Our stories

Khatna or FGM/C has affected so many women in so many different ways. Hear their stories of discovery, pain, trauma, acceptance and activism.

Samina, India

I read an article about FGM being performed in the Bohra community five years ago, and came home furious at my mom for subjecting me to this brutal practice. I remember crying uncontrollably that night. My mother was quick to apologise (she had no real say in the house and didn't even know why was it done to her in the first place) but on the contrary, my best friend confirmed this procedure was done only for my betterment. These conflicting… Read more ›

Hanan, UK

A Mother's Daughter I write this piece as the daughter of an FGM survivor. I have been privileged to have been spared the knife, thanks to the tough stand taken by my mother, Tasneema, in making sure that I was not circumcised. All my cousins and peers my age in the community have had no such… Read more ›

Sakina, India

It began when one of my friends sent me an article written by Masooma Ranalvi. The memories of that fateful day that I had swept away under several layers came back with the minutest of details, still fresh in my mind. I cringed and thought, “Damn! Why did I read this right now?!” In the next few weeks that followed, I read more, discovered more and interacted with women who were strong and took a stand. I had now mustered the… Read more ›

Farzana Doctor, Canada

When I first heard about Bohra women speaking out against khatna, I thought, “these are my people!”. I’ve long been an activist around feminist/gender issues, but I’d never before met Bohra women in these movements, here in Toronto, where I live. I joined SpeakOut for political reasons, but as I learned more and more about khatna, I began to better understand its personal dimensions.  There is much within our… Read more ›

Saleha Paatwala, India

I am a journalist based in Mumbai. Rebellious since childhood, I have always opposed things which involved violence in any form. While pursuing masters, I came across a film on Female Genital Mutilation and realised how I was kept in the dark about the inhuman practice till then. Speak Out helps in bringing into focus those hidden issues which still prevail in the Bohra community. It is important to raise your voice to spread… Read more ›

Zehra Patwa, USA

In 2014, I saw a video that would change my life. My husband sat me down, told me that this was going to be upsetting and showed me a video that my father had sent to him. It was a documentary from Australia featuring one of my family members recounting her experience of being cut at the age of 7 in a dingy apartment in India by an old woman. Her telling of the story horrified me, which is the same reaction I have always had about… Read more ›

Masooma Ranalvi, India

I initiated the movement Speak Out On FGM in late 2015. The case against 3 Bohras in Australia hit home the realisation that FGM exists and is very much thriving in the Bohra community in India as well as overseas. I wrote a blog on NDTV.com which led many Bohra women to come forward and empathise with me. This gave me the impetus to start Speak Out On FGM, a platform for women to speak about their concerns, their issues and to campaign for… Read more ›

Alifya Sulemanji, USA

I, Alifya Sulemanji went through the atrocity of FGM. It's been 35 years but I haven't forgotten that day of my life till today. One morning, my mom told me we were going to visit my aunt who lives in Bhindi Bazaar (Mumbai) where many of the Bohras live. In the midst of the day my mom, aunt and her daughter (my cousin) told me that they were taking me somewhere to remove a worm from me. I was barely 7 years old then and didn't… Read more ›

Yasmin, India

I vividly remember being taken by my mom and probably my nani or another female relative, when I was seven, wearing a sky blue color frock (my fav) and white pants/pyjamas in some chawl in Bhendi Baazar (the Bohri moholla). I was very happy as I loved to meet new people. I was lying down, my frock was held up…then I don’t remember anything. Just that there was intense pain as I walked back and I was told to keep myself clean…you know,… Read more ›

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