Each One, Reach One

 

In partnership with Sahiyo, Speak Out on FGM launched the month-long Each One Reach One Campaign on February 6th 2016, to coincide with the UN's International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. Its goals were to raise awareness about FGM through sharing stories about experiences with khatna, and therefore, reduce the silence and stigma to related to these discussions.

"Hafeeza was quiet when I started talking to her about khatna, she was listening to me intently as I described to her my own experience and the way it stayed with me all through my life as a dark memory. At first, I told her it was very uncomfortable talking about my experience to anyone, even my sisters, friends. It was like this shameful thing which had happened and which I should never reveal to anyone. She nodded her head in agreement. Then she spoke, softly and calmly. She told me that she still shivers at the thought of the pain she underwent the day she had her khatna. Even as she was speaking I saw goosebumps on her skin and she started to shiver. She narrated to me how she felt this everytime she saw blood. She felt good that women were finally speaking out against the practice. She is a young girl, just passed out of college and in her first job. She is one of the many women who will sound the death knell to this practice in our community."

"The conversation with Tasneem, my mother's cousin, started off from an extreme position. "Apni shariat ma che to karavu pade" - it's an obligation in our community, we must do it. We talked about why it matters to talk about something that may not have had a negative effect on you personally but had on others, we talked about the reasons khatna is done, we talked about girls being told never to talk about khatna with anyone, we talked about the potential physical and psychological effects of being cut, we talked about a woman's right to her own body, we talked about a woman's right to enjoy sex. By the end of the hour, Tasneem had decided that khatna was unnecessary and should not be done going forward. She admitted that she had never thought to ask anything about it because Bohras, especially Bohra women, are taught not to question anything. I felt a small flash of pride that I had brought an awareness to someone who had never questioned her role as a woman in the Bohra community."

The campaign was widely covered in the media, including in the following articles:

Hindustan Times

Times of India

India Today

The Quint

Indians 4 Social Change

Girls Globe

Internet Rights

Deccan Chronicle

NDTV

 

WeSpeakOut: For Women's Rights