What is Khatna in the Bohra Community?

In the Bohra community, khatna is equivalent to Type 1 or Type 4 FGM as classified by the World Health Organization.

The actual practice, as described in the Bohra religious texts, is the removal of the prepuce tissue from the clitoris. This piece of tissue is sometimes termed “haram ki boti”, meaning “immoral lump of flesh”. The prepuce tissue is a covering that protects the clitoris from abrasion so its removal can render the woman oversensitive during intercourse.

Benefits of khatna

  • No health or medical benefits
  • The World Health Organization on FGM/C categorically mentions; "No health benefits, only harm - FGM has no health benefits, and 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. Generally speaking, risks increase with increasing severity of the procedure."

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Adverse Effects of khatna

  • Physical harms – severe pain, excessive bleeding, fever, infections, urinary tract issues, pain during sexual intercourse, reduced sexual pleasure, unnecessary difficulties in childbirth
  • Emotional harms – post traumatic stress, anxiety, depression
  • In extreme cases, can even cause death due to botched cutting or bleeding issues
  • Violates the basic human rights of girls and women
  • The emotional and mental scars that are left with the women can last a lifetime and cause strain on other aspects of life

Benefits of not doing khatna

  • Increased mental health and well-being
  • Normal and healthy reproductive health outcomes – such as healing post-birth
  • Reduced rates of trauma
  • Improved empowerment and control over one’s body
  • Increased number of empowered and healthier Bohra women
  • Increased number of Bohra men and women able to enjoy intimacy in their marriages