Saturday, March 5, 2011
A warm and tight embrace,
keeps me sheltered in this room.
My safe and secure nest,
I know this is your womb.
I feel the surges pushing me,
and I meet a cold harsh light.
Then suddenly I'm in your arms,
and everything's all right.
Warm and sweet milky life
,given to me with love,
Then something firm snatches me,
a hand covered by glove.
Laid on a cot, I'm wheeled away.
Where could I be going?
Am I going to be okay?
I'm pushed through the doors not knowing.
There's the same harsh light again,
blinding my sensitive new eyes.
The door is shut, just me and them,
will anyone hear my cries?
My arms and legs strapped to a board,
I'm struggling just to move.
My clothing from the waist down,
is all that they remove.
My eyes bulge with fear,
I gasp, scream, and cry.
Why won't you help me, mommy?
I'm afraid that I may die!
I wonder where in the world you are,
while my confused head spins.
Its YOUR job to keep me safe.
But, too late. It begins.
A cold liquid poured upon
my most sensitive spot.
Then a sharp needle enters me,
burning icy hot.
Then I go numb,
body and mind.
I ignore them while
they cut and grind.
Finally they finish,
but I don't care.
I have no clue
how long I was there.
Returned to you now,
you smile at me so kind.
"Did it hurt him at all?"
"No! He didn't mind."
I can't help but feel
that I lost a part of me.
How can I go on
when I'm not who I used to be?
So I eat and I sleep,
resting long to recover.
But I no longer feel safe
in the arms of my own mother.
What if they come back
and decide to hurt me again?
Every burning urination
is a reminder of what happened then.
Time goes by,
I've healed from my trauma.
I'm growing everyday,
I can even say "mama!"
I live a normal life,
though I am NOT the same,
but what can I do?
And who can I blame?
I can only keep living
and seek no retaliation.
I accept my life as normal,
and forget my mutilation.
I live a joyful life,
grow up happily,
and in the process I forget,
all that was stolen from me.
(Jessica Davis Olivera)
Monday, February 28, 2011
Looking like daddy - Do you remember what your dad's penis looks like? Or your mom's vagina? Did you ever sit around discussing the similarities and differences between you and your parents genitals? Should circumcised boys also get penis enlargement surgery and wear a pubic hair wig? Or perhaps Dad should shave and have penis reduction surgery? When you think about it, looking like Daddy is a rather asinine reason to subject your newborn to unnecessary surgery. "I was cut at birth so you should be too!" Illogical.
Its cleaner! - Cutting off any piece of skin means one less piece to clean, sure. But that doesn't justify it. Frankly, its insulting that people think that their sons will not be capable of bathing. Female genitals have far more folds and flaps of skin than male genitals do, but we manage.
It prevents the spread of disease - That point is disputed. For every study that comes out offering some tiny amount of protection from circumcision, there is another study debunking it. Even those studies that do suggest some benefits, the benefits are always described as miniscule. You know what IS a real way to protect against diseases? A CONDOM! I will teach my son safe sex instead of cutting him. By the way, no major medical organization in the world recommends circumcision. Just sayin'. Also, did you know that removing a girl's breast buds at birth will 100% reduce her risk of breast cancer? Breast cancer is a leading cause of death among women in the U.S., but removing a girl's breasts still seem horrific.
Religion- Your religion ends where another person's body begins. Muslims circumcise their daughters for religious reasons, but that is not allowed in the U.S. so it should not be allowed for boys either. Jews allow non-Jews to convert to Judaism so if your son wants to continue to live in the Jewish faith he can have it done as a teen/adult. There is no mandatory reason to have it done on the 8th day, especially since Jewish law states that any child born by a Jewish mother is a Jew.
Foreskin is useless, anyway - Oh no its not! It is there for a reason. One reason is to protect the glans (head of the penis). The foreskin remains fused to the glans for at least the first few years of life, and sometimes until puberty. It protects the glans from dirt and bacteria, while at the same time keeping it moist and sensitive (much like the clitoris or the inside of your lip. Soft, moist, sensitive flesh.) The sensitive glans and all of the highly sensitive nerve endings in the foreskin makes sex more pleasurable for intact men than for their circumcised counterparts, and prevents them from having to pound their women like jackhammers just to achieve orgasm. Another wonderful feature of the foreskin is as nature's gliding mechanism. You see, natural sex is not supposed to need lubrication at all, but the "helmet" top of a circumcised penis actually draws women's natural lubricant out of the vagina as the man pulls the penis out, causing dryness. Since circumcised sex is simply his skin rubbing against her skin it creates friction. When the foreskin is present it draws over the head of the penis when the penis is pulled out, thus preventing the glans from dragging moisture out with it. Rub the bottoms of your two index fingers back and forth together. Feel the friction? Now rub the bottom of one index finger over the *top* of the other. Feel how the looser fleshy skin on top of your finger glides under the other finger? That's an oversimplified version of how foreskin works. One more function of the foreskin is that it keeps the glans covered for the rest of the man's life when the penis is not in use which means that his glans is never rubbing inside of his underwear becoming desensitized and calloused.
Government should not be able to tell people how to raise their kids, so a ban on circumcision is wrong - The government mandates a lot about what you can and can't do with your children, and with good reason. You cannot rape your child, beat them, hit them hard enough to leave marks, leave them unschooled (as in not going to school or homeschooling), verbally abuse them, kick them out of your house, starve them, or amputate any body part (except for the foreskin) without a good reason to do so. The government won't allow you to cut the genitals of a girl, so they should be fair and not allow it for boy's either.
Peer pressure - The circumcision rate in the U.S. has dropped dramatically in recent years, and in most of the world circumcision is not prevelant at all. So if your child ever travels abroad they will be the odd one. And if they stay in the U.S., depending on where you live, they will be surrounded by 30%-75% intact peers. Besides, shouldn't we teach our children not to give into peer pressure? I think we should set a good example so when they are being peer pressured into drugs/sex/crime/whatever, they know that they don't have to give in and that they should stand up for what's right, even if it means they are different.
But I know someone who had problems! - An adult male in the U.S. was born during a time when almost all male babies were circumcised, and very few medical professionals knew anything about intact penises or cared. The advice given to parents of intact boys was to force the foreskin back to clean under it. That is the absolute worst thing you can do to an intact boy, and it opens the glans and urethra up to all sorts of problems and can cause permanent damage to the glans and foreskin and permanently increase the risk of infection. Besides that, females are about 7 times more likely to get an infection than males (cut or not) and most little girls have a UTI or two at one point or another. Some have very many, and continue having them on into adulthood. No one ever suggests cutting little girls to prevent it. UTIs happen. You drink some cranberry juice and take antibiotics if necessary and you get over it. I remember getting UTIs as a kid, they sucked. But I am glad no one ever cut me! I am also glad no one ever removed my appendix or tonsils "just in case" I get an infection.
But it looks "weird!" - That is a problem solely because of *your* perspective. To your newborn boy, its just the way it should be.
Long story short, there is no reason to have it done without consent. If a man wants it done he can have it done under general anesthesia, take pain meds afterwards to be comfortable, and not have to urinate/defecate all over a fresh wound by wearing a diaper.
He can always have it done at a later date, but he can never have it undone. He is the owner of the penis, he should be the one to make the decision, he's the one who has to live with it and use it everyday.
**Note that I use the term "you" in general, and not directed at anyone in particular. I simply used it to address the most common reasons people give for circumcision.**
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
The Philippines has a long, strange, and confusing history with pagtutuli (circumcision). For years it has been a traditional custom performed at the age of 12 as a rite of manhood to coarsely chop off the foreskin and send the boy jumping into the ocean. In more recent years it has been medicalized and even commercialized with clinics selling circumcisions for adolescent boys during the summer months (so that they have adequate time to recover before school starts).
Despite the fact that circumcision is not a part of Christianity, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines holds Operation Tuli, a mass circumcision charity event, as part of its "healing ministry." Church missionaries, nursing school students, and military personnel who have volunteered their time travel around to various towns and perform free circumcisions for 9-12 year old boys.
A large portion of the people performing the surgeries are not medical staff and have had very minimal training immediately before the event. There is no privacy whatsoever, as boys are laid out on a table one after another while everyone watches. Local anesthesia is used and for some boys this is enough for them to remain calm, while others scream the entire time and have to be forcefully restrained.
This is what happens when people are lied to about the so called "benefits" of circumcision. This is what happens when a whole nation buys into a load of myths. This is what happens in the U.S., except that it is done to infants who have no clue what is happening, and quite often no anesthesia is used. In some ways, I think it is *better* to do this to young boys, rather than babies, since they at least understand what is happening. But its still not okay - these boys are not old enough to make the decision to have this done to them, and they and their parents have NOT been given true informed consent - just a load of lies.
I think pictures, and especially videos, are stronger than words. So I present to you a glimpse into Operation Tuli.
If you listen, the screams several other boys are clear.
Massive amounts of benzocaine are being used on this boy which can cause tissue damage - a result of inexperienced "surgeons." Music is playing, people are chatting, this young boy is having the most sensitive part of his body cut off in front of dozens of uncaring people.
Video 2 click here.
This video is not a close up of one circumcision, but shows the entire atmosphere at a small Operation Tuli event. People sitting, chatting, eating, while boys lay on tables being cut, and others rest on benches trying to recover from their passage into manhood.
(Gotta love them using newspaper to keep blood off of the boys' bodies. That's sanitary, right?)
The removed foreskins.
Nothing says "AIDS prevention" like messy mass surgeries with blood all over the place, right?
More information on Operation Tuli: