Neneh Bojang says her life was has been destroyed by"cutting".

She was a nine-year-old in Gambia when she was taken without her family's knowledge to undergo the horrific cultural practice of having the sexual parts of her genitals cut off.

Although she survived - another girl died from severe blood loss - Ms Bojang, who moved to Edinburgh with her Scottish husband when she was 22, blames the lasting injury caused by the practice for the breakdown of her marriage because intercourse left her crying in agony.

Read more: Medics in Scotland treat over 200 cases of FGM in two years

She shared her story at the Shakti Women's Aid centre in Edinburgh during a visit by Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie, ahead of plans by the Scottish Government to beef up legislation to protect young women and girls from Female Genital Mutilation.

Ms Bojang, now 30, had been living with her father in Gambia when neighbour in their village dropped by, telling her grandmother that she was taking children to buy bread and offering to take Neneh as well.

Ms Bojang's grandmother was suspicious and refused to let her go.

But two days later, when the nine-year-old was home alone, the neighbour returned and asked Neneh if she wanted to come with her to the market.

The youngster went along but instead ended up in a building miles from home with other children and no idea what was about to happen.

Read more: Mother is first UK conviction under new FGM laws 

She said: "They asked the children to stand in a circle. I didn't know what was happening, but then they grabbed me by the arms and legs and pushed me to the ground. One of the ladies sat on my chest. I don't remember what happened next because I passed out.

"I remember waking up and I was bleeding heavily. For two days afterwards I was bleeding heavily and no doctor came.

"There are four types of FGM. I was type two - cutting off the clitoris and the inner lips. My family weren't told I was being cut - they didn't know where I was.

"A child passed away because she was bleeding so badly, and she was the only child that her mother had.

"We were kept in this building for six weeks, sleeping on concrete floors.

"After that they threw this big party for us - new clothes, food, music.That's all the other children see at the end of it. They don't know about the cutting. But they think 'I want a party like that'."

FGM is illegal in the UK, but continues to be routinely carried out on girls in parts of Africa, the Middle East and in some parts of Asia and South America.

In some cultures it is considered a rite of passage or a means of preserving women's virginity, and that women who have not undergone FGM are unhealthy, unclean or unworthy.

Read more: Male Tory MP's block on FGM bill 'appalling'

The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005 made it a criminal offence to have female genital mutilation carried out in Scotland, and in 2015 a legal loophole was closed to extend that protection to girls being taken abroad from the UK for FGM

The Scottish Government is now preparing to publish the Female Genital Mutilation Bill at the end of May which aims to strengthen existing legislation by introducing protection orders for women and girls at risk and place guidance for professionals on a statutory footing.

It is also consulting on a potential criminal penalty for failing to protect children from FGM and a legal duty to report FGM.

Ms Bojang, who has a seven-year-old son, says she has been spurned by many family members in Gambia for speaking out against the practice but does not want other young girls to suffer as she has.

"For me it's really important to speak out," she said. "When you speak out, that's when change happens. Otherwise it just keeps continuing. By speaking out, if I can save just one child for me that's good enough. If I can save more than that, it's even better.

"FGM caused me to lose my marriage. I'm a single mother now.

"And every school holiday, there are children who think they're going on holiday but they're going to be cut."

Ms McKelvie said she hoped by strengthening the law, no girls from Scotland will endure the abuse.

She added: "Neneh's story is absolutely compelling. I said to her I felt privileged to hear it. That may sound like a cliche, but it's not.

"The type of topic we're discussing here, FGM, is something that's very hidden, very personal, obviously very intimate.

"So for her to speak so honestly about the raw impact it had on her, that was incredibly powerful for me to hear.

"Her words will sit in my head now for the whole process of bringing this Bill."