The people behind the knife should be behind bars for life
Baby boys are being brutally tortured every 25 seconds in the United States.
Let’s not mince words about it. That’s what circumcision is – torture, sexual assault, genital mutilation, unconscionable child abuse, and possibly the worst violation of human rights in history.
The mother of an only-daughter, I really had no reason to research circumcision I had no idea of the horrors it entailed until recently. One of the moms in our peaceful-parenting play-date group enlightened me in the park last week. She sent me a few links, and I dove in. What a can of worms…
After several sleepless nights – and nightmares during the few hours I’ve slept – I almost wish I hadn’t opened it. But if I can stop one person from allowing his or her son to become a victim of this atrocity, it will be worth it.
To summarize what I have learned:
1. Circumcision is one of the most excruciatingly painful things that can happen to a person, much less to a wide-awake baby, too young for general anesthesia.
2. A violent attack of that magnitude has permanent and devastating psychological effects.
3. Mutilating male genitals deprives men and women of sexual pleasure, makes it difficult for men to connect emotionally to sex, and can therefore have detrimental effects on romantic relationships.
4. Circumcision is not “Christian.” It is unethical and evil no matter what your religion – so don’t use religion as an excuse.
All circumcisions were done without any anesthesia until the 1980s. The vast majority (96 percent as of 1997) still are done without any anesthesia today. Babies that do receive anesthesia are receiving inadequate local anesthesia, not general anesthesia, as they are too young for it.
In the “old” days, doctors claimed anesthesia wasn’t necessary because newborns couldn’t feel pain. As absurd as that sounds, countless studies had to be done to convince people that not only do newborns feel pain – they feel it more intensely than adults.
Though local anesthesia is probably better than nothing at all, it’s only slightly better. Studies show it does NOT significantly reduce the adrenal-cortisol (stress) response. Also, the injection of anesthesia is very painful in and of itself.
The foreskin is the most sensitive part of a male’s body – other than the head of the penis itself – with more nerve endings per square inch than any other body part. Circumcision has been likened to having a sharp metal instrument jammed under one’s finger nail, down to the base, and shoved around, back and forth, until the entire nail is separated from the nail bed, and then sliced off.
Here is a link to multiple circumcision videos worth a million words. Warning – I would not watch these if you don’t plan to circumcise. The images and sounds will haunt you. But if you are considering circumcising a child, please watch and pay close attention.
I only watched the first and last and had to stop. I got sick to my stomach and was still shaking with rage 15 minutes after watching them. And these are just videos posted by medical professionals for training purposes. I’m sure you could find much worse ones on YouTube that doctors don’t want you to see, but, again, I wouldn’t recommend it.
The last video in the link above – of a slightly older baby – was particularly disturbing. The doctor tries to tell the dad the majority of the crying is caused by him being restrained spread-eagle on a plastic board, but there is a distinct change in the baby’s crying the moment the doctor yanks open the tip of his foreskin with two pairs of needle-nosed pliers and shoves a giant scalpel-type object down through the middle, rotating it around the head of the penis to rip apart the flesh in between.
By the time he clamps a heavy, metal wrench-like instrument around the base of his tiny penis to hold it in place for the cutting, the baby’s bloodcurdling screams turn into what sounds like him swallowing his tongue. They don’t show his face, but the sounds alternate between heart-wrenching screams, choking, not breathing and gasping for air. His arms are shaking and occasionally swinging and his body is convulsing.
I’ve read that oftentimes the initial crying – from being restrained and/or injected with anesthesia – suddenly stops when the mutilation begins. Their eyes bulge and then their bodies go stiff. They remain silent and still through the rest of the surgery and appear to the parents to be sleeping when it is over. Sometimes they’re told, “he slept right through it.”
This does not mean they are not in pain. It means they are in shock and their bodies have gone into a semi-coma to cope with the overwhelming agony. Total silence likely indicates a baby is experiencing more traumatic stress than a screaming baby.
Psychiatrist John Rhinehart describes the “silent” or “sleep-like” reaction as follows:
Since he can’t “fight, flee or freeze” the only defense mechanism a baby being circumcised has left is “shock defense, which consists of central nervous system flooding by terror, rage, and finally numbing, paralysis, and dissociation; this is his last chance to control the high level of central nervous system activation, which might otherwise result in death.”
“Watchinig videotapes of neonates being circumcised portrays this clearly to the aware eye. The so-called ‘quiet’ after circumcision is more likely a state of dissociation in response to the overwhelming pain and terror than it is a state of peaceful relaxation.”
And that brings us to…
Though some claim the physical pain of circumcision is quickly forgotten, the emotional scars last lifetimes. Boys and men may not consciously remember the torture, but they remember it subconsciously, and can experience post-traumatic stress when faced with similar threatening situations later in life.
A study showed circumcised baby boys exhibited symptoms of PTSD while undergoing routine vaccinations at 6 months of age, compared to uncircumcised boys who had much smaller pain and stress responses.
Dr. Rhinehart – mentioned above – has documented his psychoanalysis of grown men who experience PTSD 50 and 60 years after their circumcisions.
“Many men who were circumcised as neonates consider it a non-issue because they cannot remember anything about it. In my psycho-therapeutic work with men, however, it is clear that the memory is there. Since the event occurred at a very early, pre-verbal level, it is most often experienced as a body or somatic memory rather than as a more familiar verbal memory. Various disturbing mental images and intense feelings often accompany the reemergence of this body memory, including the feeling of sharp metallic instruments cutting into one’s flesh … the sense of being overpowered by big people, being alone and helpless, feelings of terror, and a sense of paralysis and immobilization.”
Keep in mind that a boy is usually circumcised within his first few days of life. He’s been comfortable, warm and protected in his mother’s womb for nine months. It’s possible the only person he is aware of is the woman who’s been nursing him, holding him, kissing him and whispering sweet nothings into his ear.
Then, suddenly, he is strapped down by a stranger, tortured beyond comprehension and put back into his mother’s arms. Think about the damage that does to the mother/son bond. He can’t trust her anymore. For all he knows she was complicit in the activity – she didn’t appear to do anything to try to stop it. He can’t trust his father either. He can’t trust anyone.
One his very first impression of the world is agonizing sexual torture. He doesn’t know why it’s happening or what he did to deserve it, but his mom is nursing him again like everything is normal, and his dad is patting his head. The world becomes a terrifying, cruel, unpredictable place, where the ones who supposedly love him could turn on him at any moment. He shuts down emotionally to cope with the pain of the betrayal.
Rhinehart says long-term psychological effects of circumcision include:
- a sense of personal powerlessness
- fears of being overpowered and victimized
- lack of trust in others and life
- a sense of vulnerability to violent attack
- guardedness in relationships
- reluctance to be in relationships with women
- diminished sense of maleness
- low self-esteem
- shame about not “measuring up”
- anger and violence toward women
- irrational rage reactions
- addictions and dependencies
- difficulties in establishing intimate relationships
- emotional numbing
- need for more intensity in sexual experience
- sexual callousness
- decreased tenderness in intimacy
- decreased ability to communicate
- feelings of not being understood
Some additional insight from JewsAgainstCircumcision.com:
“In Wounds that Time Won’t Heal: The Neurobiology of Child Abuse by Dr. Martin Teicher, it was found that inflicting physical abuse on babies, ‘sets off a ripple of hormonal changes that wire the child’s brain to cope with a malevolent world.’ Males are violent due to circumcision. It is usually boys who go to school and kill people; they are violent since their brains are wired for violence from infancy. Rarely does a girl take a gun to class and kill people.”
Although the rate of baby boys being mutilated in the U.S. today has decreased to nearly 50 percent (less than 20 percent in many Western states), around 80 percent of the current adult male population in the United States still suffers from this secret trauma, and they are not even aware of the source of their emotional pain. No wonder the U.S. military has had such a ready supply of angry men ready to inflict pain on people around the world ever since circumcision started in America, around WWI.
Here is a link to all sorts of studies on the devastating psychological effects of genital mutilation.
Again, the foreskin is the most sensitive part of a man’s body, containing as many as 70,000 erogenous nerve-endings. Not only is the foreskin itself extremely sensitive, it helps keep the head of the penis (which was intended to be a covered, internal organ like the clitoris) soft, moist and sensitive, rather than keratinized and calloused.
Because of this, circumcised men have been robbed of up to 75 percent of their capacity for sexual sensation and are 4.5 times (450%) more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction, according to the British Journal of Urology International.
The gliding action of the foreskin is supposed to make sex easier, more comfortable and more pleasurable for both the man and woman.
Just a couple of quotes from an article on Dr.Momma.org titled “How Male Circumcision Impacts Your Love Life”:
“Sex with a natural partner has been to me like the gentle rhythm of a peaceful but powerful ocean–waves build, then subside and soothe. It felt so natural, as if it were filling a deep need within me, not necessarily for the act of sex, but more in order to experience the rhythm of a man and woman as they were created to respond to each other.”
“Circumcision may cause a man to work harder to achieve orgasm, resulting in emotional and physical distancing from his partner. When a circumcised man has sex, he may have to concentrate intensely on the erotic sensations he is receiving while simultaneously blocking out any uncomfortable sensations. Survey respondents often reported that their circumcised partners seemed to have to work too hard to achieve orgasm. And because of the erotic tissue that has been removed, he can’t enjoy the sensations leading up to orgasm or his partner’s responses.”
Circumcision is not a Christian ritual. In fact, it’s unchristian. Early Christians took a strong stand against circumcision.
The apostle Paul likened circumcision to slavery, and told fellow “Jews” not to put a yoke on the necks of gentile disciples – “a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear.” Acts 15:1-21
In Galations 2:1-5, Paul said a controversy about circumcision “arose because some false brothers [Pharisees and Sadducees] had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.”
In Titus 1:10-16, he further condemns “those of the circumcision group,” saying they “must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households.” He tells new Christians to “pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth.”
Finally in Phillipians 3:1-11, Paul warns – “Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.”
I have no idea why Jews in the Old Testament began performing circumcisions in the first place – and I am in NO way condoning their ritual – but apparently it was less gruesome than modern circumcision.
It was a quick clipping of the very tip of the foreskin, the part that hangs over (and is not fused to) the head of the penis – apparently just enough to draw a few drops of blood as a sacrifice for sin. The baby was given wine and topical anesthetic made from plants. It was not done for health or sanitary reasons, but to appease what they perceived to be an angry, bloodthirsty god.
The mutilation that occurs today involves ripping away and cutting off the entire foreskin – a skinning of about half of the penis – and exposing what was intended to be an internal organ. This method began about 150 years after Jesus’ death in an effort by Jewish authorities to further distinguish Jews from uncircumcised Greeks.
The really creepy stuff started happening after 500 C.E. when a creepy book called the Talmud essentially replaced the Torah. I haven’t had the fortitude to look into this thoroughly yet, but apparently it is tradition for the Jewish mohels or “circumcisers” to suck the infant’s wounded, bloody penis after mutilating it without anesthesia. This is not a joke. This is a real practice that happens every day in America. You can even read about it in the New York Times.
The good news is not all Jews are sick, sadistic pedophiles. There is a growing movement of “Jews Against Circumcision.”
“Do not be afraid of divine punishment,” their website says. “God did not mandate circumcision. In the original version of the Torah, the book of J, circumcision is not even mentioned. Fallible men devised circumcision as a way to curb masturbation. Even Rabbi Maimonides acknowledged this fact.”
I haven’t had a chance to look into Islamic circumcision – but here is a website saying circumcision has nothing to do with the Quran, and that Allah hates such wickedness.
The bottom line is I don’t believe in a god who commands people to torture their children, steal their body parts or deny them the ability to experience pleasure. If you do, fine. But keep your sick beliefs in your head, because if you act on them, you should go to jail for life.
I am NOT condemning the vast majority of parents with circumcised children.
When circumcision was at its climax in this country – the 1950s – most circumcisions were done without parents’ knowledge or consent. And in the decades since then, parents have been flat-out lied to about the “procedure.”
Psychotic obstetricians often have uninformed mothers sign “consent” forms while they are still under the influence of drugs. The mutilation often occurs where the parents cannot see or hear it. They are not invited to watch, and they trust the doctors when they say it’s quick, easy and painless.
There are accounts of mothers who have watched becoming thoroughly traumatized themselves. They say they never would’ve consented had they known what it was. One woman told the doctor as soon as he was done, if she had had a gun, she would have killed him. “I swear I would be in jail today if I did have a gun.”
Fifteen years after her son’s circumcision, another mother said – “The screams of my baby remain embedded in my bones and haunt my mind. His cry sounded like he was being butchered. I lost my milk.”
Another factor influencing the continuation of circumcision is fathers, who have been mutilated themselves, who are in denial that a part of their manhood has been amputated. Opting to keep their sons intact means admitting that something is missing in them. There are actually doctors who are compelled to keep cutting boys, as an unconscious reenactment of the trauma.
But this is the information age – the age of the Internet – and there is no excuse for barbaric behavior to go on. If you’ve already done it, apologize to your son and forgive yourself. Tell others to break the cycle, and the chains, and start working on healing and creating a healthier, happier generation.