FGM Advice – How do I talk about it? Advice?
1st September 2016 at 11:21 am #556
I have to talk to a number of staff about FGM. It’s just a basic awareness raising session as FGM Isn’t really an issue in our part of the world – but I totally get the requirement for learning about it so that’s fine.
The thing is that I don’t feel very comfortable speaking about an issue that feels like it would probably be better addressed by a female member of staff. I know that this might sound stupid and TBH I feel a bit stupid saying it, but I feel like as a man I’m likely to get a response along the lines of “what can you know about FGM!?” from the more opinionated ladies.
I keep telling myself that I just have to take that chance and if anyone is being unhelpful then that’s their problem but I think that when it comes to a lot of safeguarding issues (like CSE, forced marriage etc.) it can be really hard for a man to feel comfortable speaking about these things with female staff and students.
I just wondered if anyone had any tips or ideas? Thanks1st September 2016 at 2:48 pm #558
As FGM is one of many means which aims to control women and their sexuality, I think it’s important for men to speak out about these issues. I mean, if you’re not openly talking about an issue, aren’t you just a part of the problem?
If any of us, man or women, are speaking against atrocities such as FGM, forced marriage and the general abuse of women, you’ve got to be prepared for anything. Having said that, you’ve decided to place yourself in this situation, and I’m sure you’ll be fine.
Here’s an article I found about Kenyan men fighting against FGM – https://medium.com/putting-girls-and-women-at-the-heart-of-uk-aid/warriors-against-fgm-a965588d00bf#.z5w0v3t5c
The article may not be applicable to the awareness session you’re running but I hope it gives you the confidence you’re looking for.
All the best!1st September 2016 at 11:08 pm #560
One of the keys to successful safeguarding is confidence. Having the confidence to address things that make us feel uncomfortable is essential to making an effective response to a problem that threatens vulnerable people.
That is perhaps more easily said than done…
A good place to start is to develop your knowledge on the subject so that you feel as though you better understand the things that you are going to discuss. A lot of anxiety can be caused by feeling that gaps in knowledge will be exposed when we speak, so working through some training material to make sure that you have the information in your mind can be a big help.
There is also something to be said for telling your audience how you feel. There is nothing wrong with feeling uncomfortable about such a serious issue and I’m sure that most people in the audience would understand.
Good luck 🙂 Let us all know how you get on…4th September 2016 at 5:12 pm #563
there are also some good online courses designed by the home office. I think you have to register first in your area but if you typed in online course FGM homeoffice you will find them. I started with this to get the basics covered and then did an inset, on what to look out for as staff and what to do.
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