Volume 1: Issue 7 - Learn about Sahiyo's anti-fgc work in our newsletters

Sahiyo Newsletter 

United Against Female Genital Cutting


Underground in America: Female Genital Cutting

On June 22, 2016, Sahiyo’s cofounder, Mariya Taher came out on camera to discuss FGC in the United States and the work she has been doing to support other women and girls who are at-risk or who have undergone FGC and are living in this country. Her work into this area of gender violence began in 2008 when she started her Master of Social Work program at San Francisco University and decided to research FGC amongst immigrant communities living in the United States. In 2015, she helped ABC news shed light on this practice by participating anonymously in their multimedia news piece, “Underground in America: Female Genital Mutilation”.  The short video in the piece was subsequently nominated for a Webby Award in the category of Individual Short or Episode. Then in 2016, as the work of Sahiyo became more public and widespread, she showed her face on camera in the follow-up piece produced by ABC News, “Underground: Risk of FGM Increasing for Women in the U.S.”, says CDC. To read more about Mariya’s decision to participate in this news segment, read the full article on the Sahiyo blog by clicking here.

“A Pinch of Skin” Documentary now available online

Sahiyo co-founder, Priya Goswami’s documentary A Pinch of Skin is now available for public viewing online. The film juxtaposes voices pro-khatna as well as growing voice of questioning dissent on the practice. To view the full documentary, visit A Pinch of Skin.  

For sharing thoughts on the film write to us at

Sahiyo Receives Two Grants to Further Our Work to End FGC

Sahiyo is delighted to announce that our organization has been awarded two grants to further our work in ending FGC within Dawoodi Bohra communities in India and globally. The International Association of Women in Radio and Television has awarded Sahiyo a grant to conduct a media training workshop in Mumbai, this August. Media has played a crucial role in informing people at large about the practice of FGC in India and bringing this critical issues to the forefront. This workshop will teach the media how to approach the topic of khatna in a culturally sensitive, non-sensationalized way that does not cause undue harm to survivors or FGC activists engaging in the work to end this form of gender violence. To learn more about the IAWRT grant, please click here.

Additionally, the Wallace Global Fund has awarded Sahiyo a grant to Orchid Project, as support for the organizational setup of Sahiyo. With this grant’s support, Sahiyo is moving towards the development of sustainable programs involving community mobilization that can both strengthen Sahiyo organizationally and increase our capacity to work on FGC in a meaningful way. To learn more about the Wallace Global Fund Grant, please click here.

Thank you to both the IAWRT and the WallacE Global Fund for your support and encouragement!

Headline: “No, even ‘symbolic or ‘mild’ FGC is NOT okay.”

On June 18, 2016, the Economist released an article, entitled ‘An Agonising Choice’. This piece argues that in order to end female genital cutting (FGC), governments should ban the most severe forms of the practice and instead advocate for the adoption of less severe forms that supposedly have fewer health implications. The article insufficiently acknowledges the global moment in support of complete abandonment of FGC regardless of the severity. The United Nation’s belief that all forms of FGC are unacceptable was supported by the WHO, UNICEF, the United Nations Population Fund, and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). Nor does the Economist article acknowledge regional declines in prevalence of FGC. Organizations working a grassroots levels are seeing encouraging progress and as The Economist article states, overall prevalence rates of the practice are in decline, falling from 51% to 37% among girls aged 15-19 from 1985- 2015 (UNICEF 2016). In response, the Orchid Project has posted a detailed critique of this coverage and launched an online petition via calling on the editor of the Economist to retract their position. To view petition, click here.

To see Sahiyo’s response to the Economist article - “No, even ‘symbolic’ or ‘mild’ female genital cutting is NOT okay”.






Survivor Story: 'The cut that pierced my life'

How harmful can the mildest form of female genital cutting be? True, there are cases where no physical damage is visible even after the cut. There are also cases where women don’t feel any form of psychological trauma as a result of their khatna. But taking a young girl to have her genitals snipped without consent is can often lead to strong feelings of betrayal. Read the story of this anonymous Dawoodi Bohra woman who loves her mother but cannot help feeling betrayed by the woman who was supposed to protect her young child:

“I remember storming into the room and bombarding my mother and all she said to me was that she was sorry. She told me how she was a very young mother and did not know any better and how she did not find the understanding or courage to oppose the mutilation. She was lied to and told that the “khatna” was done for easier childbirth whilst the naked hard truth is that it is done to apparently curb sexual desires in women (the fools think that’s how hormones work!) It is hereby the one and only grievance I ever held against my late mother.”

Read the whole story here and watch our blog for more personal narratives, in-depth articles and much more.

If you would like to share your own story involving khatna or female genital cutting, send us an e-mail at Stories can be shared via our Sahiyo newsletter and blog anonymously or publicly.

Facebook removes page advocating FGC

A Facebook page called "Muslimahs for Sunna", which advocated FGC, claiming that it is an islamic procedure,  has been removed by facebook. After numerous reports and complaints to facebook highlighting the nature of this page, Facebook has removed the page and taken measures to ensure that it cannot be recreated.
Copyright © 2016 Sahiyo, All rights reserved. Sahiyo's mission is to empower Dawoodi Bohra and other Asian communities to end female genital cutting and create positive social change through dialogue, education and collaboration based on community involvement. You signed up for our newsletter to receive more information on our organization's activities in this endeavor.
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