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Book review: Cut by Hibo Wardere

Jeremy Gibson is the named GP for Safeguarding Children in Derby City

At six-years-of-age, Hibo Wardere was forcibly held down and brutally subjected to Type III female genital mutilation (FGM). This book tells her story, a riveting, personal, and candid account of her journey from traumatized child to courageous, vocal anti-FGM activist.

Growing up in Somalia, she was pressurized in the playground by other girls to be cut. After the barbaric act was carried out, she bore a deep-rooted, long-lasting sense of betrayal by her own mother for letting it happen. She gives a first-hand account of some of the physical complications she endured, such as difficulties passing urine, recurring pain, problems with sex with her husband, and the trauma of the vaginal delivery of her first child. She describes the shame she felt when examined by healthcare professionals and the recuring symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

At times I wept, at others I cheered her valour.

When she arrived in the UK, Hibo sought answers. These were slow in coming. Finally, by reading a book from her local library about female circumcision she realized what had actually been done to her.

One day, while working as a teaching assistant in a local school she had the opportunity of sharing with some colleagues what she had suffered. Visibly moved, they encouraged her to speak publicly about her experience. Opportunities snowballed. She went on to talk about FGM to teachers, school children, police officers, social workers, healthcare professionals, and even Somalian men.

At times I wept, at others I cheered her valour. I have heard FGM referred to in many safeguarding presentations (and mentioned it often myself) but none of these have moved me like this book. How better to learn about the atrocities of FGM than from someone who has herself been cut.

 

Featured book: Cut by Hibo Wardere, First published in Great Britain by Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, 2016, Trade paperback ISBN: 978-1-4711-5398-3, eBook ISBN: 978-1-4711-5398-3

 

Featured background photo by Jackson David on Unsplash

The BJGP is the world-leading primary care journal. At BJGP Life we add multi-media comment and opinion for the primary care community.

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