“By not involving men in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation is like a doctor treating the signs of a disease and ignoring the disease itself”. Most if not all the reasons as to why women undergo FGM are either directly or indirectly geared towards increasing marriageability, pleasing men, or benefiting them in one way or another.
Now the question begs what role do men play in FGM and are they even aware of what happens during the cut? I will say in most cases men don’t attend the actual cutting ceremony. Hence they don’t get to see what happens. In some instances, the whole FGM ceremony is done in secrecy with it being an “only invitation party” for the aunts, grandmothers and few other women.
Could this mean man just influences FGM sits back and waits for the woman to execute then appears to collect the bride and cows for dowry and disappear again? Assuming this is the reality though not in all cases how do men get to learn about FGM? Rule out the option of them seeing the scar on their wives as sex in most traditional African societies is sacred and should be enjoyed at night and if done during the day people should cover themselves.
Don’t even think about men being at the labour ward/witnessing delivery by midwives/TBAs that’s almost a taboo down here. In my specific context of Kuria community,”just an example”, the youths provide the security and escort for the women and other participants in the FGM ceremonies. This has made it very difficult even for the law enforcement agencies to carry out their mandate due to violent resistance.
All the above clearly indicates a gaping gap in the fight against FGM. Should we change the strategies we have embraced over and over again and think on how to actively engage men at different levels in this fight? Or can we say men have been sufficiently involved already and there is no need to panic?
Let me conclude by saying the fight against #FGM is a communal affair and all community members should be actively involved for it to succeed. And to achieve the generational change that we so much yearn for we need to actively engage the youths with specific focus on men who are the future potential husbands.