‘I deeply resented what was done to my most intimate parts without my permission’

Age: 64

Country: United States

(Read the Hindi translation of this article here.)

It’s time to take a stand against Female Genital Mutilation. It’s long overdue. It wasn’t right when my mother went through it (I assume she did but I never asked her about it), it wasn’t right when I went through it and it wasn’t right when I put my daughter through it (under pressure from my parents).

I have a hazy recollection of the day the FGM was performed on me back in India. I was approximately six or seven years old. My brother, who was older than me, was sent away for the day to play at a friend’s house. A lady, who I’d never seen before, came over and I was taken to my parents’ bedroom where the FGM was performed.

I seem to have blocked the uncomfortable memory of that event and day – except for that image of the lady and my mom holding me down. I’m not sure what explanation was given to me about the reason why this had to be done. I remember deeply resenting what was done to the most intimate part of my body without my permission – akin to being violated. Most of all, I resent the fact that the person whom I trusted the most in life at that young age, allowed it to happen. Maybe, that is why, there is a part of me that cannot forgive my mom and I am amazed that my daughter has forgiven me for doing the exact same thing that I resented being done to me.

FGM is an insidious custom using the cloak of religion to appear correct. It’s only a matter of time when the untiring work of organizations like Sahiyo will stop this barbaric tradition rooted in a twisted interpretation of Islamic traditions. Till the Syedna denounces FGM, and puts his words into action, I will be ashamed to call myself a Dawoodi Bohra.

(Cover photo courtesy: ‘A Pinch of Skin’)

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