The secret world of women against women – Female genital mutilation

 Imagine being taken to a room in a dark decrepit building. Imagine seeing a knife heated on the gas stove, and the next thing you know is your clitoris has been sliced with the same hot knife. This is what the cruel practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) looks like. Young girls shriek in pain every single day, and not just in Africa, but all over the world.

The cases of female genital mutilation is an underground human rights abuse that has been going on for far too long without any light being shed. These cases have been deliberately concealed under the false practices of traditions and beliefs.

Female genital mutilation includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The practice of FGM involves cutting away the clitoris, inner labia, and outer labia. As per the World Health Organization, more than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated.

‘It is a tale from the past’ said the ones who either practice this unethical custom or are completely blinded. Recent cases have been reported concerning girls with their genitals cut off. Federal officials arrested two Muslim women who drove from their Minnesota homes to Detroit to subject their seven-year-old daughters to the horrific practice of female genital mutilation, or female circumcision, an act explicitly illegal in the U.S.. 

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Haseena Halfal, 34, of Plymouth, Minnesota, and Zainab Hariyanawala, 31, both women, are members of a Muslim sect based in India known as the Dawoodi Bohra. Also indicted by federal officials was Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, who with others has subjected as many as 100 girls to FGM in over a decade’s time.

Dan Homstad, Halfal’s attorney, said “this is a very complex case and there are a lot of cultural issues at play that the community (Dawoodi Bohra) up here is struggling with” pinning it on the spiritual significance of it to the community at large. A large majority of Bohras have consistently claimed that they cut their daughters genitals either to moderate their sexual desires, or to unquestioningly follow a religious tradition.

In fact, several Bohras refer to the clitoris as “haraam ni boti” or sinful lump of flesh. A research study of 385 Bohra women by members of the Sahiyo project, also found the same thing: the majority of respondents claimed that FGM is done as a tradition or to curb sexual desire, and very few Bohras cited “hygiene”, “medical benefits” or “increasing sexual pleasure” as reasons for practicing Khatna. 

In complete contrast however, the World Health Organization states that the procedure has absolutely no health benefits for girls and women. The facts on the matter state that these procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, wounds. And also, complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths. Despite the horrors of all of the aforementioned, this act still takes place owing to the cultural baggage and traditional significance of it, with a larger aim of repressed sexual desire and encouraging fidelity.

The secrecy of closed communities like Dawoodi Bohra, and female genital mutilation comes wrapped in deceit and betrayal along with a grave form of abuse on young minds and bodies. Horrendous practices like these should be shunned and must come to an end immediately for the betterment of the world.


Written By: Eesha


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