Empowering Journey: FGM Survivor’s Triumph Over Adversity

Empowering Journey: FGM Survivor's Triumph Over Adversity
Valerie and her husband Tony have had three children, but they experienced multiple miscarriages as a result of the FGM causing infections

Empowering Journey: FGM Survivor’s Triumph Over Adversity

Valerie Lomari’s childhood in Nigeria was marked by a profound lack of love and support, except for her grandmother, who was her sole source of affection. Raised by her grandmother in Lagos due to her young mother’s inability to provide care, Valerie found solace in her grandmother’s care despite the hardships. However, at the age of 16, her world shattered when her grandmother orchestrated her mutilation in a remote village without warning.

Now 52 years old, Valerie still bears the scars, both physical and emotional, of female genital mutilation (FGM). Determined to prevent others from enduring similar suffering, she has become a vocal advocate against this barbaric practice. Residing in Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, and London, Valerie assists FGM survivors, offering support and guidance to those who have undergone similar traumas.

Valerie’s journey to activism began with a betrayal by the one person she loved and trusted. Deceived into believing she was going on holiday, she was instead subjected to a horrifying ordeal orchestrated by her grandmother. The traumatic experience left her feeling abandoned, ashamed, and betrayed, grappling with physical and psychological consequences that persisted long after the incident.

Despite the immense pain and trauma, Valerie found solace and love in her husband, Tony, who stood by her side through her darkest moments. With his unwavering support, she found the courage to confront her past and seek help. Together, they overcame numerous challenges, including multiple miscarriages caused by complications from FGM.

Valerie’s journey towards healing and forgiveness led her to confront her grandmother, seeking closure and understanding. Through forgiveness, she discovered the strength to turn her pain into purpose, channeling her experiences into advocacy work. Co-founding Women of Grace, an organization supporting FGM survivors, Valerie has helped numerous women reclaim their lives and speak out against this harmful practice.

Despite facing resistance and stigma, Valerie remains steadfast in her mission to eradicate FGM through education and awareness. As an ambassador for Healthwatch Essex and a speaker at international conferences, including the United Nations, she continues to amplify the voices of survivors and advocate for change.

Valerie’s story is one of resilience, courage, and determination. Despite enduring unimaginable pain and suffering, she refuses to be defined by her past, choosing instead to use her voice to empower others and bring an end to the cycle of violence and oppression inflicted by FGM.


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