Category Archives: Circumcision

Circumcision & Human Behavior

The emotional & behavioral effects of circumcision
by George Hill

Psychologists now recognize that male circumcision affects emotions and behavior. This article discusses the impact of male circumcision on human behavior.

Introduction

Medical doctors adopted male circumcision from religious practice into medical practice in England in the 1860s and in the United States in the 1870s. No thought was given to the possible behavioral effects of painful operations that excise important protective erogenous tissue from the male phallus. For example, Gairdner (1949) and Wright (1967), both critics of male neonatal non-therapeutic circumcision, made no mention of any behavioral effects of neonatal circumcision.[1] [2]

The awakening

Other doctors, however, were beginning to express concern about the behavioral effects of male circumcision. Continue reading Circumcision & Human Behavior

Genital cutting tied to later abuse risk

And remember, dear friends… anything that affects a female who has been circumcised surely will affect a circumcised male as well. Trauma is trauma – no matter the gender. And the worst part of circumcision is not the physical cut, but the psychological repercussions.

Protect your child from adults with knives and he or she will grow up to be far more peaceful, trusting and happy than someone who has been grievously injured unnecessarily due to fashion, superstition or to assuage any other adult fear.

By Amy Norton, Reuters
September 24, 2012

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Women who underwent genital cutting as young girls may be at increased risk of physical, sexual or emotional abuse from their husband, a study of women in Mali suggests.

The study, of nearly 7,900 women, found that 22 percent of those with genital mutilation said they’d been physically abused by a husband or male partner. That compared with 12 percent of women who’d never been subjected to the procedure.

It’s estimated that more than 130 million women worldwide have undergone genital mutilation, also known as female “circumcision.” The centuries-old practice, which involves removing part or all of a girl’s clitoris and labia, and sometimes narrowing the vaginal opening, remains a common practice in some countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa.

It’s well-known that genital cutting has long-term consequences for women – including sexual dysfunction, childbirth complications, incontinence and psychological disorders.

In the new study, researchers looked at whether there’s a link between genital mutilation and a woman’s odds of suffering abuse from her partner.

In Mali, where the vast majority of women have undergone genital mutilation, the government has taken steps to raise awareness of the consequences of the practice. But genital mutilation has not been outlawed.

The difficulty is that genital cutting is widely seen as an important cultural tradition, rather than a form of abuse.

“If something is entrenched in a culture, it is difficult to change,” said Dr. Hamisu Salihu of the University of South Florida in Tampa, the lead researcher on the new study.

On the other hand, physically abusing your wife – though common in Mali and other African countries – does not have that cultural acceptance, Salihu told Reuters Health…

READ MORE: YAHOO! Health

SOURCE: BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, online August 24, 2012

Open Letter to Doctors and Medical Organizations

This was originally written for pediatricians who are represented by www.HealthyChildren.org – with a few additions for this blog post.

I understand that your organization represents:
“…pediatricians committed to the attainment of optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.”

If this is so, then I would respectfully suggest that this organization refrains from recommending foreskin retraction and circumcision. Neither contributes to “the attainment of optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.” In fact, there is quite a bit of evidence that retraction creates a host of iatrogenically induced problems, that can lead to a “need” for circumcision – and circumcision can be detrimental to “the attainment of optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. Plus, an adult retracting a child’s foreskin could rightfully be interpreted as a sexual assault, as can circumcision itself. The child does not know why adults are touching his private parts and cutting on them.

It is highly understandable that the young mind can see circumcision as sexual abuse. The details of the memory might be clouded but the body never forgets. Most circumcised men are reminded something is wrong every time they go to the bathroom or attempt to have sexual relations. They never achieve the point of ecstasy they know they could and should.  They know something is wrong, very, very wrong. But their expressed concerns are often scoffed at by trained professionals, who are perhaps themselves circumcised and therefore in denial of their own condition, or embarrassed to address the subject of genitalia.

Let me tell you my story.

When I was a little girl, a little white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant girl, in Kansas in the 1950s, I was circumcised by a probably well-meaning physician who might have believed that female genital mutilation was conducive “to the attainment of optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.” Genitals were private in those days – nobody talked about them – so I lived in a secret hell for many years, suffering from conditions usually associated with males in our society: night terrors, suicidal ideation, depression, misogyny, anger, rage, and above all, an aversion to all things medical. It is difficult to get a circumcised person into a doctor’s office, even for an annual checkup.

However, there came a time – after age 50 – when I discovered I’d been circumcised. Thankfully, I had a background in and understanding of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and realized that I had been badly traumatized and, as I saw it, betrayed by my mother, for she was the one who had allowed the doctor to cut me. Once I recognized the problem, I was able to do the healing work to release the fear and dread that had followed me, wherever I went, all my life.

Not all who were circumcised realize they were cut and very few get to the point of healing the PTSD they’ve carried from infancy. Many of the aware yet still unhealed are those you see demonstrating at medical conferences with bright red circles at the crotch of their pure white suits.

The “aware that they are circumcised but still unhealed” men – and women – are for the most part angry that they were hurt as children and angry that as adults they do not have the full natural, functional bodies they were born with. It also pains them that even to this day, children are still being subjected to unnecessary cosmetic genital surgery. It pains me too. And I fully understand their grief. Sorrow expressed by the unhealed often looks like anger and rage.

I pray you listen, hear, look, see, and let this message into your hearts. Begin treating birth as the amazing, awe-inspiring wonder that it is, women as human beings worthy of respect, and the children they bear as conscious beings who deserve protection, love, care and “the attainment of optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being.” – not just slabs of meat.

I am sorry if you too were hurt by circumcision as a child, but the lesson to learn from our own misfortunes is to never treat another as you were treated when you were hurt. To pass on the abuse is a failure to learn the lesson. If you think circumcision is a valid medical procedure, you are among the wounded. A cursory objective investigation would serve to convince the adult in you that circumcision is – quite frankly – medieval torture and has no place in a civilized world.

Respectfully,
Patricia Robinett, author
“The Rape of Innocence: Female Genital Mutilation and Circumcision in the USA” (2006)

Purchase “The Rape of Innocence” ebook & paperback

The revised edition of my book, The Rape of Innocence: Female genital mutilation and circumcision in the USA (released May 2010) is now available as an ebook for the price you choose – and as a paperback at amazon.com.

See the special ebook offer and receive FREE ebook with your purchase of a paperback.

Ask your local library and bookstores to buy copies. Tell friends, family, doctors, nurses, physical therapists and psychoanalysts, parents. They have all been caught in a cruel meme, a socially transmitted practice detrimental to children, that sticks like glue to the adult he or she becomes.

It is the lingering trauma and programming that concerns me, and that should concern us all. Circumcision is a quality of life issue. It is a human right denied. Every child who is cut leaves not only with a physical scar, but with PTSD, a legacy of terror, a host of psychological scars that can last a lifetime.

Read the book. If you like it, please go back to amazon.com and leave a review.

Please join the movement to end this socially sanctioned abuse of children. In the Resources section at the back of the book are many organizations that will welcome your help.

Purchase “The Rape of Innocence” ebook & paperback

The revised edition of my book, The Rape of Innocence: Female genital mutilation and circumcision in the USA (released May 2010) is now available as an ebook for the price you choose – and as a paperback at amazon.com.

See the special ebook offer and receive FREE ebook with your purchase of a paperback.

Ask your local library and bookstores to buy copies. Tell friends, family, doctors, nurses, physical therapists and psychoanalysts, parents. They have all been caught in a cruel meme, a socially transmitted practice detrimental to children, that sticks like glue to the adult he or she becomes.

It is the lingering trauma and programming that concerns me, and that should concern us all. Circumcision is a quality of life issue. It is a human right denied. Every child who is cut leaves not only with a physical scar, but with PTSD, a legacy of terror, a host of psychological scars that can last a lifetime.

Read the book. If you like it, please go back to amazon.com and leave a review.

Please join the movement to end this socially sanctioned abuse of children. In the Resources section at the back of the book are many organizations that will welcome your help.