Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The role of Men and Women in eliminating female genital mutilation

I know I have said this many times but I will not be stop saying it, because I believe men from both FGM and non FGM practising communities can make a big difference.

To start with men from FGM practising communities tend to be the ones in control of their families. Their word goes. While this is less often the case in Europe it is important to understand that women are still economically dependent on their husbands all over the world, and would not want to risk the possible consequences of refusing to conform, even to the demands of such appalling traditions.

Since, in some of these communities, one of the reasons for the continuation of FGM is to control women sexually, there is a need to raise male awareness in ways that are tangible to them .What man would want his daughter to be married as a virgin if he fully understood how her virginity had been preserved?

It is also important to remember that chastity is still something some of the patriarchal communities cherish and men might therefore be conditioned into the idea that a virgin wife is rightly theirs(  if infibulations or other forms of FGM will ensure this, then so be it.) So changing the mindsets is necessary.

As I said before FGM has nothing to do with culture, but the beliefs and practices that spring from male perceptions of how they should expect a woman to be. For many women however, getting married and keeping the marriage is the key to survival even if it means going against their better judgement. So by consenting to the mutilation of their children, they think they are helping them towards a better future with a man to provide for them in adult life. The tragedy perpetuates itself.

Both men and women need to change their mindset together.

Some women have actually been mutilated after getting married because their husbands wished so and because of the pressure from the communities they live in.

This is child abuse and its time girls and boys, men and women know the truth of this horrific practice. As child abuse, more prosecutions are needed but we can only get them if people know what FGM is and I don’t think the media is doing enough to educate its readers viewers and listeners.

For more information have a look at the book below,

1 comment:

  1. thanks Abbie, this is so true. I can't imagine the pain the girls and women who are subjected to this must feel, and the fact that it happens every day to thousands of innocents is heartbreaking. Thanks for all you do to keep this subject on the agenda. No FGM!!