Before sharing your khatna story, consider country’s own legislation against FGC

Recently, a Sahiyo Volunteer asked us a very important question regarding sharing your khatna story and potential legal ramifications against a family. We always find it tremendously encouraging and inspiring for all those who do share their khatna story with us, but at Sahiyo we want those who share their stories to be made aware of any potential legal ramifications for sharing your story publicly.

This information is in no way given to discourage you from sharing your story, and you should alway consult with a lawyer to gain more specific legal advice on this issue. However, at Sahiyo, our organization does seek to be transparent and honest with all those who connect with us.

Could identifying as a Bohri who has been cut thru social media or media potentially lead to legal ramifications for family or friends who live in a country where FGC has been outlawed, and that country suddenly decides to crack down on it?


For more information on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting Resources listed by Country where it is known to be an indigenous practice or by populations of refugees/immigrants  – See more at


For more information, please refer to Dilshad Tavawalla’s blog post on Female Genital Mutilation or Khafd/Khafz or Khatna and Canadian Laws.

You can also visit Ontario Human Rights Commission – FGM in Canada


This is not a simple question. It will depend on

1) If a person was cut in 1995, then it was not a crime in the U.S. or any state because the federal law against FGM/C was passed and went into effect in 1996.

2) If the person was cut in 1997, but outside the U.S., the federal law was in effect, but only for FGM/C committed in the United States. Very few states had laws that early on to bring an FGM/C case.

3) If the person was transported from  U.S. soil for the purposes of being cut and was cut abroad on or after November 2013, then the vacation cutting provision applies.

4) There is also the issue of statute of limitations. How long after the cutting can a criminal or civil case be brought under federal or state law? Is the Statute of Limitation “tolled” (put on hold or frozen) until the 18th birthday and then starts running? If yes, how long after the 18th birthday does the person or prosecutors have?

5) The federal law applies to both children and adults within its jurisdiction. The person who underwent FGM/C or someone legally allowed to act on their behalf would have to bring the charge or bring it to the attention of authorities who would bring the charge. That legal person could be a parent, guardian or court-appointed advocate.

If you are concerned, ask the participants when and where the cutting took place to see if it was illegal in the United States. That’s a start. For more information, please refer to Equality Now’s Fact Sheet – Female Genital Mutilation in the United States

Disclaimer: No Legal Advice Intended.

This blog includes general information and may reference topics on legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal issues problems.

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