Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Persistence of FGM in the USA

The recent arrest of a woman doctor who performed FGM won't curtail the practice, writes a woman who was forced to undergone the painful and disfiguring procedure herself. The author of this piece on the Mother Jones site says she's a Dawoodi Bhora, an FGM-practicing Shiite sect based in Gujurat, India. And even though she and other American-born Bhora women had expected "khatna," as they call it, to die out once assimilation took hold, it hasn't, and there's no indication that it ever will:
We're the first generation of Bohras born in America. Our parents began settling here after the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which brought a wave of South Asian engineers, doctors, and other professionals to America. In our teens and 20s, my friends and I who underwent khatna assured each other the practice would die out as Bohras assimilated. We're now in our 30s, and it hasn't stopped. Some women our age and younger are still arranging or considering khatna for their own daughters. 
"For the longest time, I didn't even know other people had this done, too," one friend from the community told me. "I thought it was something my mom only did to me, and I didn't know why." 
"Nothing is going to change," sighed the friend who called me to discuss the Nagarwala case. She spoke with a bitterness I could almost taste in my own mouth. "They'll use this one doctor as a scapegoat, let her take the heat, and pretend it never happened."

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