‘Real Housewives of Dubai’ star Chanel Ayan recently opened up about a traumatic experience she endured at the tender age of five. The Somali and Ethiopian reality television star revealed that she underwent female circumcision–a cultural tactic used to sustain women’s virginity until marriage.
Ayan spoke to E! news after discussing the procedure on the most recent episode of ‘RHOB,’ stating that she felt betrayed by her culture.
I’m a survivor. I felt that I was utterly betrayed by my culture and my family. This is just a barbaric practice, and it shouldn’t be happening to young girls. It happened to me 35 years ago, and I’ve never gotten over it.”
The fashion designer explained that that her mother and grandmother took her to a stranger’s house to have her genitals sewn up, which has caused her to suffer from both physical and emotional trauma. In the scene, Chanel tearfully described the procedure.
We were tied in the legs. Couldn’t pee. Couldn’t move. When we needed to pee, they would carry us and put us on the grass. I just didn’t understand what the hell was going on whatsoever and my mom didn’t know that that was happening to us.”
I think the trauma is something that I will live with for the rest of my life. This is why I want to talk about it because I honestly don’t want this to happen to anyone, because I know exactly how it feels and it’s not good. A lot of girls get depressed, hormones are imbalanced, a lot of young girls die.”
Female mutilation still occurs around the globe, and Ayan hopes to use her platform to bring awareness to the issue. She also plans to use profits from her new makeup line, Ayan Beauty, to help the cause.
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I just feel like after opening up about it, I was taking my power away from the people that did this to me that I trusted the most because I was 5 years old and I did not know what was happening to me. I didn’t even know what was going on. As long as I use my platform to bring awareness to stop this–if I can save 20 girls, 100 girls, 500 girls, I feel like that’s the purpose I have.