Dec 7: Join our Twitter chat on Type 1 Female Genital Cutting in Asia

Female Genital Cutting is practiced in many different ways, some less severe than others. But is a woman’s experience of such a ritual any less significant if the cutting was “mild”?

Love Matters India and Sahiyo would love to discuss this question – and many others – with all of you in a Twitter Chat on Wednesday, December 7, 2016.

Timings: The Twitter Chat begins at

  • 7.30 pm IST (India and Sri Lanka)
  • 9 am EST (US east coast)
  • 4 pm in Egypt
  • 10 pm in Singapore and Malaysia

Here is how you can participate:

  • Log into your Twitter account (or make one, if you are not on Twitter yet!)
  • Follow the handles @lovemattersinfo and @sahiyo2016
  • Respond to our questions and tweets about Type I FGC
  • Remember to use the hashtag #NoMoreKhatna in all your tweets!

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Why this discussion is important: According to United Nations statistics, at least 200 million girls from 30 countries around the world have been subjected to Female Genital Cutting / Mutilation (FGC/M), a practice that involves cutting away varying degrees of the female genitalia.

The World Health Organisation classifies FGC into four types, depending on how severe the cut is. For decades, activists, researchers, funders and the media have focused mainly on Types II and III, the most severe forms of genital cutting.

Type I, however, has often been overlooked. This form involves cutting the clitoral hood, and/or part or all of the clitoris, and it is prevalent in a number of Asian communities, including the Dawoodi Bohras and Malay Muslims. All too often, concerns about this “mild” form genital cutting are dismissed as overreactions. “It is just a small nick, a small slice of skin,” we are told. “It is not the same as the mutilation done in Africa,” they say.

We believe it is time to re-examine these notions about Type I FGC, to give voice to those who have been affected and to recognise that even the least severe genital cuts are still a form of gender violence.

And as a prequel to the Twitter Chat, do watch this video by Love Matters India and director Priya Goswami, featuring Bohra voices of resistance to Type I FGC:

#NoMoreKhatna: Highlights from Sahiyo’s animated Twitter chat on FGC

On July 7, 2016, we at Sahiyo hosted our first Twitter chat on Female Genital Cutting (FGC) from our Twitter handle, @sahiyo2016.

The need for an online debate on this subject evolved for various reasons. For the past several months, Dawoodi Bohras on social media have been increasingly vocal about their varied views on female khatna. Then in May, a 17-year-old girl died in Egypt because of excessive bleeding caused by circumcision – a tragic reminder of the dangers of FGC even among cultures not known to practice severe forms of cutting. Finally, the controversy over khatna intensified in June, when prestigious news magazine The Economist published a shocking, irresponsible editorial advocating for the allowance of milder, medicalised forms of FGC.

Bohras, who predominantly practice Type 1 FGC – removal of the clitoral hood – were clearly divided on this issue and the time seemed ripe to have a debate on khatna on a platform as public and democratic as Twitter.

We used the hashtag #NoMoreKhatna for the Twitter chat, inviting anyone and everyone to participate – and overall, we can say that the chat was a success. A large number of individuals and prominent organisations joined in to make their voices heard, and we are thankful to all of them.

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Most importantly, the chat included the voices of several Dawoodi Bohras who believe khatna must be practiced. Many of them took the trouble of creating new Twitter accounts to participate in this discussion, and their voices helped to showcase the challenges involved in changing social norms around khatna.

We began the chat with a set of basic questions: What is FGC? What are its types? What have you experienced or heard about Bohra khatna? What are the health consequences of FGC? The responses that emerged also led to other discussions.

We asked participants about the reasons given for the practice of FGC, and multiple points were brought up.

Unsurprisingly, the question of whether milder forms of FGC should be allowed – whether the practice should be treated as a medical procedure – sparked animated debate on the Twitter chat.

Another controversial aspect of the debate, of course, is the matter of a child’s consent and whether parents have the right to decide whether their daughter should be cut.

While these tweets are just excerpts from a much larger Twitter discussion held on July 7, you can read more about how the chat went by going through Sahiyo’s Twitter handle (@sahiyo2016) and the hashtag #NoMoreKhatna.

The chat helped us understand the challenges that lie ahead for all the women and men working to bring an end to khatna: even though any form of female genital cutting is non-consensual and a violation of a child’s universal human rights, the practice is steeped in faith and religion and there is a danger of khatna becoming medicalised in the Dawoodi Bohra community.

Fortunately, the Twitter discussion did not end after the two hours scheduled for the chat – it is encouraging to see that the debate continues even today!

To see the entire Twitter conversation on Storify, click here – https://storify.com/sahiyo2015/getting-started