Female genital mutilation is the excruciating and damaging experience that Beyond the Dance a lot of women in many cultures across Africa and in many other parts of the world suffer. Even when the women find themselves, for one reason or another, relocate in what should be safe havens, this practice frequently follows them like a vengeance ghost. Beyond the dance is a compilation of testimonies and poems about the humiliation of female genital mutilation, and about the resulting deprivation and loss. It encompasses accounts, factual in some cases and lyrical in others, of the experience of this practice lived or witnessed, and the visceral responses to the practice. The anger is palpable, the bafflement tangible. Beside the pain, though, is the hope borne of the voices raised by governments, organisations, institutions and individuals, urging a stop to the practice and coaxing oft-unwilling communities into abandoning it or transforming it into a meaningful ritual that builds up rather than ruins. Through the pages of this volume we share the pain, thoughts, views and feelings of the victims of female genital cutting and of people concerned about the debilitating practice. We share the hope that they hold out for a firm and final end to the practice.
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