Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a term that makes my skin crawl to even say it. However, it's practiced in over 92 countries, and even until the 1970s, health insurance in the United States covered female circumcision.
These are facts I learned from Farzana Doctor, an FGM survivor and now Activist, Psychotherapist, and Writer. Her latest book, Seven, is a rich, soulfully written novel about inheritance and resistance that tests the balance between modern and traditional customs.
This episode is full of learning about FGM, the Dawoodi Bohra community, and how patriarchy continues to be propagated by women. This is a nuanced conversation and I invite you to take a keen listen to this one.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode
- The four types of FGM
- Why FGM is practiced
- What's possible for FGM survivors in intimate relationships
Nuggets of Wisdom from Farzana
- The people who are doing it really don't think that they are causing harm. It wasn't until 2015 that there were public conversations about it. So, I would say that until 2015, people could say, "Oh, we really didn't know." Now, after 5 years, I think it would be very hard for them to claim that kind of ignorance as more and more survivors coming forward to talk about the potential harms that it can cause.
- No community is one thing or another.
- How do we liberate ourselves from this? And what will happen once we do? We become so powerful when we do.