In grade seven, two Somali diaspora girls were in our class. One day they told us—all the girls in the class—that they were not circumcised and did not know what circumcision was. We all looked at one another as if someone had committed a crime. We are circumcised so that our husbands can know our “cleanliness,” and we couldn’t believe that the girls’ mother did not want them to be beautiful and loved by their husbands. We felt unworthy without circumcision, and had all accepted that female genital mutilation, commonly referred to as FGM, was a necessity.

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