I Will Not Be Shamed – Spoken Word Poem

I Will Not Be Shamed – FGM Awareness

The video was a collaborative project with Irish videographer Cian Brennan, Libyan musician Farah Elle and Nigerian Human Rights Scholar and Islamic Law Researcher Ihunanya Enyi-Amadi as part of my ongoing poetry series ‘Women and Other Flowers’. I wrote and performed this poem to raise awareness about Female Genital Mutilation/cutting.

We say “I Will Not Be Shamed“ to affirm that there is no shame in being a victim of gender-based violence. There is only survival, recovery and healing.

Any civilization that does not recognize the female is doomed to destruction. 
Women are the wave of the future, and sisterhood is stronger than anything.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is the total or partial removal of parts of the female genitalia. The archaic practice is prevalent in Africa, Asia and is still perpetuated in several countries in Europe despite legislation against it:

According to the HSE, since 2011, there have been about 3,780 women living in Ireland who have undergone the mutilation. The level of FGM continues to increase in Ireland. 

Historically FGM was a way of disrupting female sexual experience by reducing clitoral sensation and stimulation, thus limiting female desire. Today this misogynistic practice is framed under cultural and religious customs. Nonetheless, it remains a means of subjugating women and girls.

Organizations such as Action Aid Ireland are helping spread awareness for FGM prevention and provide support services for survivors. We can continue to shed light on the horrific reality of FGM by using the social media campaign hashtag #MeTooFGM–similar to the #MeToo movement that exposed the harrowing and vast revelations of sexual assault that occurred in high profile industries like music. movie and politics–to show solidarity for survivors of the practice.

I choose to use poetry to speak out against the violation of the human rights of women and girls, to reject the patriarchal narrative of shame that is imposed on the female body throughout history and in our present hyper-culture.

We will not be shamed, we will put our bodies back together where it has been ripped apart, we will embrace our sexuality, define pleasure for ourselves and we will love ourselves despite the minor and major injustices.

The video was filmed at Dublin Castle, an important location in terms of the Women’s Rights Movement in Ireland. Dublin Castle was the location of the official declaration of victory for the Repeal the Eighth campaign. The yes vote passed 2-1 after several months of rallies, marches, strikes, and protests; lobbying the Irish government to prioritize women’s health and campaigning for women’s right to choice and bodily autonomy.

FGM can be stopped in our generation if we continue to speak up and add to the conversation, because as Burke said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men people to do nothing.”

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