Blade Of Virtue

Blade of Virtue: Female Genital Mutilation is a horror and must be stopped...

Another market day has come as the sun rises in the ESAIKOT community. Everyone to their daily bustle and hustle of relevance. At a corner of the road leading to the market, two women were seen huddled close, conversing in whispers. "Eka Ifeyen, it is time for your daughter to prove her virtue and pass into womanhood. She must pass through the blade. You and I know this as we both went through it together." "Eka Edemiso, my daughter is not ready now. Anytime I discuss this with her, you need to see the dread lurking in her eyes. You know she wants to be Iya Doctor when she grows up. Her school has been teaching that this practice is not good for her health."

" Haa…Eka Ifeyen! Why do you believe those people? What do they know about the culture, heritage, and beauty? Our mothers understood how attractive this practice was in keeping their marriages and how it showed a transition into womanhood. Eka Ifeyen, my friend, your daughter is stronger than she knows. She is just afraid. Remember, the rite is in two nights, and it is taboo for her not to go through it. She may be rejected by others in our community; act FAST." "Okay, I have heard you. Come, let's hurry so we will catch the early worms at the marketplace. My daughter will have to dance to the community's tune at this point because my hands are tied."

And then they hurried to join others as they made their way to the great market of ESAIKOT.

TWO NIGHTS LATER

Ifeyen was having a sound sleep when she was roused up by her mother's tap on her shoulder. "Ifeyen, it is time...Wake up, let's go. The Women's Group is outside waiting for us. We must arrive at the Ifa's hall on time." "Eka mmi, I have told you our teachers think this practice is barbaric and unhealthy. Why do you still want me to be a part of this terrible act?" "My dear, I wish this could be avoided but think of what the Women's Group will do to us. The rejection, scorn, and worse case, you might not have any suitors looking for you."

"Eka mmi, marriage is not everything, and I know a good man will find me someday. But I am afraid of what this ritual may do to me. But since it looks like this is a dead-end, and I cannot run away now, I submit to do this for your sake." "Ah, my daughter, Abasi odiong usung mfo(may God bless your path)." Mother and daughter finally step out to join the Women's Group. Other girls, Ifeyen's age, are there with their mothers. Together they walk to Ifa's Palace for the rite process.

IFA'S HALL

"Ifeyen Udombom ! It is your turn," Eka Ebetese's voice boomed from the hall. Ifeyen embraced her mother, and each step was filled with dread. "Ifeyen, Eyen mmi, I will be here waiting for you. May the spirits of our mothers strengthen you all through this phase." "Ameen Eka mmi" Ifeyen mutters under her breath. The hall was lit up by four kerosene lamps that were placed strategically according to bearings: North, South, East, and West. Eka Ebetese was seated beside the Ifa's wife, who would be performing the ritual. A mat was before them for every girl to lie on. A small calabash sat close by. One could see the glistening blade in there. The same blade is used from generation to generation for this very purpose. "Come to me, child and lie down," beckoned the Ifa's wife.

Ifeyen took another shaky step, removed her dress, and laid down on the mat(an altar that would help her transition to being a full woman). A firm hand grasped her upper torso and pinned her to the mat to prevent her escape. Eka Ebetese and another strange-looking woman Ifeyen hadn't seen upon entering were the ones pinning her down. The Ifa's wife approached stealthily with her weapon of purification, the blade of virtue. Ifeyen looked into her eyes as she hovered, muttering some incantations, and all Ifeyen saw was bleak darkness. Will she make it out of this passage alive?

After the incantations, some herbal concoction was forced down her throat. The next thing she saw was a raised hand with the blade glistening in the night. It came down at an alarming speed and struck through her feminine folds. Ifeyen screamed in horror and agony. The pain was excruciating as the blade kept cutting through her folds. That raw cutting sensation seared through her heart and body like hot iron burning through flesh. That irreversible stamp has been made, and her reality scarred with an indelible mark. The cut was too deep, and Ifeyen's wound refused to clot after a paste of herbs was placed on it. Unknown to everyone, the poor girl had slipped into blackness due to shock and a large amount of blood loss. She had become anemic, and her pulse was reducing rapidly.

The women(the perpetrators) spoke in whispers when they discovered the complications that arose. They called in Ifeyen's mother, explaining the situation to her. Eka Ifeyen let out a loud wail and slumped. Ifeyen was declared clinically dead when they arrived at the hospital; her mother could not be consoled. Perhaps the sacrifice of the night has been completed. The blade of virtue has devoured another soul.

#NoFGM#TheAfricanChild#TheAfricanFemale

P.C: Friedrich Stark/Alamy

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