Iman Hussein, an Egyptian theater student, was interviewed by the Egyptian DMC TV channel on the issue of female circumcision. She recounted that at the age of 10 or 11, she had discussed it with her mother and told her that this was her "own private matter," resisting pressure mounted by relatives and acquaintances. Hussein sent a message to young girls: "Your body is yours... In order to avoid the pain of sexual harassment, FGM, or things like that, you must confront it with all your might." The interview aired on February 12.
Iman Hussein: I was raised in a place called Bashayer, where my mother used to work. We were educated against FGM, and I knew my rights on this matter. Later, when I went to school, my friends were undergoing this operation. I told my mother that my friends at school were undergoing female circumcision, and I started discussing this with her. I told her that this was wrong because this is a part of the body. My mother always said to me: "This is your body, and nobody can touch it."
First Interviewer: How old were you?
Iman Hussein: I was 10 or 11 years old.
First Interviewer: At such a young age...
Second Interviewer: Right.
Iman Hussein: Then my mother's friends at work started to ask her: "Why haven't you done the operation to your daughters yet?" Some of our family members, like my grandmother, also raised the issue. I said to my mother then: "This is up to me. You can't do this." I'm into theater, and I watched some shows about FGM...
First Interviewer: And you must have heard stories from your friends at school.
Iman Hussein: Yes, one of them told me that she could not move for 3 or 4 days, and was hemorrhaging. Stuff like that. I was very scared, and I tried to imagine myself in such a situation. Besides, I am small, not like my friends, who are...
Second Interviewer: You are petite.
Iman Hussein: Yes... My mother's friends and our relatives told me that after the operation, my body would develop and I would put on some weight. But I didn't want that. I wanted to stay the way I am. This is my own private matter. So I told my mother that I was not doing this. She was also against it, but every now and again, she would say: Maybe we should consult a doctor? But I said: No way. What doctor are you talking about?! Why should I let a doctor see me? This is my own private matter.
Second Interviewer: Iman, we'd like to hear your message to girls your age or younger, who might find themselves in this situation one day.
Iman Hussein: Your body is yours. You are the one who will have to deal with the pain and everything. In order to avoid the pain of sexual harassment, FGM, or things like that, you must confront it with all your might. Our body deserves to be protected from these things.
Second Interviewer: I salute your courage and your position against all the pressure.