This post deals with gender-based violence and might be triggering for some readers.
What is your purpose in life?
For Khadija Gbla, an award-winning human rights activist, keynote speaker and single mum, her purpose in life is to work on educating the world so no young girl has to experience what she did.
When Khadija was a little girl, she was forced to undergo an inhumane act: female genital mutilation.
Khadija was born in Sierra Leone and at the age of three, she and her family became refugees, settling in Gambia.
"It was at this place that my mum made the decision that I needed to be subjected to what is globally known as female genital mutilation (FGM). She took me to a remote part of Gambia and paid an older lady to use her knife to cut off my clitoris and labia minora lips: in the name of 'purity' and in the name of controlling my sexuality," she said on Mamamia's podcast Restart with Madeleine West.
Watch: An insight into female genital mutilation. Post continues below.
Reflecting on the archaic practice and the warped thinking behind it, Khadija says it all comes back to the patriarchy.
"To them, I am not deserving of having control over my body. The patriarchy decided that to be a good girl or good woman, they needed to have their genitals mutilated so men can have control over the woman's body. A woman's body is a commodity in some cultures because if you are a virgin then you get a larger dowry and you can get a 'better' partner to marry."
Listen to this episode of Restart - where Khadija is interviewed. Post continues after audio.
It wasn't until Khadija arrived in Australia as a refugee at the age of 13 in 2001, that she realised what had happened to her was not okay.