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According to a recent UNICEF report, more than 200 million girls and women worldwide have been subjected to some form of female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C).Though Somalia and Guinea top the list with the highest percentage of girls and women who have received FGM/C — 98 percent, and 97 percent, respectively, of women between the ages of 15 to 49 — the practice has been recorded in at least 30 countries on three continents.Circumcision is a long-standing tradition in Islam dating back thousands of years to the time when the Prophet Abraham accepted the commandments of God and was asked to purify himself.This purification required him to cut his hair and his nails and to be circumcised, explained Fatima, a member of Dawoodi Bohra Women for Religious Freedom (DBWRF), a group of pro-khatna women who asked that her real name not be used for fear of reprisal in her community.Perhaps just as important, the Syedna, the community's spiritual leader, is a staunch proponent of the tradition.“Ultimately, the bottom line is that the practice exists because there’s a clear dictate from the Syedna. I like easy going person with good sense of humour. Read more Hey, I have done my Masters and am currently working with mnc as a executive. Read more Assalamwalekum, Here we are not for timepass...
But for some khatna supporters, it is not as simple as following the words of the religious leader alone.“There are many of us who do feel that boys, too, should not be cut without consent, but as women, our focus is on [FGM/C],” explained Aarefa Johari, a khatna survivor, activist and journalist.Thanks to a small group of Dawoodi Bohra women and anti-khatna activists who formed We Speak Out and Sahiyo, two support groups that give khatna survivors space to talk about their experiences, the secrecy around the procedure is beginning to dissipate.And, like so many before her, she too, was lured by women in her family with the promise of an outing for ice cream or a special treat.It only took a few minutes, but in that short time, Ranalvi was changed, as was her body.
“I was too small to question anyone about it, so I never really knew what happened to me that day,” she said.