Nurse Practitioner and Owner of KP Aesthetics in Hale, Khatra Paterson, 52, has over 26 years of medical experience having trained as a nurse and midwife with the NHS before specialising in medical aesthetics.
A mother of 2 and loving wife, Khatra loves to spend time with her family. Having overcome many adversities in her earlier years Khatra now campaigns to raise awareness, educate and inspire the fight against FGM. A true inspiration and ambassador for Savera UK. Khatra also walked The Great Wall of China in September 2019 to raise money for women’s charities. By sharing her journey she educates and empowers others, not just a survivor Khatra is a warrior.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I’m a mum of 2 boys Harris 14yrs old and Morgan who is 21 and a wife to my amazingly supportive husband Brian.
I’ve had a successful career as a nurse, midwife and health visitor and now I’m a director and owner of a medical aesthetic business in the leafy suburbs of Cheshire.
However my childhood and teenage years was a far cry from the life I have now, brought up in a fearful environment due to an abusive father. Violence is what I saw from a very early age and then further abuse at the age of 10 when I was forcibly subjected to female genital mutilation apparently for ‘cultural reasons’. The FGM I found hard to deal with mentally as this was performed without consent and by force, parts of my anatomy removed without anaesthetic.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
The only plan I had is that I needed to get away from the struggles of poverty and the defined role for young Somali girls which was, marry young and bear plenty of children. I was 1 of 7 siblings and the oldest. My mother was very strict with me and I had to help at home with domestic chores and with the care of my younger brothers and sisters.
I wasn’t academic, I suffered from dyslexia. I found school hard but I knew education was my ticket to get out.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
My biggest challenge to date has been to reconnect with a young Khatra that suffered a lot of abuse and trauma. Growing up I couldn’t make sense of why any culture would torture young girls and oppress there sexuality. The emotional and mental pain of this would sometimes be too much that I eventually had to detach myself from young Khatra and put her in a box in order to fit in and appear normal. Growing up my younger years became a blur, I have no photos to remind me of the sadness of my existence.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
I’ve had to overcome many obstacles to get to the place I am in my career. Challenges that my dyslexia presented, I found that I had to work harder than anyone else at university, I always had a fear of failing so I would throw myself at anything I wanted to succeed at. My skin colour has also been a barrier in my workplace where I’ve not been able to secure certain positions I’ve applied for.
Sadly leaving the NHS was due to discrimination when my application for being part of a working group for FGM in my trust was given to man who had no cultural understanding or sensitivity to the control and abuse of female sexuality.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
Determination, I never wanted my upbringing and my struggles to define me, however I do believe that these struggles have also motivated me to be where I am today.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I have never mentored, but I guess I’m seen as a role model and I’ve been called inspirational. I’ve never really seen myself as inspirational as my life is just that, my life, my reality, my struggles, my achievements.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?
It should become the societal normal that both parents, father and mother are equally responsible for bringing up their children. This should be taught to young boys at home and at school. Boys should see their own fathers are role models for parenting. Current society’s expectation that girls will take the main responsibility for bringing up children massively reduces their opportunities.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Believe in yourself, don’t let the voice of doubt get in the way of your achievements. Despite my achievements I’ve always been filled with self doubt and feared any failures.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I am in the process of moving my clinic to a bigger premises, expanding my team and the treatments that we offer. It’s a very exciting project, lot’s of work to do however this is my next goal and I will embrace any challenges that may arise. I will continue to share my personal journey to educate and inspire other women.
It’s been a very difficult year for many and I hope that people can feel empowered by my story and know that they too can get through even the darkest of times.
As a proud ambassador for Savera UK I will continue to work alongside this incredible charity, raising awareness and speaking out for those whose voices are sadly often not heard.
In order to raise awareness I have been invited to talk at Health Professional conferences and schools to educate. Plans for this have been placed on hold due to covid restrictions however I am keen to get started on this as soon as safely possible.