This is a young African woman.
Circumcision is being forced upon her. She is being held down against her will while cut with a knife. No efforts have been made to prevent pain.
She is screaming - but nobody is hearing.
|This is a newborn
Circumcision is being forced upon him. He is being held down against his will while cut with a knife. No efforts have been made to prevent pain.
He is screaming - but nobody is hearing.
cir-cum-cise - v.t., 1. to remove the prepuce of (a male) 2. to remove the clitoris, prepuce, or labia of (a female) - Webster's College Dictionary, 1991
Circumcision rates in America peaked at 90% in the 80's. Since then, more and more parents have chosen to educate themselves on the topic. In the last 10 years, the rate of infant circumcisions has dropped faster than it has ever risen.
Some parents, however, steadfastly maintain that infant circumcision is a hugely important factor in the mental and physical health of their sons. At the same time, they gasp in horror at the female version of circumcision. When this conflict of interest is pointed out, circumcision supporters insist, "But they are different!" We're going to put that declaration to the test.
Circumcision is often performed simply because it was done to the mother or father.
|"Of course I shall have them circumcised exactly as their mothers, grandmothers and sisters were circumcised. This is our custom."||"I was circumcised, and I turned out OK. All the men in my family are circumcised, and I don't want my son to be different."|
This sort of reasoning is not for the benefit of the child, rather for the benefit of the parent who has been circumcised. After all, we do not place other scars on the bodies of our children simply because we have them.
Circumcision is often considered an enhancement of an individual's sexuality.
|"We are circumcised and insist on circumcising our daughters so that there is no mixing between male and female... An uncircumcised woman is put to shame by her husband, who calls her 'you with the clitoris'. People say she is like a man. Her organ would prick the man..."||"An uncut [penis] is droopy and weak. I think it looks like a turtle! I very much prefer my husband's cut [penis]. It's so much cleaner and always looks 'ready for action!' My sons will be circumcised too, because it looks so much better."|
|FGM-practicing communities consider women's unmutilated genitals are ugly and bulky.||"I [did a] search on the web for the
picture of an uncut penis (as I have never seen one in reality). I found a couple and I
must admit, the look is not at all appealing." - Liz
"Foreskins are simply ugly and gross. I just wonder if there is any girl out there who likes them ?" - stephany
Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.....and is largely influenced by cultural standards. Thus, this is another instance of circumcision happening because it has happened. At any rate, a newborn boy is not sexually active, and therefore the appearance of his penis absolutely will not be an issue in his personal life. Once again, this excuse for circumcision is in the interest of the parents only.
Routine Infant Circumcision in America is the result of sexual repression. In the Victorian Ages, it was believed that a raging libido led to social discord. It was theorized that circumcision would benefit civilization by weakening the sex drive, thereby preventing rape, infidelity, and laziness.
|"Circumcision makes women clean, promotes
virginity and chastity and guards young girls from sexual frustration by deadening their
sexual appetite." - Mrs. Njeri, a defender of female genital mutilation in
In 19th Century England, there were debates as to whether clitoridectomy could cure women of "illnesses" such as hysteria and "excessive" masturbation. Clitoridectomy continued to be practiced for these reasons until well into this century in the USA. Cosmetic female genital surgery on a minor is now a crime in the United States. It is NOT a parental choice.
|"To obtain the best results one must cut away enough skin and mucous membrane to rather put it on the stretch when erections come later. There must be no play in the skin after the wound has thoroughly healed, but it must fit tightly over the penis, for should there be any play the patient will be found to readily resume his practice not begrudging the time and extra energy required to produce the orgasm... We may not be sure that we have done away with the possibility of masturbation, but we may feel confident that we have limited it to within the danger lines." -Dr. E.J. Spratling, 1895 (E.J. Spratling, MD. Medical Record, Masturbation in the Adult, vol. 48, no. 13, September 28, 1895, pp. 442-443.)|
Clearly this effort to end masturbation was a disaster. Rather than admit a gross ethical error, the medical establishment created medical myth in order to justify their actions. Unfortunately, it worked. Here you will find a list of medical quotes regarding circumcision. Nowadays, most of these claims are laughable. But as each wildly inaccurate claim was dispelled, a new one would magically appear in its place.
|Popular terms for mutilation are synonymous with purification (tahara in Egypt, tahur in Sudan), or cleansing (sili-ji among the Bambarra, an ethnic group in Mali). In some FGM-practicing societies, unmutilated women are regarded as unclean and are not allowed to handle food and water.||"I think an [circumcised] penis is much
more attractive and to me its also more healthy since guys who are not cicumsized can get
yeast infections under the foreskin and other infections that dont affect them but
may affect their partner! trust me it happens ive had the honor of seeing it! anyway just my two cents!" - "autumn"
|Some groups believe that a woman's clitoris is dangerous and that if it touches a man's penis he will die.||Many American believe, despite medical proof to the contrary, that uncircumcised men can cause cervical cancer in their partners.|
|"I was genitally mutilated
at the age of ten. I was told by my late grandmother that they were taking me down to the
river to perform a certain ceremony, and afterwards I would be given a lot of food to eat.
As an innocent child, I was led like a sheep to be slaughtered.
"Once I entered the secret bush, I was taken to a very dark room and undressed. I was blindfolded and stripped naked. I was then carried by two strong women to the site for the operation. I was forced to lie flat on my back by four strong women, two holding tight to each leg. Another woman sat on my chest to prevent my upper body from moving. A piece of cloth was forced in my mouth to stop me screaming. I was then shaved.
"When the operation began, I put up a big fight. The pain was terrible and unbearable. During this fight, I was badly cut and lost blood. All those who took part in the operation were half-drunk with alcohol. Others were dancing and singing, and worst of all, had stripped naked.
"I was genitally mutilated with a blunt penknife.
"After the operation, no one was allowed to aid me to walk. The stuff they put on my wound stank and was painful. These were terrible times for me. Each time I wanted to urinate, I was forced to stand upright. The urine would spread over the wound and would cause fresh pain all over again. Sometimes I had to force myself not to urinate for fear of the terrible pain. I was not given any anaesthetic in the operation to reduce my pain, nor any antibiotics to fight against infection. Afterwards, I haemorrhaged and became anaemic. This was attributed to witchcraft. I suffered for a long time from acute vaginal infections."
Hannah Koroma, Sierra
|"I have assisted with about
200 [circumcisions] and I have seen sleeping babies not wake up as I gently strapped them
to the table. One even slept through the betadine and that is cold stuff. So it is not the
restriction that is the problem. They take a metal probe - similar to the one the dental
hygienist scales teeth with - and separate the foreskin from the glans. Babies scream so
hard that they end up with their faces red and mouths wide open with no sound coming out.
I had to hold their heads to the side because some vomit from the pain. I always had to
get close to their faces and stroke their cheeks because they would stop breathing. The
doc puts a bell over the foreskin and slides a sterile safety pin through a hole and then
through the skin. He cuts with a blade for what seems like an eternity for this baby and
deposits the skin on the sterile tray. The penis is RAW - I often thought it must feel
like a 3rd degree burn with alcohol being poured over it. Consoling is impossible. They
shake and their eyes are wide open with panic. Yes, I felt horrible every time. I never
got used to it. Each procedure looked as barbaric as the next. Many times too much skin
was taken off or too little (not worth all that torture). I have seen infections, too. The
risk of any invasive procedure even with sterile fields. I get calls from moms who had no
problems with breastfeeding and suddenly have trouble. If it is a baby boy, I try to
remember to ask when and if he was circumcised. Many of my consults are a result of trauma
from the circs. The babies state of homeostasis is so messed up from the stress that they
are no longer able to suck. Every IBCLC (lactation consultants) that I know will tell you
how circumcision is a major source of feeding problems in the days following."
It is impossible to deny the similarities between male and female circumcision. There are many reasons given for this practice, and they are viscously defended. But before you choose to have your child circumcised, you MUST ask yourself: If these reasons are valid, then why is circumcision virtually always performed on the unwilling? The truth, when you find it, will reveal circumcision for what it really is; a crime.
"I'm in favor of circumcision. Everyone in my large family was circumcized, my husbands family also, and my 1st son. I'm expecting another boy in August and I will definately circ. him. My pediatrician recommends it and it's not all as bad as everyone is saying. I was there when my 1st son was circ'd. Yes, he cried, but it was over in no time and then he was fine. Little kids cry when you take them to the doctor too, but you do what you have to do for their best care. Circ'ing helps combat infection. You can teach your child proper hygene all you want, but boys will be boys and you can't stand hovering over them all their lives to make sure that they are washing properly. Young boys like to get sweaty and dirty...and good hygene is not one of their priorities. No matter how good you tell them to wash, they don't usually to it correctly. I can't tell you how many times I've had to tell my 10 year old to go back into the bathroom and wash his hands again because he didn't do a good enough job the first time. I suppose the procedure is painful, but it's over in no time and the child doesn't suffer physically or mentally in the future from it. Obviously, they won't even remember it. I say.....DO IT!"
"Slanzill" - Babycenter.com