By Lubna Mushtaq
The term “FGM” refers to all non-medical treatments that include the partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia or other harm to the female genital organs.
Social obligation and marriageability are the two main motivations that continue FGM.
FGM/C affects both women and men and that men may play a more important role in the decision-making process regarding FGM.
Men in their roles as fathers, husbands, community, and religious leaders, may have a significant impact on the persistence of FGM.
It has been observed that in most FGM-affected regions, men may decline to marry a woman who has not had FGM. Few men say it persists out of social duty.
Interviews with men in Northern Sudan demonstrated that they had a poor understanding of FGM as it was not until they were newly married that they experienced the unavoidable effects of their wives’ FGM, they too felt that they were victims of FGM’s aftereffects.
Men discussed their own issues such as their sexual unhappiness, empathy for the pain of women, and perceived challenges to their masculinity.
Most of the men have trouble in vaginal penetration, wounds or infections on the penis and psychosexual problems.
When men witness their wives’ sexual unhappiness, they think that they are to blame and experience depression, disappointment, and a decline in confidence.
Most of the young men today want to marry uncut women but are forced to marry a cut woman because of societal stress and sometimes cultural pressures.
Men’s opinions vary on FGM, many people would prefer for it to end but are unable to express their support for its termination due to social pressure and cultural obligations within the society.
Communities must be the source of change, and opportunities for men and women to discuss the practice among themselves must be provided.