Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is recognized in the US and internationally as a human rights violation and a form of gender-based violence. However, many social workers, advocates, and social service providers are not adequately equipped to address FGM/C in their practice. This workshop will provide an introductory foundation for understanding what FGM/C is, including its prevalence in the U.S. and globally, and the role of social workers in addressing and responding to this issue. In addition, the workshop will share key competencies and best practices for working with survivors of FGM/C. This workshop intends to increase attendees’ confidence in talking about and addressing FGM/C in their practice and provide relevant resources.
About the Speakers:
Caitlin LeMay, LCSW is the Executive Director of The U.S. End FGM/C Network. Caitlin has been working in the gender-based violence movement for over a decade. Caitlin’s experience has included providing direct service counseling to survivors of trauma, though her true passion remains in gender-based violence prevention. She enjoys thinking creatively on ways to engage communities in prevention work and identifying out-of-the-box strategies to broaden the conversation on gender-based violence prevention. Through this reputation, she has become an internationally-recognized expert on gender-based prevention and systems change. As a Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW), she is uniquely able to bridge the gap between direct clinical services and systems change, ensuring that the voices of those most impacted by violence are always centered in intervention and prevention services.
Mariya Taher is an award-winning social activist who has worked in gender-based violence for over a decade in teaching, research, policy, program development, and direct service. She began her career working at domestic violence organizations including Asian Women’s Shelter, W.O.M.A.N., Inc., Jane Doe Inc and Saheli. In 2015, she cofounded Sahiyo, a transnational organization with the mission to empower Asian and other communities to end female genital cutting (FGC). In 2018, Mariya received the Human Rights Storytellers Award from the Muslim American Leadership Alliance for her innovative approach to using storytelling to engage communities in abandoning FGC. Mariya has been instrumental in bringing FGM/C to the forefront in the U.S., sitting on the steering committee for the US End FGM/C Network, supporting several states to pass policy addressing FGC, and serving as an expert consultant for the 2021 Department Of Justice – Office of Victims of Crime Addressing Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting technical assistance project. Mariya is also an extensive writer and has contributed articles and stories to NPR, HuffPost, The New Social Worker, The Fair Observer, Brown Girl Magazine, Solstice Literary Magazine, The Express Tribune, The San Francisco Examiner, and more. She graduated with her MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University and holds a Master in Social Work from San Francisco State University and a B.A. from UC Santa Barbara in Religious Studies.