In an interview, she explained that her husband Christopher was instrumental in helping her deal with the trauma of her past and gave her the courage to share her story with the world.
"My husband supported me and loved me for who I am," revealed Ayan. "This helped me get to where I am, to be able to open up about being circumcised and raising awareness about this issue."
During an episode of RHODubai, she recalled the painful memory with co-star Dr. Sara Al-Madani after keeping the secret for most of her life.
"We were tied in the legs," Ayan told the therapist while holding her co-star's hand. "Couldn't pee. Couldn't move. When we needed to pee, they would carry us and put us on the grass. I just didn't understand what the hell was going on whatsoever and my mom didn't know that that was happening to us."
From the beginning of her relationship with her husband, Ayan was open about her upbringing in Kenya. She said he accepted her for who she was.
"He's an American guy, he's going to college, and I'm a young girl and he wants kiss and stuff," Chanel, who was a virgin at the time they first started dating, said. "It was very awkward for me to understand."
"I had to sit him down and talk to him about it," she continued. "He's never heard of it. Of course, he was very shocked. He didn't understand it, but he loved me and just made me feel comfortable about it. I just kept on being around him and being comfortable, and after, [he] just never talked about it."
Her husband's family was unaware of her past until the show aired.
"His family is going to be probably shocked because they've never heard me talk," explains Ayan, who has since been medically treated for her genital mutilation. "Nobody has ever heard me talk about it. It wasn't a plan for me to do it. I was so embarrassed my whole entire life. I never slept."
She also had to consider the effects on her son, 16-year-old Taj, when she planned to share her story.
"I'm worried because my son is a teenager," said Ayan. "He looks proud of me when I'm talking. He sees I'm saying something amazing that I want to bring awareness into this, but also I'm worried. He's a kid. Nobody understands this from his generation."
Because female genital mutilation is still a common practice around the world, Ayan hopes that her story can offer hope to other girls who share the same experience.
"Yes, I am a victim, but I have my power now because I talked about it," she explained. "I feel like saying it [helps me] to get me my power back and confidence that I've always lost in it with my body and things like that."