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Activist Fatou Camara to launch book titled Her Virginity

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The book titled Her Virginity authored by a young Gambian writer and activist, Fatou Camara, will be launched on 27 May at the Kairaba Beach Hotel at 11am. The book seeks to break the silence on the cultural beliefs surrounding female virginity and open up a debate on the stigma and stress women go through.

“As the author, my idea is not just to highlight the rampant and prevalent nature of such acts of violence, but also to make them topics of discourse as our society is disturbingly quiet and silent on them as if everything is okay,” Ms Camara said.

She said the book also seeks to raise awareness about the effects of giving a woman to her husband on the night of their marriage (dunding kang or jayballeh), and people will gather at their door at dawn to find out whether the girl was a virgin.

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“This is causing a lot of stigmas on women and girls who are not married. Some of them will even use unhealthy products to fake virginity,” she added.

She said the book will also raise awareness on how unsupported youths, both male and female, are pushed into prostitution unknowingly, the effects of parents raping their daughters and trafficking by family members or friends.

“The book, with eight chapters, is a 90% percent non-fictional novel that looks into the unspeakable and traumatic real-life experiences of women and girls in their homes and societies. While the novel is centered on The Gambia, it generally depicts the persecution of our sisters and mothers across African communities,” she stated.

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She said the book’s main theme and central focus is how virginity is used, rather abused, as a benchmark to determine the rights, value, and dignity of women and girls in society, especially in their marital homes.

“This theme was chosen after extensive and deep observation of how the virginity test is used as a tool to suppress and maltreat our sisters and mothers by society in the name of a cultural practice that is frowned upon and rejected by both Islam and Christianity,” she added. She appealed for support from all Gambians to patronise her on the day. 

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