Today I’m talking to a brave and determined young woman who’s speaking out against her culture and looking to make a change in her community.
Fatu was born in Sierra Leone. As a young girl, she was subjected to a cruel and brutal practice called Female genital mutilation (FGM) also known as female genital cutting or the somehow innocent sounding female circumcision.
This is by no means similar to male circumcision. FGM is the ritual removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. It involves the total removal of the clitoris and the narrowing of the vaginal opening through stitching or cutting and repositioning the labia minora or labia majora. The practice has no health benefits whatsoever. In fact, it harms girls and women in many ways and sometimes it leads to death.
It is one of the most extreme forms of violence against girls and women across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The practice has also been found around the western world, in countries such as Australia, UK, USA, Canada etc. It is estimated that more than 200 million young girls and women around the globe have been mutilated and are living in immense physical and psychological pain.
Soness Stevens is the Head Speaker Coach for multiple TEDx events and has coached over 109 TED & TEDx speakers. She represented Japan for TED Worldwide, spoke at TEDxFukuoka and TEDxWasedaU.
Soness has a weekly nationwide broadcast TV show on communications and is an Associate Professor of business presentation skills at YNU. You may have seen her on NHK TV and Fox TV Japan, or heard her as the official English voice of Hello Kitty. She lives near the beach and practices Zazen Meditation at her local temple in Japan.
I’m so grateful to have Soness Stevens on the show and I’m so thankful for her willingness to share with us her intimate and very personal life journey living with a mother who was suffering from mental illness.
For a good half of her young life she lived in a car with her mother and brother. They were constantly on the move, running from landlords because her mother didn’t have a job and could not afford to pay rent. Despite growing up in such a difficult circumstance, drifting from place to place, Soness went on and became a beautiful, positive and successful individual. Her ability to see life in colours as a child is truly inspiring!
When we have a problem, we are always looking for a way to solve that problem. The trouble with this approach is that energy flows where attention goes – so if we’re not careful and conscious we can end up having all our energy sucked up in experiencing the problem, rather than finding a solution.
When we dwell on the negatives, we attract negatives, sapping our energy and strength in the process.
So be careful what you’re focusing on every day. Make sure you focus on the positive things that you want and not on your problems.
Today I’m talking to a fine young lady on this very subject. Savannah will explain how to get rid of the negative thinking, attract good energy and bring what we truly desire into our lives.
If you’re tired of living under a perpetual rain cloud, listen to our conversation.
My guest for today’s episode is one of the most humble and grateful beings I have ever met.
Deng Adut was snatched from his mother’s arms when he was just six years old. He was forced to fight for the South Sudanese rebels as a child. After several years of fighting, by chance, he ran into one of his relatives and was smuggled out of the country. He immigrated to Australia as a teenager where he taught himself how to read, write and speak English. He earned a scholarship with the Western Sydney University and went on to become a defence Lawyer, refugee advocate and an author.
You are all invited to my friend Deng’s book launch on the 26th October 7pm at Kinokuniya bookstore in Sydney. Please come and join us.
Resources and Links:
Watch the short and powerful video which brought Deng’s story to mainstream attention
Claire Ashman spent most of her life unwillingly in different cults. Almost four decades later she woke up to reality and walked away from the only environment she had known. She left the cult, her husband and raised eight children on her own. She spent years of soul searching and professional counseling to get her life back on track. Today, Claire is an aspiring author and an anti-cult activist. She travels around Australia sharing her life journey and helping others in similar circumstances to deal with the challenge.