What can I do to prevent FGM/C?
Men have great influence over the practices performed in their own families as well as within their communities. There are many ways that you can get involved to help end FGM/C and support survivors of FGM/C. One way is through education: for yourself, for your community, and for your peers.*
Use your influence to reject the practice of FGM/C publicly.*
Taking a stance against FGM/C within your own community can be the first step to creating a safe zone for community members to discuss FGM/C. You can take a stance about FGM/C in person at your religious and cultural community gatherings. Taking a stance as a public ally of survivors is also important.
Raise awareness and discuss FGM/C with other men within your communities.*
Raise awareness with other men within your communities.* Bringing up FGM/C may seem intimidating, but connecting it to the discussion of topics like health and wellbeing, advocacy, childbirth, and intimacy can allow you to tie in the discussion of FGM/C. The conversation has to start somewhere - why not lead this discussion?
Support and advocate for the empowerment of girls and women in your community.*
Support and advocate for the empowerment of women and girls in your community.* Advocate for the rights of women and girls. Help them learn more about their rights. Encourage women and girls to continue their education. Speak out against all forms of gender-based violence (GBV).
Familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of FGM/C.1
Familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of FGM/C.1 Signs that FGM/C may occur include a sudden and long absence from school; a long holiday overseas; or traditional ceremonies to “become a woman” or “prepare for marriage.”1,2 Familiarize yourself with signs that a girl might have experienced FGM/C such as difficulty walking, feeling depressed, or asking for help but reluctance to explain more.1 Learn more about signs and symptoms here.
Support activists and organizations advocating to end FGM/C.1
Support activists and organizations advocating to end FGM/C.1 Following and sharing the work and progress being done to end FGM/C can help raise awareness and gain support for those on the frontlines of the fight. Financially supporting these organizations can also allow them to continue their work.
In their own words: what are men saying about FGM/C*
“If it's prevalent in a community and spoken about actively I think a man in that position should be able to say something or stop it. If they have the power to and know it is happening, then they should advocate against [FGM/C].”
“I think I liken it to what non-black people can be as sort of support to Black people in a conversation around racial justice. I think it relies on being present but not taking over the conversation, knowing that our voice does matter, we shouldn’t be silent and on the sidelines."
“At this point in time, we need to come together as a community to think about those vulnerable members of the community and the preponderance of data that shows that this has physical implications, emotional, psychological implications. And girls at that time have no agency in this so is this really something that we want to be doing.”
*Interviews conducted with men in Winter 2020 to Spring 2021.