I recently signed a petition which many other people did also regarding Female Genital Mutilation in India – FGM.
Thousands of girls in Dawoodi Bohra have been subjected to genital cutting as children since it has been ordained by the clergy of the community.
Women got together under the forum – ‘Speak out on FGM’ – to begin a conversation on this extremely secretive ritual which has caused physical and psychological damage to each of the victims.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) also known as ‘Khatna’ belongs to the Dawoodi Bohra community which has its major adherents in India.
The practice of FGM is done surreptiously and in a clandestine manner to all the girl children in the community, without any consent whatsoever. The alleged reason for this tradition is to curb the sexual drive of women and control them.
The Dawoodi Bohras are amongst the most educated in India, yet they are also the only Muslim community in India to practice FGM. The practice has nothing to do with religion and is more of a cultural practice.
I would like to join the voice and I hope this group would not object to this but it is here I have a point to voice.
These girls suggest the practice has nothing to do with religion and is more of a cultural practice and that it may be. But I have a point to raise; if it has been ordained by the clergy of the community then how can the voice of a clergy not be considered a religious voice. Separating the two – cultural and religion – I am willing to accept but to suggest a clergy voice cultural and not religious creates a paradox.
The practice of FGM is unacceptable – period.
FGM has no health benefits; in fact it harms girls and women in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and interferes with the natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies. FGM is often done without anaesthesia, without medical supervision and sometimes the procedure goes horribly wrong.
It often leads to pain, shock, tetanus, genital sores, excessive bleeding, etc. It also has long-lasting psychological impact on the victims, ranging from sexual disorders, and fear of sexual intimacy, nightmares and post traumatic stress disorder.
We urge the Government to pass a law banning this practice in India, such that anyone found involved in aiding, abetting and perpetrating this practice should be punished. Pressure of this law and fear of punishment will be the best way to put a stop to this cruel practice.
On behalf of these women the Dawoodi Bohra sisters I would like to help spread this information to the wider world.
Additionally, it should be recognized the origin of this practice and the root of this in India – the clergy. And equally I would like to distinguish the difference between culture and religion.