One more story

Having recently watched the videos on the “Men Do Complain” website, and recently the BBC programme “A Cut Too Far”, I now realise the need to express my feelings, frustrations, and anger at how this practice of male circumcision has affected me.

I was cut as an infant due to Jewish practices and aware of my difference at a very young age. It was explained by my parents that this was a hygiene issue, and I would be cleaner than uncut boys, and this was normal, and better. I was never convinced of this strange explanation, but just went along with it as I had no other cause to complain.

However throughout my childhood I felt different from other boys, and wondered why so many other boys were not cut like me. It is now at the age of 60 that enough evidence and experience has taught me to feel anger that such brutality be inflicted on babies and boys that had not asked for this to be carried out? Why has the medical profession let us down so severely and why have religious practices allowed this to go unchallenged for so long?

To unnecessarily wound and inflict pain on babies and boys should be unthinkable, especially with the protection legislation for child abuse. How can parents still be allowed to intentionally cut off the foreskins of helpless babies (and boys) and society allow this suffering?

My position now is that I realise that a part of my body was removed without my consent. This has made me feel inferior to uncut men and I now know the problems both physically and psychologically I have suffered and will continue to deal with for the rest of my life. These feelings are a lack of sensation, sensitivity, and discomfort, and physically I think I am unattractive, compared to other males with unharmed penises. I am envious of other men who are intact and feel depressed that I never had a choice to keep my body the way I wanted.

Do I blame my parents, society, religion or the law for abuse against my person? Thankfully the Scandinavians are beginning to act responsibly to this issue. There are those that think legislation will force this practice underground and then more atrocities will be committed? Until the law is changed or applied consistently with bans on FGM, attitudes will not change quickly enough even though evidence of harm to males physically and mentally has been know about for many years.

I now have a dilemma. Do I forget about the assault of my body and carry on living a good and healthy life, or do I give in and dwell on how different I am and the damage that was done without my consent?

I haven’t spoken about this to anyone.

Your story on TV

Men, share your story

Men Do Complain has been contacted by Burning Bright Productions
to recruit participants for a television documentary that will cover issues around circumcision.

Burning Bright Productions logo

Earlier this year, Burning Bright produced 100 Vaginas, a programme that explored women’s experience with their bodies, and included a sequence on FGM.

Now Burning Bright are looking to present the male experience in a new programme. This is an opportunity for our voices to be heard.

If you think you might like to be involved in the project, see below for details.

Channel 4 are looking for contributors for a ground-breaking and intimate film about men, their bodies and life experiences.

We are working with an artist to document the relationship men have with their most private parts and masculinity.

If you are happy to be interviewed and intimately photographed as part of this programme, we’d love to hear from you.

You can contact us to find out more at:
+44 (0)203 696 5057

Burning Bright Productions

Iris Fudge: 1927 – 2019

Today with great sadness we learnt of the death of Iris Fudge. M.D.C. has lost one of its staunchest supporters. Iris was a long time campaigner for the rights of all children: boys, girls and children born with atypical sex characteristics, to grow up with intact genitals, until such time as they might give meaningful consent to any treatment or modification. Iris will be greatly missed; her courage, sharp mind, humour and good company made the many demonstrations she attended worthwhile events.

Home circumcision kills two year old

The story reproduced below was reported by Adam Lusher writing in the Independent on the 26th of December 2018.

A two-year-old Nigerian boy was recovering in hospital in Rome yesterday after an unauthorised home circumcision. His twin died after being subjected to the same procedure.
Francesco Menditto, the public prosecutor in the town of Tivoli, said that a 66-year-old American citizen of Libyan descent, identified only as EF, had been arrested and charged with manslaughter, causing grievous bodily harm and unauthorised exercise of the medical profession.
The attempt to remove the boys’ foreskins was carried out in their home in the neighbouring hilltop town of Monterotondo. Mr Menditto said the cause of death had not yet been established but Italian media attributed it to excessive blood loss or an anaesthetic overdose. Equipment had been seized at the home of the arrested man, indicating a habitual practise of the medical profession for which he was not authorised, the prosecutor said.
The twins were born in Italy in January last year to a Nigerian woman aged 35 who had been granted humanitarian protection by the Italian authorities. She was living in an apartment managed by an Italian charity that helps migrants to integrate into Italian society.
Neighbours said that the woman, who has five more children in Nigeria, was a caring mother who was studying Italian and had worked for a charity organisation in Nigeria. Identified as “Rosemary” by Corriere della Sera, she was said to be Catholic but to have requested the circumcision so that the children would fit in in Nigeria, where Islam is the most widely practised religion. The newspaper said that she had initially asked a local doctor to carry out the operation but had been told it was not possible.

More than 5,000 circumcisions a year are performed in Italy, with more than 35 per cent conducted at home in a clandestine manner, according to Foad Aodi, founder of the Association of Foreign Doctors in Italy.
Dr Aodi said the relatively simple procedure could cost up to €4,000 but only €30 on the black market. “We have been campaigning for years in favour of legality and the right to health and religious respect for everyone and against every form of illegality and do-it- yourself cures,” he said.
Claudio Graziano, a representative of Arci, the charity that was supervising Rosemary’s accommodation, said they had had no idea that she was going to organise a clandestine circumcision. “The mother was integrating well,” he told state television. “We are very upset at what has happened.”
The charity said it would participate as a civil plaintiff in any prosecution of the doctor.
A number of children have died from botched circumcisions recently, most notably in Turin in 2016. There were earlier cases in Bari and Treviso.
Antonella Pancaldi, a councillor responsible for social policy in Monterotondo, said that the town had hosted 160 migrants over the past ten years and had had only one other request for a circumcision. On that occasion the mother had arranged to have the operation performed in safety in the Jewish hospital in Rome, she told a local television station.
“From what we understand, circumcision is widespread in all of Africa, independently of the religion to which people belong. It’s a practice rooted in tradition, rather than religion,” she said. “We have to take account of the fact that many people feel this need.”
The problem, Ms Pancalli said, was the cost of the operation in Italy for people with scarce resources.