I have severally said,” By not involving men in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation is like a doctor treating the signs of a disease and leaving the disease”. All the reasons as to why women undergo FGM are either directly or indirectly geared towards pleasing men, or benefitting them in one way or another. From my observations conferences, advertisements, posters and photos in which FGM is discussed have been so far dominated by women. This is also evident from social media where more than 75% of the photos, advertisements and #FGM conferences are dominated by women
The question begs, where are the men? Are they invited to these conferences? Do they want to be involved in the advertisements? Do we deliberately ignore them? Simply we cannot afford to ignore men at the highest levels of our campaigns and assume we will have them at the community levels. Men are pivotal in this fight and we should engage them at any opportunity.
I believe it’s the high time we mobilised male celebrities, opinion leaders and politicians to join in this fight. Let us use men also to carry anti FGM messages on posters and advertisements. Why do we assume that it’s only women who are survivors of FGM? Men are also survivors in their own way. I remember listening to a very touching story from a Somali man who narrated during a dialogue on how he lost his lovely wife during delivery as a result of excessive bleeding due to FGM. He was left to take care of his little daughter who survived. He vowed never to allow his daughter or any other woman undergo the cut.
I have also heard many men share how complications resulting from FGM have drowned their family resources as there women are always in and out of hospital. The women cannot also do hard work like fetching water or going to the farm as a result. These are just but a few stories told by men who have experienced the wrath of FGM. I believe given an opportunity more and more men are willing to open up and share their stories. Let us therefore give them an opportunity to do so….Remember FGM is a problem for all of us.