Country: United States
I am a 26-year-old Indian female born and raised in the United States. I come from a Dawoodi Bohra family. I only recently found out about khatna, or female genital cutting, when my cousin exposed me to the issue. It came as a shock to find out that this practice had happened to many of the women in my family.
I was overcome with horror and sadness at learning that information. I wondered why khatna hadn’t happened to me. After all, I went to India so many times as a child and stayed with my mother’s family, who supported this practice. Wanting to learn more about it, I decided to reach out to my mother.
My mother told me that at the time it was a very common practice and they all had it done. She also told me that she didn’t know why it was performed. She told me she was mad when it happened to her because it hurt her, but she was not mad at her mother. Her mother didn’t know any better, my mother said, it was tradition and no one questioned it.
My mother went on to tell me that the reason it did not happen to me was because my father was against it, and would not allow it to be done to me. I feel extremely lucky to have such a progressive father, who did not support this practice. But knowing that this has happened to my cousins, in India, and in America, is heartbreaking.
I am in full support of my family members speaking out against the practice and letting the world know that this is not right and should not occur anymore.