Cafe Dissensus, an alternative magazine about dissenting art, culture, literature and politics, has run a special May issue focusing solely on female genital cutting or khatna in the Dawoodi Bohra community. Guest-edited by Australian author Rashida Murphy, the FGC-special issue features fifteen essays and deeply personal stories by survivors of khatna and women who are driving the movement against the practice in the Bohra community.
In her editorial, Murphy writes about her own escape from the cut and a tense summer in which she had to guard her young daughter from relatives who were keen to have her cut. Masooma Ranalvi, who founded Speak Out on FGM, discusses the anatomy of an unprecedented movement in the Bohra community. Dilshad and Shaheeda Tavawalla provide a comprehensive history of the Bohra faith and the fight against khatna. The many personal narratives of women who underwent the blade – Zehra, Sherebanu, Sultana, Zarine, Saleha, Fatema – reveal how long-lasting the trauma of khatna can be.
The issue also features essays by various Sahiyo co-founders: Insia Dariwala speaks of survivor’s guilt and being “uncut“, Mariya Taher seeks to understand the burden of tradition, Aarefa Johari explores the relationship women have with their clitoris and in a joint essay, Mariya and Aarefa converse about the strength that survivors draw from each other.
Read the full Cafe Dissensus issue here.