Voices Series: Why I still speak up about FGM/C

This blog is part of a series of reflective essays by participants of the Voices to End FGM/C workshops run by Sahiyo and StoryCenter. Through residential and online workshops on digital storytelling, Voices to End FGM/C enables those who have been affected by female genital mutilation/cutting to tell their stories through their own perspectives, in their own words.

By Zenab Banu

I am involved in the movement to end female genital cutting (FGC) since I came to understand its impact on my married life. We had discussed the problem in 1987 in an All World Bohra Women’s Conference which was organized by the Bohra Youth Girls’ Wing in Udaipur. Sadly, the resolution that passed was not followed up. But I continued speaking up. I feel FGC should end because the rights of personal choice of a girl child and her bodily integrity have been violated without much concern by the society.

I have also attended the second Activist Retreat organized by Sahiyo, which took place in Mumbai where participants from various parts of India attended the retreat. It was a very good experience in meeting like-minded people and having long discussions, as well as learning different perspectives and ways to end the practice.

Later, when I got the opportunity to be part of Global Voices to End FGM/C, a storytelling project by Sahiyo together with StoryCenter, I was very much excited to be part of it. I really enjoyed the process of writing, recording and creating visuals of my story, though a lot of memories were triggered during the process, and I became emotional. 

My overall experience of the workshop was good. But think it would be more exciting if we could meet in person with other participants, rather than doing it virtually.

I feel that the We Speak Out group and Sahiyo are doing great work in raising awareness on the issue. I hope the movement ignites awareness, consciousness and creates public opinion among society in general and women in particular.

With this hope I have joined Sahiyo’s campaign against FGC. I have shared my own story of cutting, and I hope that more women will come out and share their stories and support to end FGC.

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