“It is hardly a month since Dr. Marci Bowers performed a clitoral reconstruction, clitoroplasty, following the FGM that I underwent at nine years old. The surgeon’s empathy for victims of FGM is unmistaken. My first encounter with her during a pre-surgery assessment revealed her relentless efforts to restore wholeness to us. She does not only offer you a hand shake, but she hugs you, a gesture that she cares. This made me at ease during the consultation.
Undeniably, it is pretty early to celebrate the physical and psychological benefits of the procedure, but right now I see the anatomical evidence: I have a clitoris! Although I have not realized the clitoris’s physiological expression, one of my goals for the procedure has been fulfilled. I feel whole once again.
During my consultation with Dr. Bowers, I jokingly stated that even if I do not gain the functional intent from clitoroplasty, it will not affect my life as much as FGM has. It is not uncommon for victims of FGM to label themselves lesser women because they do not have a clitoris. I have had that attitude. Every time I saw a fellow female, I perceived her superior to me as I felt incomplete. Dr. Bowers found and restored that which I had lost. FGM robbed me a womanhood aspects through a procedure that nobody gave me the opportunity to make a decision or sign or even consent form. I once was lost but now I am found.
But three weeks ago, I was delighted to sign a consent form for clitoroplasty. My local gynecologist who performed the initial gynecological assessment to ascertain the type of FGM I underwent discouraged me against the procedure, claiming that it is an unnecessary surgery. I told him, I have done my research, and I know quite some information about the procedure. I have made an informed decision based on what I already know. You may not understand what it means for a woman to look and feel different in terms of sexuality.” He kept silent.
When I told my husband about my intention for clitoral reconstruction, he was ambivalent about it. I plowed ahead and started the preparations for it. When he realized my determination to go for the procedure, he gave me infinite support. I have done it, not for my husband, but for ME!
I visited a local gynecologist to assess my healing after surgery. As the gynecologist walked in with my folder, she stated, “I have no clue what clitoroplasty is, and I did not know that it can be done.” “You have made my day with breaking news” She continued. “Please allow me to share this encounter with my colleagues, she requested. I did not mind.
I wish health care providers would embrace and offer clitoroplasty as a special care for FGM victims. These women are going through life with stooped heads for what was inflicted on them without their choice. I consider clitoral reconstruction a necessary medical procedure for any FGM woman who would opt for it.”