This Guinean-born model did many extraordinary things in her life. She experienced genital mutilation as a child. She ran away to Europe to be a model, where she became a muse for Yves Saint Lauren. She used her fame and status to speak out against FGM.
She was found dead in the Seine river this past week.
While some will specualte that this was an assasination for her efforts against female circumcision, the common theory is merely that she fell in the river while intoxicated. She lived in a houseboat, where her purse was found. The autopsy did not suggest foul play.
This beautiful, soulful woman experienced FGM at age nine. She later wrote a book, dedicated to her three children, that described the whole ordeal. "Katoucha, In My Flesh" was published last year.
Katoucha, like many women I deeply admire, used her pain, her suffering and her truth to help other women. Rather than hiding in pain and shame she acted out against a horrible crime. For that she deserved better than a meek ending in a watery grave. Let her story encourage you to share your pain with someone it can heal.