Nawal El Saadawi
As a physician in the village, in fact I learned a lot, a lot, because you know, people usually open up their hearts and their minds to doctors. And at the beginning in the village, the men did not want to come to me as a doctor, because I was a woman.1 How can a woman put her hand on a man and make him take off his clothes and examine him?2 At the beginning they were a bit refusing, but then when I succeeded as a doctor and I was saving some of the lives from — and curing many of them, so they started to trust me very much and to speak about their problems, even sexual problems, and of course their physical problems and their diseases, all their problems.
And also in this village I learned about circumcision and female genital mutilation and male genital mutilation. And I was very much against all these procedures. I was not aware at the beginning of my own circumcision, I forgot it. You know, we call what we say childhood amnesia. So, I forgot what happened to me when I was six or seven years of age.3 But when I started to see the man, the barber in the village cutting the children, male and female, I started to object and to fight against those midwives and barbers and to stop cutting children, but it was impossible. It was a very deep rooted habit, and it was very difficult, but I tried to do my best.