If you have been reading up about Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation, you have probably come across the 200 million figure. It’s a statistic from the United Nations: at least 200 million girls in 30 countries around the world have been subjected to the practice of FGC/M, a ritual 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. And 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 has often been overlooked. This form of FGC 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 Bohra community.
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.
In this video, we are here to say, “No More”. No more shall we brush aside the varied experiences of thousands of women across Asia or of Asian descent who were cut against their will. No more shall we allow “mild” genital cutting to be condoned because it is “not as bad” as the more severe forms. We shall speak, because even this least severe type of cut is a form of gender violence, and our girls should never be cut at all.
This video, produced by Love Matters India and Sahiyo, is an attempt to give voice to the multitude of experiences associated with Type I FGC. It is also an attempt to acknowledge the complexities and limitations of language – the dilemma of labelling people as “victims” or “survivors”.
The women and men featured in the video include, among others, Sahiyo’s co-founders and a father-daughter duo – Abbas and Saleha Paatwala – who want a better future for the next generation of Dawoodi Bohras.
Do watch and share the video, and join the global movement to help us stop FGC.
This blog was orginally published here on Sahiyo's website.