Last night’s episode of The Real Housewives of Dubai put viewers through a wide range of emotions.
The show’s end was a tear-jerker as Chanel Ayan shared her story with a therapist after being encouraged by her friend and costar, Sara Al Madani.
The supermodel fought back the tears when the therapist asked Chanel to recall any significant events from five to 12 years old.
Trigger warning: This article discusses sensitive subject matter about female genital mutilation
She revealed that her aunt and grandmother came to get her and her sister and took her to their house. She said they had amazing food and were very happy.
However, they took her and her sister to a stranger’s home the next night. She was tied up on a bed as a man proceeded to circumcise her and excruciatingly sew up her genitals against her will.
Chanel Ayan broke down explaining her experience undergoing forced genital mutilation at age five
Chanel broke down as she explained the torture and horror she went through as she was in pain for a long time, even losing sensation in her legs at one point.
She even said that when she got married, she had surgery to open up her vagina, which had been sewn shut.
The psychologist and Sara were visibly shaken up as they listened to Chanel recount the pain she went through at just five years old.
Chanel, who is of Somali and Ethiopian descent, said in her confessional that she is sharing her story to raise awareness about these deadly practices. She said, “It’s torture and abuse.”
Fans took to social media to express sympathy and outrage amidst Chanel’s revelations
Lesa Milan, Chanel’s best friend and costar, took to social media to shower her friend with love and support.
She wrote, “I’m so proud of u @chanelayan for being brave enough to share your story and raise awareness for Female Genital Mutilation. We’ve had many conversations about this over the years & I can’t wait for you to be the change and force behind putting an end to this. My #SHERO.”
Many fans took to social media to shower Chanel with love, support, and kind words.
One viewer echoed what many fans were saying as she wrote, “Ayan I am sending you so much love and so much positivity. To go through all that and then to climb to the top of your field after all that adversity, is commendable. I have chills.”
Chanel Ayan is raising awareness against Female Genital Mutilation
Chanel Ayan took to Twitter and shared this powerful message, “By telling my story and spreading awareness, I have taken my power back and I’m no longer a victim and I want to fight against [Female Genital Mutilation].”
Chanel exclusively told E! News after the episode aired, “I am a survivor!”
She said, “I felt that I was utterly betrayed by my culture and my family. This is just a barbaric practice, and it shouldn’t be happening to young girls. It happened to me 35 years ago and I’ve never gotten over it.”
Chanel explained, “In my culture, it’s done to keep women virgins.”
The Real Housewives of Dubai star added, “This is practiced in over 28 African countries, the Middle East, Syria, Yemen,” she continued. “Even in America, I have cousins and family that still find ways to do it.”
The supermodel admitted, “I think the trauma is something that I will live with for the rest of my life.”
Chanel said she wants to use her platform to bring awareness to this human rights issue. She said she feels it’s her purpose.
She added, “This is why I want to talk about it because I honestly don’t want this to happen to anyone because I know exactly how it feels and it’s not good. A lot of girls get depressed, hormones are imbalanced, a lot of young girls die.”
Chanel started her own makeup line, Ayan Beauty, to raise money to help stop this devastating practice.
For more information on how to stop female genital mutilation, visit the World Health Organization’s official website.
The Real Housewives of Dubai airs Wednesday at 9/8c on Bravo.