They are still not listening to us. The bills and our stories sit on a desk, unheard, undiscussed and, worst of all, silenced.
Since 2012, the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association has been advocating for a state law that would protect girls from female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C). Yet to this day, no law has been put in place. It is estimated that over half a million girls and women in the United States are at risk of having some or all of their perfectly healthy external genitalia removed for non-medical purposes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks Massachusetts 12th in the nation in terms of the number of women and girls who have undergone or are at risk of undergoing FGM/C.
I live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and I am one of those women.
Growing up in a Dawoodi Bohra community, a religious sect within the Ismaili branch of Shia Islam, I was told it was a sensitive topic, one reserved to be spoken about by women only. I thought FGM/C was normal, and I understood that I was not supposed to mention it in large gatherings or to those outside the Bohra community. What we did was special. It was tradition. It was called khatna.
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