Apr 20 17

Letters to an Unknown Girl


‘They can sew it shut

But they won’t sew our mouths’


In the masterclass with girls from a Bristol secondary school I asked them if they had anything they would like to say to women across the world affected by FGM.  Some of the girls in the masterclass were directly affected (and so were writing to themselves) whist others shared an understanding of what systematic misogyny does to the real and imagined female body. Here are excerpts from some of their letters. If you are reading this and have survived FGM yourself, know that a 13 year old in the South West of England is thinking of you and wishing you love.


Dear ladies,

They can sew it shut

But they won’t sew our mouths

as we sing in harmony together.



Dear young one,

They can sew up your glory but they can never sew up your heart. It is unfair and wrong, but stay strong. I see you. The world will love you even through the horrors it provides. Know that it will get better. Love will prevail and thrive in everyone’s hearts.



Dear ____________,

You may think that the things they tell you are true, that there are no monsters here – as how can monsters make you feel so wanted. But whatever happens know that there is so much more to you than this. Know that pain is temporary and you are strong enough to get through it.

We all believe in you.



Dear little girl,

You are not alone. Trust me. When you go into that room, you will come out. Trust me. This will stop. Your children will not got through this. Trust me, you are strong. You can do this. Trust me. What they are doing to you is wrong, but you are not. Don’t panic. You will be okay.


Dear ________,

They won’t take your freedom

And they won’t take your rights

Because we’re right behind you

Ready to fight



Dear Z________,

You. Will. Survive.

They. Cannot. Cut. Out. Your. Heart.



Dear Whoever May Need This,

You may feel weak, but you are strong

You may feel pain, but you will heal

You may feel lonely, but we stand with you

You may feel scared, but you are brave

You may feel sad, but you will find happiness

The journey will be long, but you will make it

You shall walk through the horror to see a beautiful day

I believe in you

We all believe in you.



Dear Cyntia (sic)

You are not alone

We will find the way out

We will go through it, together.