'Desert Flower' by Waris Dirie

In her book the Dessert Flower, Waris Dirie gives a true account of the challenges that she went through in her native country as a young Somali girl. Waris Dirie native country Somali is a country where women are marginalized and discriminated against in terms of economics and have no freedom to make their own decision. She recounts how, at the age of five years, she was forced to undergo female circumcision that left her with lifelong emotional scaring (Dirie & Miller, 1998). Female genital mutilation is practiced in some parts of countries in Africa, Asia and Arabic region. Girls ranging from the age of five years to fifteen years are taken through the rite as a passage to womanhood. The female circumcision rite, which is prominent especially among the Muslim communities, is meant to make women religiously clean, and ready for marriage.

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According to Waris Dirie, the rite leaves young girls not only physically scared but also emotionally for the rest of their lives. It was a painful experience that left her emotionally scared. She graphically explains how parts her private parts were painfully cut, as a rite of passage, in unhygienic conditions. She explains that women who undergo the rite experience a lot of pain when urinating and during childbirth. In addition to there is no sexual pleasure to the women who get circumcised (Dirie & Miller, 1998). This rite of passage, commonly referred to as female genital mutilation, is now outlawed in most countries. However, this rite of passage is still practiced in her native country; Somali. She also recounts how young girls are forced to marry chosen partners. The author admits that she was lucky to have fled her native country to the USA, where women enjoy more freedom and choices. She argues that the culture, which is predominantly practiced among Muslim community, has no religion basis and it is meant to control women sexuality.

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