It was the summer of 1990.
Mariya Taher was 7 years old, vacationing in India with her family, when one day her mother took her to a run-down apartment building without explaining why.
She remembers climbing some stairs, opening a door and seeing older women in a room. There was laughter, and the place seemed cheerful.
But then came the betrayal.
The child ended up on the floor. Her dress was lifted up.
“I remember something sharp down there and then I remember crying,” Taher, now 34, recalls. “I remember my mom comforting me afterward and holding me in her lap.”
A decade later, Taher would better understand what happened to her on that summer day in Mumbai. She had survived the taboo ritual of female genital mutilation, a decades-old religious tradition that millions of women worldwide continue to be subjected to, including a half million in the U.S., where a historic criminal case involving the practice is unfolding in Detroit.