Voices against the practice of female genital cutting in the Bohra community seem to be getting louder and more numerous. The latest to speak out is an anonymous Bohra woman from the United Kingdom who was subjected to khatna as a child and remembers it as a traumatic incident. She has now launched a petition under the pseudonym “Luv Shabbir”, asking Nicky Morgan, a Member of Parliament in the UK, to do more to stop Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the Bohra community.
This is the third online petition started by women from within the community to demand a ban on khatna for girls. The first was by the anonymous ‘Tasleem’ in 2011; the second, ongoing petition by 17 women from ‘Speak Out on FGM’ has already gained almost 30,000 supporters. Both these petitions emerged from India, where there is no law against female genital cutting and where Bohras are the only known group following the practice.
In the United Kingdom, where several expat communities from Africa, the Middle-East and Asia follow various forms of FGC, the practice has been illegal since 1985. In recent years, the British government ahs been making concerted efforts to crack down on the practice. In this context, this latest petition by “Luv Shabbir” is indicative of two things: One, there is a growing desire among Bohra women to break the silence aroudn khatna and speak out against it. Two, even in countries where there are laws against FGC, we have a long way to go before the practice meets its end.
To support the UK petition, sign here.