It’s time for men and women to stand up and speak truth. It’s time to stand up against the brutal torture that is Male Genital Mutilation (MGM)
Male genital mutilation is often referred to as “male circumcision” as a tidy euphemism to gloss over and minimize the ugly, painful, harsh truth. It’s the only sanctioned surgery which that is both nonconsensual and serves no medical purpose.
This barbaric practice must end. My heart hurts when I even think about the subject. I am not the only man who has had nightmares about it. It is very much a Crime Against Humanity worthy of those capital letters.
This practice grew rapidly in English speaking countries following Victorian era attempts to prevent masturbation and other perceived issues of the time. It’s spread was based on myths and incorrect information about health and doctor’s ignorance about male anatomy.
Washing Beats Amputation – Always!
There are no health benefits to male genital mutilation (circumcision) since washing beats amputation – always!
This form of Male Genital Mutilation has many negative psychological impacts on infants, young boys, adolescents, and adult men including post traumatic stress disorder, brain development and hormonal function (linked to increased anxiety, stress management, altered pain sensitivity, hyperactivity, and attention problems), anger, grief, denial, depression, sense of inadequacy, body shame and body image issues, and intimacy problems.
Why are some countries like the US still encouraging this practice which uses no anesthesia? Why are the US federal and state governments routinely paying for it through the Medicaid program even when they acknowledge its not medically necessary?
Silja Dögg a member of Iceland’s national parliament has said regarding religious beliefs about circumcision:
I stand by that and I say people should be allowed to have their beliefs for themselves but you have to draw the line when it’s about other people. Children should also have their own rights for their own beliefs when they are adults. #HisBodyHisChoice
Singer-songwriter Mark Weigle (prounced why-gul) has written a poignant song about the issue of nonconsensual male genital mutilation (aka circumcision). Although there is a some wry humor at a few points that may make you laugh, be aware a few of the lyrics are explicit.
Let Your Son Decide for Himself (After He Grows Up)
If you don’t have a foreskin, you can never know what wonders of the human body you’ve missed.
You may be upset or happy or not care about the loss of your own foreskin. Either way, it’s not fair or right to wish this on others.
Circumcision is a form of amputation. It is not reversible.
Yes, it is possible to partly restore the foreskin, but this is a lengthy and extremely difficult process. It doesn’t work for everyone. It’s incomplete. Even in the best cases, the sensitive nerve endings are gone forever.
Just because you don’t remember being cut, or don’t think it affected you negatively doesn’t mean everyone has that experience.
Even if you are fine with being circumcised (or your husband being cut), your son may not be. Twenty, 30, 50 or 70 years from now he may be angry about it. He may grieve. He might even have nightmares.
Each man should be able to make a grown up choice about his own penis.
Male Genital Mutilation (Aka Circumcision) Is Unethical and Without Medical Benefit
There is no credible medical evidence to support circumcision. It does not improve hygiene, stop infection or prevent STIs. Many doctors are misinformed and many people wrongly believe circumcision myths
Doctors routinely violate their oath to “First, do no harm” when they mutilate boy’s genitals by performing circumcision without any justifiable medical reason. Soothing parental egos and collecting extra money does not medically justify a human rights violation.
Ask your doctor about it. If they favor it, please take your business elsewhere. Tell them why.
It’s Time for Us to Stop the Silence and to Say the Truth That Circumcision Is Barbaric and Brutal
his is an uncomfortable subject for some people. But, look, so has been every other human rights violation in the history of the world. Just because this physical violence is done by highly educated white-collar professionals in your neighborhood, does not mean we should ignore it.
My colleague Ian Faulkner has shared his own haunting story about his father’s efforts to stop male genital mutilation and provided a summary of the history of circumcision. Sadly, after he posted this on Facebook banned him from posting for 4 days. (While this may have been due to their automated softwaren (bots) Facebook provides no mechanism for timely human review, therefore the end result is still censorship.)
If you’re not convinced of the harm done by circumcision, go watch a video of the procedure. Open your heart and watch and listen closely and carefully. It’s far too graphic and violent to include here. I’m not sure how a reasonable person could believe circumcision was a good idea after watching such a video.
It’s time to get angry about circumcision and stop being silent.
It’s time for men and women to stand up against this extremely brutal practice that serves no purpose other than boosting parental egos and filling doctors bank accounts.
It’s time to stand up and be angry. Very angry.
It’s time to wisely channel that anger towards outlawing male genital mutilation, i.e. circumcision.
Men and women need to stand against this, to complain to insurance companies, doctors, hospitals and elected representatives. We need to spend our money with providers who oppose it.
Men’s Bodies Matter Too
Some people downplay the issue or are upset about a focus on men when women have and still do suffer violence.
But consider this: Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a despicable act. I agree wholeheartedly. So why is it okay to do this to boys and men?
There has been a public outcry against female genital mutilation for many years – thankfully! It has often been justified for the same reasons – religious and cultural, and medical myths and misinformation. Yes, a case can be made it is more extreme than the male version. Yes, more can and should be done to protect girls and women, but a lot has changed for them regarding this issue.
None of that makes what happens to boys and men right. None of that means that what happens to boys does not matter.
A woman posted on Facebook complaining that I was speaking about this issue, because she feels not enough is being done about the violation of women. I agree wholeheartedly that women should be protected and the wrongs against them should be stopped. There are many more speaking up about that, and comparably few speaking up for men. More needs to be done for both women and men.
As someone who has worked mostly with men – of all orientations, backgrounds, religions and lifestyles – since 1992 I am one of those few voices speaking up for men.
As an American, I wonder, why is my tax money paying to mutilate boys bodies? Why are hospitals and medical licensing boards allowing these human rights violations?
Men’s bodies are important, too. It’s time for men to have the same protections women have obtained against genital mutilation in much of the world.
How Have You (Or Those You Love) Been Affected?
Has your body or your boyfriend’s been alterned? How do you feel about that? Are you a parent or a doctor and how do you feel about the choices you’ve made in this area?
If you have been affected, please leave a comment below about your experience with this issue.
If you know of other resources, contact me and after review I can add them here. If you find any of the links are not working, please contact me.
Resources for Parents
Research based guidance for parents
- PARENTS: For clear, easy and plain-language help making the circumcision decision, try the Circumcision Decision Maker at www.CircumcisionDecisionMaker.comMen speak
- The Circumcision Resource Center www.circumcision.org is a valuable source of information for the public and professionals about the practice of male infant circumcision.
- What Is the Greatest Danger for an Uncircumcised Boy?
- I Circumcised My Son: Healing From Regret
- 83 Parents Who Regret Having Sons Circumcised
I also encourage parents to read from the below resources, also, such as the articles on the negative psychological impacts and research that suggests circumcised men are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction, the inability to process emotions, depression and other difficulties.
- Myths about Circumcision You Likely Believe
- What is Lost to Circumcision by Gary L. Harryman
- Anatomy of the Penis, Mechanics of Intercourse including the twelve known functions of the foreskin
- How Male Circumcision Harms Women
- Doctor Ignorance of Male Anatomy Harms Boys
- The Hidden Trauma of Circumcision
- Does Circumcision Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
- 76% of circumcised men are not happy with their circumcision according to Viafin-Atlas survey 2017 – 2018. Their website also has a video animation illustrating the important functions of the foreskin.
- Alexithymia and Circumcision Trauma: A Preliminary Investigation. People with alexithymia have difficulty identifying and describing emotions and bodily sensations which can negatively affect interpersonal relating and the ability to have empathy.
- Adding Insult to Injury: Acquisition of Erectile Dysfunction from Circumcision
- Psychological impacts of male circumcision
- Does Circumcision Prevent Premature Ejaculation? discusses this often myth-laden topic, reminds us that cut men are more likely to have orgasm difficulties and that using circumcision as a “cure” for premature ejaculation can leave a man worse off. There are many less drastic options.
- Men who regret being circumcised as adults
- The lesser known complications of circumcision: a parent’s regret
- The Foreskin and Circumcision in Literature
- Unspeakable Mutilations: Circumcised Men Speak Out – book compiled by Lindsay Watson
- Circumcision, The Hidden Trauma: How an American Cultural Practice Affects Infants and Ultimately Us All – book by Ronald Goldman
- The Irritable Male Syndrome: Understanding and Managing the 4 Key Causes of Depression and Aggression by Jed Diamond. The Jewish male author of this book acknowledges he was circumcised and had his son circumcised as an infant says “I came to believe that circumcision is not good for baby boys. I now believe this practice is one of the physical factors that contribute to IMS [Irritable Male Syndrome].” – page 192
Religious Leaders and Scholars Discuss Circumcision
- Religious Reasons Not to Circumcise by Joel Edwards
- Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective – book by Ronald Goldman
- Why Christians need not be circumcised
- Christianity & Circumcision Resources – provides links to many resources for Protestants and Catholics to thoughtfully consider this issue and learn from the stories of devout parents who chose not to circumcise.
- Circumcision: Quranic Law Progressive Muslim thinking on many matters, including a page examining how male circumcision does not align with true Quranic principles.
- Muslims’ Genitalia in the Hands of the Clergy: Religious Arguments about Male and Female Circumcision. Sami A. Aldeeb Abu-Sahlieh; 1998. Scholarly work by Islamic law expert.
- Did You Know Prophet Muhammad Wasn’t Circumcised? by Dr. David Liepert
Resources for Healing
- Practical Tips for Men Distressed by Their Circumcision
- How do I live with the deep regret of having our son circumcised?
- Men Do Complain www.MenDoComplain.com
- Take the NORM (National Organization of Restoring Men) survey.
- Healing Touch for Circumcision Scars by Caffyn Jesse and Beth Athen – This free online video class explores how scar tissue remediation, knowledgeable touch and focused caring presence can bring healing to the physical and psychological wounds of circumcision
- Joy of Uncircumcising! Jim Bigelow, PhD; 1994. The original comprehensive guide to foreskin restoration. Also covers circumcision history, myths, psychology, sexual pleasure, human rights.
- For Parents who Regret Circumcision: Knowing More
Organizations and Websites that Offer Education and Advocacy
- Doctors Opposing Circumcision (D.O.C.) www.DoctorsOpposingCircumcision.org
- Men Do Complain www.MenDoComplain.com
- Intact Network www.intactnetwork.org
- Circumcision Resource Center www.circumcision.org
- Saving Sons www.savingsons.org
- Dr Momma www.drmomma.org
- Circumcision Information and Resource Pages
- Muslims Against the Circumcision of Children (MACC)
- The Intactivism Pages www.circumstitions.com
Options for Advocacy and Creating Change
- If you’d like to speak out by wearing a t-shirt, there are some options here
- Medicaid Funding for Circumcision – includes a sample letter you can send to your state’s Medicaid Director, and a link to report fraud to the federal government if you do not receive an answer satisfactorily outlining the medical necessity that underlies your state’s Medicaid program covering the procedure.
- U.S. Hospital Circumcision Rates By State
- Tips on Writing to Your Elected Officials
- Mastering Respectful Confrontation: A Guide to Personal Freedom and Empowered, Collaborative Engagement by Joe Weston. The Respectful Confrontation® process outlined in the book and taught in workshops guides people in developing the embodied presence, courage and skill to engage others in discussing both difficult and easy subjects in ways the other party can hear and engage with. This powerful approach is integrative and holistic, drawing on both cognitive and communication processes and body based practices including Tai Chi and mindfulness.
Please Comment Below and Share Your Personal Experience and Feelings
Please comment below and share how you feel about your personal experience with this issue.