She Ran From the Cut, and Helped Thousands of Other Girls Escape, Too

Nice Leng’ete started a program in Kenya to create new rites of passage to replace female genital cutting, and has saved 50,000 girls from the agonizing and controversial procedure.

LENKISEM, Kenya — The first time cutting season came around, Nice Leng’ete and her older sister ran away and hid all night in a tree. The second time, her sister refused to hide.For Maasai families, the cutting ceremony is a celebration that transforms girls into women and marks daughters as eligible brides. But to 8-year-old Nice, it seemed like a threat: She’d be held down by bigger, stronger women, and her clitoris would be cut. She’d bleed, a lot. Most girls fainted. Some died.Still, her ...