Tuesday, September 19 2017, 08:52:01
  • fatasstic
  • fatasstic
  • She Says


  • IWB Post
  •  May 27, 2014


“When I was around 7 my grandmother took me on an outing. We went to a dingy building. The women there told me to take my panties off. Then all the women, including my grandmother, pinned my arms and legs down. One of the women took a blade and began cutting me down there. I screamed in terror and pain”.

This is Tasleem’s real story. She belongs to the Dawoodi Bohra community where this practice ‘Khatna’ is a custom.

FGM – Female genital mutilation/circumcision – is practiced as a cultural ritual by ethnic groups in 27 countries of sub-Saharan and Northeast Africa, and to a lesser extent in Asia, the Middle East and within immigrant communities elsewhere. Painful enough, many times it is done without anesthesia using a knife or razor by the traditional circumciser. The age of the girls varies from weeks after birth to puberty; in half the countries for which figures were available in 2013, most girls were cut before the age of five.

The World Health Organization defines FGM as ‘all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genital organs for non-medicinal reasons’.

Survey reveals approximately 100-140 million African women have undergone FGM worldwide and each year a further 3 million girls are estimated to be at its risk in Africa alone. Most of them live in African countries, a few in the Middle East and Asian countries, and increasingly in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America and Canada. In India it is widely practiced by the Dawoodi Bohra community, a sect of the Shia-Muslims who are led by the Syedna. Locally termed as ‘Khatna’, this practice has no medical justification at all.

Why is it done?

The reason can be family honor, increasing sexual pleasure for the male, enhancing fertility, social acceptance (especially for marriage) and preservation of virginity/chastity.

Consequences of FGM:

Depending on the degree of mutilation, FGM can cause severe pain and shock; uterus, vaginal and pelvic infections, complications in pregnancy and childbirth, sexual dysfunction, difficulties in menstruation and psychological damages among many consequences. In addition to these, there are considerable psychosexual, psychological and social consequences too.

Laws for FGM:

Majority believes that this ritual should be stopped as the humanity does not allow such inhuman deeds. However, Law for FGM in India has yet to be adopted unlike around the globe where it is strictly prohibited.

Human Rights Efforts:

FGM violates human rights conventions that protect women and children from cruelty and violence and ensure them “bodily integrity” and access to health care, education, and self-realization. Some of these conventions are:

  1. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
  2. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1959)
  3. The African Charter on Rights and Welfare of the Child (1990)
  4. The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1992)
  5. The United Nations Declaration on Violence Against Women (1993)
  6. The World Conference on Human Rights, Declaration and Programme of Action, Vienna (1993)
  7. The United Nations High Commission on Refugees, Statement against Gender-Based Violence (1996).

UN Chief on FGM, Feb 07, 2014: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for ending FGM. In his message on the International Day of Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C), which annually falls on Feb 6, Ban urged a complete end to the practice to ensure the “dignity, health and well-being” of every girl. He said: “Just because a harmful practice has long existed does not justify its continuation. All ‘traditions’ that demean, dehumanize and injure are human rights violations that must be actively opposed until they are ended.” He noted that there is no developmental, religious or health reason to cut or mutilate any girl or woman.

Many countries banned FGM but sadly, few communities still practice it. Many times, it is women unaware of their rights, commit the heinous crimes against women. Women are forced to prevent the misogynistic patriarchal system from becoming extinct. JWB wishes they could just say, ‘We have enough! We’re not going to live in an anti-women system anymore!’ If women’s non-cooperation movement really starts, misogynist monsters will definitely be scared. We are hoping for the change to start from YOU!


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