Sunday, August 15, 2010

Are Circumcised Men Stuck in a Cycle of Abuse?

Have you thought about routine circumcision in a broader context?

By normalizing this abuse (circumcision) against baby boys, we have alienated an entire group of hurting people. What a hard time it must be, to not only be preparing for your child to enter the world, but also to suddenly be confronted with the knowledge that the people who were supposed to protect you, such as parents, doctors, religious authorities, instead held you down and hurt you.

Victims of classic rape often start with denial as well. It seems easier to protect the fragile pieces of the mind from the reality of being overpowered and genitally mutilated/attacked than to work for resolution and healing. Easier to pretend it didn't happen. Easier to pretend it was just a variation of normal. Easier to pretend that everything is "just fine."

Yet the irony is that true mental and emotional health and true healing can only come through the 5 stages of grief. Healing comes through recognizing in all its horror what was done to you, in standing strong and empowered before the perpetrator and accusing them, and then forgiving them because you are better and you are stronger. Healing happens when we bring those uncomfortable feelings and truths to the forefront of our minds, when we cast the darkness away with light.

Within the topic of baby circumcision, the direct opposite of healing is what scientists refer to as the "cycle of abuse" or sometimes the "revolving door." The person who was abused cannot confront his own demons and so he spends his life repeating in a direct way, the abuse that was forced upon him. Perhaps one of the most frequently uttered and yet least rational arguments to continue to support genital amputation in America directly displays the sheer amount of healing our American males need. "I want my son to be like me."

I hope that the families who are left to deal with the crime of circumcision can come together despite the obstacles. I hope that gentle yet thorough truth reigns in their home. I hope that the males struggling with their past are able to rise above the injustice and commit themselves fully to ensuring that none of their children will be violated the way they were violated. To all those touched by circumcision: stand up and say that the cycle stops here! Then welcome your whole, beautiful children into this world and protect them.

Circumcised fathers with intact sons:

This man circumcised his first child, but learned and changed his mind. He stopped the cycle of abuse: