survived and why FGM has to stop and must not be practiced.
She said and I quote, “We will continue to tell mothers, Fathers, and girls themselves about the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation and to discourage cutting. We will not give up”.
Information is power. Margaret Chepoteltel got to know what FGM is all about through the meeting she attended. She did not keep the information to herself, she became an advocate for positive change, to put a stop to FGM by sensitizing her community about FGM and why FGM must stop. Margaret Chepoteltel was able to protect her daughters from undergoing Female Genital Mutilation.
Margaret Cheepoteltel in on e of our Motivating Icons for International Women’s Day, 2022, #breakthebias. Your story does not have to end in pain. Your story might become a source of inspiration to others who are like you. You have what I takes to rise in a society like ours.
We must not keep quiet about FGM. We must all lend our voices to put a stop to FGM. We don’t know who is next in line to be mutilated. Speak up, save a life, save a generation.
Source: Spotlight Initiatives
Picture Credit- Rhealyz Africa
Written by Oluwaferanmi Omolade