• Jennifer Nnamani

Love Begins From Home

There have been several experiences that have shaped the womxn that I am today. As I embarked on this tedious yet much needed deep self reflection, or “doing the work,” I knew I needed to return to the beginning. Home, where it all began.

At age 5, I witnessed a horrendous ceremony - a female genitalia mutilation otherwise referred to with the acronym FGM. Little did I know that I had undergone the same ghastly procedure as an infant. My curious mind wondered what the significance of this event was. I carried that memory with me until I arrived in the United States 21 years ago - thinking nothing of it. Around the same time or a year prior, a close family member sexually abused me. This lasted for 4 years.

Following the trauma that comes from seeing this being done, the painful silence of what my innocent body endured and being threatened incessantly to not tell my parents led to so many questions and anxiety that no child should bear. Africans know all too well the unspoken taboo of addressing sexual abuse, suffered by both girls and boys at the hands of family members (and others). The pain a child has to bear forced into the shadows and embedded in secrecy. And, here we are, consistently trying to reconcile the past with the present while pursuing a semblance of normalcy.

Love Begins From Home is a love letter to my inner child who I’m inviting to heal.

February 6 is recognized as International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. I had planned to share this story then but anxiety became a hindrance and today is a better day than any. FGM is an old practice done to women in Africa, Middle East, and Asia. More than 200 million women living today have been cut and many are denied access to mental health care to navigate the latter effects of FGM. There are hopes this practice will end in 2030. No woman should be denied her rights— this practice has zero benefit to the woman. It’s just another way for the patriarchy to control women’s bodies.

I am one of many that have had to endure these traumas, while trying to exist in a hypersexual world. I have had to come to terms that my virginhood will remain untouched due to these experiences. As I write these words, the burden becomes less and less. I always asked myself, why me? I do not consider myself a victim nor do I ask for your pity. I intend on using my experiences thus far to reshape the future. This is the second leg of my journey. No more hiding in silence but inspired to return where it all began; Home.



Los Angeles, CA.



Lagos, Nigeria 

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