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The divinity of a woman’s body

Zero tolerance for FGM

According to UNICEF 2019, at least 200 million girls and women alive today have had their genitals mutilated – suffering one of the most inhumane acts of gender-based violence in the world. Although the practice is on a decline, the goal is to reach zero! This is why Voice supports the work of three grantees in Kenya and Tanzania, Samburu Women Trust, Empowerment of Marginalised Communities and Men against FGM in support of the Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) campaign.

Reverend Timothy Njoya, better known as Rev Njoya is a retired Minister of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa and a leading advocate for justice and human rights in Kenya. He is also the author of books like The Divine Tag on Democracy, Out of Silence: A Collection of Sermons, Human Dignity and National Identity.  More recently he just finished writing The Divinity of the clitoris a book on bodily integrity and the right to selfhood for women. The book focuses on why FGM goes against creation. In partnership with Voice and Hivos East Africa, the Reverend aims to launch the book later in 2019.

Voice caught up with him on 5th February, the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation for a quick chat.

Voice:  In Kenya, there are many forms of body mutilations done to women.  Why did you focus on FGM?

Rev. Njoya: January 5, 1925, my mother Wandia was the first Kikuyu woman to openly escape circumcision in pursuit of education and excellence.  From her I learned about women rights. For me, women’s rights are divine rights by virtue of women having been created in God’s image.

Voice: In one of your book reviews, you called the clitoris divine.  Please elaborate on this.

Rev Njoya: The clitoris is divine because every part of the humans’ body manifests God’s likeliness in the human form.  God created both male and female in his likeliness as one and equal. The clitoris is a small penis and a penis is a big enlarged clitoris. Nobody should remove the clitoris from the body where the Creator fixed it.

Voice: Considering that you are a man and one of the cloth at that, have you received any backlash because of bluntly talking about FGM?

Rev. Njoya: When I first made the official announcement that I would be writing a book called the DIVINITY OF THE CLITORIS, I received around a million responses. Interestingly majority of them were positive!  

Voice: You mention that you have talked to many women who have been mutilated as part of your research while writing this book. Have you interacted with women who were lucky enough to escape or refuse the cut? How do they feel about their decisions? Is there more that they are doing within their communities?

Rev. Njoya: Between 2004 and  2018 we talked to more than 2000 women, a majority who were circumcised. Loss of sexual pleasure in circumcised women was the leading aftermath of the cut. The circumcised woman is likely to die giving birth due to scarring and constriction of the birth canal. Some circumcised women wanted the government to establish a hospital for clitoris surgical transplant so that they feel whole again.

Voice: In your explanation of the loss to men how do you equate the loss of the clitoris to a man’s anatomy?

Rev. Njoya: The loss of one clitoris is like the loss of 20 penises. One clitoris is connected to the brain by 20,000 nerve endings and the penis is connected to the brain with only 2000 nerve endings.

Once this book is launched, together with Hivos East Africa, Voice will support a series of open reviews and discussions on the same.

Watch this space for updates.

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