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She had her back stooped, her legs broken, her jaw broken, even though she did everything right. In that situation, many women accept their situation as God-given, not man-made." When Boge was 12, she was pinned down and had her genitals cut out with a knife. Culture is not stagnant – it is transient." One day, as a little girl, she was sent to stay overnight with one of her cousins when she saw the Amharic alphabet on the wall.
This is called "circumcision" – but it is actually mutilation, and it nearly caused her to bleed to death. I knew I was not a cow, a chattel, and I did not want to be treated like one. She knew that, when she went home, she would not be allowed to see it again – her father beat her mother for even suggesting she go to school – so she sat up all night and memorised all 268 characters.
Abebe Anebo is a wiry 45-year-old man, with sunken eyes that are partially concealed in the shade of a grubby white baseball cap.
I wish to God that had happened." Her laugh erupts again, like a muffled scream. But then she says suddenly: "My husband is a good man. All the old women I meet – abductees for a lifetime – insist on this upbeat ending, in almost identical language, after recounting their tales of rape.
One side is for the men, and other is for the women and the animals. I don't know how she survived," she adds, looking down.
"She was a very intelligent, very wise woman – but all her life she was abused and beaten – for nothing. When there is no alternative, you somehow accept this as all you will get.
So she tells her story slowly, haltingly, her sentences punctuated by sudden high-pitched laughs that seem to erupt involuntarily from her gut.
Nurame was in her bed when she was woken by an angry mêlée.
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For 40 years, she didn't talk about her wedding, or how it came to happen.