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Why is Circumcision Not Treated as Sexual Abuse?

Filed under: General — Ministry of Men's Affairs @ 7:40 am Sat 31st January 2015

Circumcision is another example of duplicity in the way many people think about gender issues, and an incredible example of sexism that harms males. Here we see boys having their genitals mutilated through religious and allegedly cultural practice, in ways that cause serious infections placing at risk these boys’ lives, fertility and ability to enjoy sex in their lives. No doubt the pain and fear of the ‘operation’ will also result in post-traumatic problems for many of these boys. National Radio informed us of hospitalizations resulting from these infections, but nobody seems to question why these intentional injuries caused to boys’ genitals are not routinely treated as one of the worst conceivable forms of sexual abuse. If girls were subject to so much as a gentle touch of their genitals, regardless if this was an established cultural practice, our feminist-saturated National Radio would most definitely be calling for the perpetrators to be charged with offences carrying prison tariffs comparable with homicide. If you as a male take or possess a photograph of your daughter in the bath or in any situation where her genitals can be seen, you are at risk of imprisonment. Yet it’s ho-hum ok to take a knife to boys’ penises and that’s not considered a sexual assault. Even if that knife is not properly sterilized and therefore likely to cause serious illness. Incredible.

25 Responses to “Why is Circumcision Not Treated as Sexual Abuse?”

  1. shin says:

    I think it all depended on which culture you came from and whether they had a choice.

    If you from western society you will see circumcision as genital mutilation because it’s not social norm.

    Some country like Korea and other Asian country circumcision is Social norm and man and boys do it in hygienic reason and

    they do it by choice. It so common in some country and surgical procedure is simple and painless.

    All this said I don’t agree on circumcision of baby at their birth(babies have no choice and it’s forced up on them)

    and religious ritual where they use no anesthetic.

    I got circumcised when I was 15 back in Korea and never thought my genital was mutilated.

    So the topic of circumcision being sexual abuse for man will have two side of story.

    Since we all live in Western society and circumcision is not a social norm many people will believe it is a genital

    mutilation but if you discuss it with people from eastern country they will have difference view point.

  2. Ministry of Men's Affairs says:

    Shin (#1): Yes true, but these circumcisions were performed in NZ. It’s culturally normal in some countries to have multiple wives, to marry off 12yo daughters to old men, to burn those accused of witchcraft, to carry out honour killings, to stone people to death for being raped and so forth but if those things are done here the perpetrators would be prosecuted.

    Concerning this matter choice is irrelevant in NZ. Nobody under 16 can legally consent to have their genitals so much as touched. So how is it that some person can cut the genitals of under-aged boys without legal consequence? And why would our state-funded radio station, always quick to demand redress for any hint of wrongdoing towards females, not even bother to ask the question when it comes to males being harmed?

  3. ManAlive says:

    As I understand it sexual abuse includes the use of another person for some form of sexual gratification. I’m not sure the act of severing an infant males foreskin off falls under that category, yet I hate the practice seeing it as a barbaric act of genital mutilation and an unjust, and often stupidly performed denial of the male infant’s human right to whole body integrity. It says reams about the kind of gynocentric society NZ is that the practice is still continued whilst female genital mutilation is rightly abhorred.
    As such it stands as a sociological marker for male disposability writ large in my view.
    There is a lot of research showing it is a totally unnecessary practice except in a tiny percentage of cases where the foreskin is deformed and too tight for the glans penis.
    These view can easily be supported by simply googling or facebook searching for the INTACTIVIST movement.
    One more thing I leave for readers to ponder – were you aware mutilated male infant’s foreskins are routinely sold to cosmetic companies to be used in women’s face creams?

    https://www.pinterest.com/intactamerica/intactivist-memes/

  4. Shinhee Yi says:

    Yes I can agree with you there. I believe
    Circumcision here in New Zealand should only be perform by choice and concent at the age of 16 or over unless if the boy needed it for medical reason. There are some cases where boys do get infection underneath their for skin Due to not cleaning properly. this topic of circumcision can be argued both way. And national radio not taking male genital mutilation lightly because nz media are dominated by female and feminist and this country being far too liberal is another problem

  5. shin says:

    I wonder why be are talking about female genital mutilation in western Society where it does not exist.

    It only happens in country like Africa or middle east.

    You can’t really put a stop to matter of other country unless you physically colonize their country.

    What’s the point these woman of the west advocating female genital mutilation when it doesn’t happen in their own

    country and if you are advocating for those women in Africa what exactly will it do. Are these country suddenly stop

    their Customs which been carried out more then a 1000 years?

    As for male genital mutilation (if you consider circumcision is) it is happening all a around the country.

    As I said it’s two way story but it does happen and we see it more real compared to female genital mutilation in

    western countries. (I believe circumcision be deemed to be genital mutilation when it’s been forced upon by others.)

    I believe circumcision became less of human rights issue because it’s been carried out as hygienic surgical procedure

    in many other country.

    But in general the whole issue is taken lightly because it’s male genitalia.

    New Zealand being in top 10 feminized country ( N.Z is 6th)

    Feminist this day and age are freely yelling out “castrate all man” it not surprising issue of circumcision is ignored

    by many.

  6. Mark says:

    What I am hearing in this debate is “I don’t like it so it should be banned”.
    I am surprised that on this of all websites some men are advocating for a totalitarian approach!

    I am circumcised, my children are circumcised. If it is done early (properly) there is negligible pain.
    If it is banned in NZ as some advocate, I will pay for my children’s sons to have it done in a free country.

    Male circumcision has many benefits which imo more than justify the practice.
    It is in no way comparable to female genital mutilation where they cut so much off more than just skin.
    Disagree with me if you will – but do not infringe on my fundamental right as a parent to do what I strongly believe to be in the best interests of my sons.

    One last thing – Do not call it “Male Genital Mutilation” – that term is inaccurate, emotive, accusatory and contemptuous. It is called circumcision.

  7. Shinhee Yi says:

    @Mark
    I David agree Boston of your point of view only difference is that I believe it should be done when they get bit older in their teen.
    Yes circumcision has ligitimate health benefit and in some case it need to be done for medical feasible so it shouldn’t be banned.
    I believe it all comes down to personal choice.
    If a boy or man went through the procidure are happy we should accept it.
    We should rispact their choice regardless.
    I got main done when i was 15 never felt bad about it.
    Infact it’s conviniant takes less time taking shawer and no unplesant smell.

  8. ManAlive says:

    Mark,
    Sorry to hear of your loss.
    Unless you and your sons have some genetic defect then I think you’re in denial about what has happened to you and what you advocate for your sons. If I am to read you correctly you are trying to create a strawman argument comparing male genital mutilation to female genital mutilation. As I stated before I think both forms are barbaric.

    There is a whole medically and scientifically based movement rightly dedicated to the ending of the defunct cultural practice of male infant genital mutilation.

    For those interested here are a couple more pages which in turn have links which I believe show what I’m talking about. These days with the internet, thankfully such information is relatively easy to find so folks can get informed.

    https://www.facebook.com/SavingOurSons
    https://www.facebook.com/WholeNetwork

    All children, regardless of gender, culture or parental religion, have a fundamental right to keep all their healthy, functional genitalia. Since a child is incapable of fully understanding religious beliefs, imposing an irreversible body alteration on him violates the freedom to choose his own religion as an adult.
    It differs from education, which can be changed.

  9. Shinhee Yi says:

    Yes circumcision at newly born should be revised I find it bit too cruel for baby to go through. But circumcision has its hygienic benefits as well so should not be bended. N I believe Circumcision and genital mutilation is two different thing. One is surgical procedure and one is act if sexual violence like cutting off help of panics.

  10. golfa says:

    So circumcision is about “hygiene” ? Why don’t we cut off people’s hands, that would do away the hygiene problem of washing them …. How lazy do people have to get ?

  11. Shinhee Yi says:

    yes many other countries take the procedure as hygienic purposes they don’t force you to have it done but people just do it thinking that it’s lot easier that way. So it kinda freedom of choice thing. If you are not forced upon what’s wrong having it done.

  12. Ministry of Men's Affairs says:

    Actually Mark (#6): It’s not a matter of “I don’t like it so it should be banned”, and misrepresenting the argument in that way simply serves to diminish the very real issues and moral inconsistencies highlighted. I don’t necessarily dislike circumcision but I think it’s bizarre that we tolerate inflicting pain and making surgical alterations to people’s genitals when they can’t give informed consent, and that this tolerance is shown in the context of our witch-hunt against sexual assaults no matter how gentle or well-intentioned. The fact that it’s ok to do this only to male children is duplicitous and makes it even more bizarre. Although I accept that clitorectomy is somewhat different from circumcision, if there were some comparable operation done to the genitals of young girls that caused them pain and subjected them to surgical risk you can bet that would not be accepted in the feminist era. And actually, clitorectomy is not that different from circumcision; both are based on religious beliefs and/or tradition and the parents involved believe they are doing it for the welfare of the children.

    ManAlive (#3): Sexual offences do not only involve acts done for sexual gratification. People are convicted for touching another’s genitals in jest or to humiliate or to bully. Why the exception for male genital mutilation?

    Remember also that the article to which this post referred was about unqualified people doing backyard circumcisions on pre-adolescent or adolescent boys resulting in serious injuries, infection and for some of them long-term damage to sexual functioning or fertility. Why were those acts not treated as crimes of comparable seriousness to at least, say, gentle touching of the genitals of someone too young to give informed consent. However, the same question will apply for all circumcisions unless these are agreed to by informed consent from someone seen as old enough to give such consent.

  13. julie says:

    Fathers are men, lol.

    I don’t say that lightly for it’s difficult to be a ground person and not ask the actually people you represent…. their opinion.

    Dad’s are asking for their sons to be like them. They say, “I don’t want my son to be different”.

    Don’t believe me, ask them. Well shoot, you here are dads.

    Why do dads want their son’s circumcised?

    …………..

    Are the rest of us being the ‘goody two shoes’ of people that want to impose themselves on everyone else in the world. My gosh, what control freaks we are. How dare we impose our expectations on everyone else?

    With respect, men’s rights are about men. NOT ANTI FEMINISTS.

    Women caring about circumcision is different. Mothers don’t want their daughters to be like them.

    PLEASE

    Argue my point, don’t argue my sex, lol.

  14. Seamus says:

    When I saw last week’s news I sent the NZ Herald a ‘letter to the editor’. Kept it brief (200 words), non-emotive, and to the point. But since I made the common sense comparison with female genital mutilation I doubt they will publish it. That comparison is the heart of the matter, so it’s hard to avoid mentioning, even if mentioning it makes you seem like a nutter.

    I also questioned the Herald’s double standards. Their coverage of this story was limited, non-judgmental, and did not question why this is happening. Yet just a couple of months ago they ran a photo essay on female genital mutilation in Egypt – the theme was ‘faces of the survivors’ or something. So they stir up emotions over female genital cutting on the other side of the world, but ask no questions over male genital cutting right in their backyard. Pathetic.

    The sexual abuse angle of circumcision is an odd one. Obviously the doctor operating (one hopes!) doesn’t see the operation as a sexual event. Nobody is deriving sexual pleasure. So it doesn’t seem remotely like sexual abuse.

    But on the other hand it is both sexual and abusive – a horrific thing to let a baby be exposed to. Also, given most victims of sexual abuse escape with their genitalia intact, circumcision seems far worse than most sexual assaults.

    As for the ‘parental rights’, ‘religious rights’ etc., these should obviously stop at taking body parts from others. It’s really simple.

    While it’s great that many people do not feel bad about having had this done to them, this would be largely because they live in a genital mutilation culture. I think we need to deal with this culture rather than let it keep harming people.

    We’ve recently been lectured about NZ’s ‘rape culture’. I don’t get this. Rape is widely condemned, clearly illegal, actively prosecuted and seriously punished. Rape is not acceptable in NZ culture. While not perfect, the justice system does a great job dealing with rape given its challenging character – i.e. an everyday act that can be criminal depending on the states of mind of the involved parties.

    Contrast that with cutting children’s genitals. Few New Zealanders consider it a human rights violation, they connect it with hygiene/medicine rather than sexuality (ignoring common sense to do so), and virtually nobody will call it genital mutilation. No hang on, what I just said only applies when it happens to boys. When done to girls it’s naturally yet another of the really serious problems that NZers should all be helping to end, even though NZers aren’t doing it in the first place.

    You have a ‘X culture’ when the culture influences your fundamental thinking about X, to the point that, despite X being self-evidently bad, you somehow can’t see it as bad – because ‘culture’. So while NZ has no problem with ‘rape culture’, it has a real problem with genital mutilation culture.

  15. julie says:

    I personally think we will stop circumcision when a generation of men have not been circumcised.

    However, the UN has paid a lot of money into a project to circumcise men and boys in Africa which unfortunately was created by men and is run by men.

    …………….

    One of my concerns having antifeminists running the men’s right’s movement is around consequences.

    Example:

    I was asked by a strong feminist at a University while talking to a lecturer who I asked to speak at an engagement, “What do you think about our work to promote child and mother relationships within the first 3 years of a child’s life? Do you like what we’ve done?”

    I answered, “Everything has a consequence and this one stops mothers from childcare subsidy. Only at 3 and over do parents get financial assistance. Up until 3, they pay full childcare cost.”

    Example:

    Being witness to the argument and persistence to argue, “Men are harmed MORE at work, etc”, I am able to say the consequences have been brutal. Boys, imo, don’t have the opportunities their fathers and grandfathers had.

    One example is…… Flying foxes everywhere are under lock and key (if not, they soon will be) for you must have professional supervision ($$$) while you’ll be lucky to roast marsh-mellows on an open fire at camp without professional supervision ($$$).

    …………

    I have always thought, “Men love to risk. Boys thrive from risk”.

    But for their own good, ….. no, for a sex argument ….. we’re are denying them freedom.

    ……………

    But hey, don’t mind me. I whinge about antifeminists equal to antifeminsts whinging about feminists, lol. (I still think well of the men here)

    I just think it’s all sad and one of these days, I will write an article on it. (I also see capitalism behind it all and one of my new phrases is “Christian Capitalism”.

  16. julie says:

    # Seemus 14

    We’ve recently been lectured about NZ’s ‘rape culture’. I don’t get this. Rape is widely condemned, clearly illegal, actively prosecuted and seriously punished. Rape is not acceptable in NZ culture. While not perfect, the justice system does a great job dealing with rape given its challenging character – i.e. an everyday act that can be criminal depending on the states of mind of the involved parties.

    I have a friend whose husband is a Maori prison guard. I hear there’s a lot of older folk entering the prison system while I watch CYFS social workers bully families into video recorded police interviews. (FC lawyers are bullying too but like usual ‘not-all’).

    Prison guards are embarrassed to see their own family members entering the system.

    …………..

    I have found people on websites to be naive to ‘just how bad the problem is’ so it’s usually pointless writing about it.

    I won’t say it’s a nationality cultural issue but I bring up the point that Maori have been saying, “Once were warriors was the best thing to happen to their culture” since the mid-late 1990’s. During that time, I stayed for a while in Hastings and witnessed a lot of women coming forward who had children to their fathers.

    I am an Aussie, and I think the words ‘RAPE CULTURE’ describes the situation perfectly.

  17. julie says:

    When I said, “I am an Aussie, and I think the words ‘RAPE CULTURE’ describes the situation perfectly”, I refer to Australia and all nationalities.

    …………….

    I have women around me who’ve been raped during pregnancy because they don’t feel like sex in the late stage (of pregnancy) and their husbands/partners argue, “They are to serve my sexual needs”. I have women around me whose daughters were raped while they were pregnant and the husbands/partners argue, “It’s my right. If the pregnant one doesn’t serve me, then the daughter does” and it can be a step-daughter or their own daughter.

    ……….

    Right now, another men’s argument is playing havoc in society and that’s “New partners harm children more than biological fathers”. The consequences of that is, ‘a movement to attack single mothers getting into 2nd plus relationships’. Though men here were arguing in a civilised fashion, the community acts like a pack of wolves with it’s mob mentality.

    ………….

    PS- When feminists argue men are dying at the hands of men in domestic violence, they aren’t facing the fact that it’s women getting men to kill their husbands/partners. (throwing in to be fair, and yes, women rape men and boys)

    Link for ‘Once were warriors’.

  18. ManAlive says:

    “However, the UN has paid a lot of money into a project to circumcise men and boys in Africa which unfortunately was created by men and is run by men. ” Pure BS.
    One of the main drivers is U.N. Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP)Helen Clarke. There are a lot of other women at the U.N. involved too.
    Jeeze, Women even have their own Department within the united nations. So why bother trolling with lies?

    “I have women around me who’ve been raped during pregnancy because they don’t feel like sex in the late stage (of pregnancy) and their husbands/partners argue, ‘They are to serve my sexual needs’. I have women around me whose daughters were raped while they were pregnant and the husbands/partners argue, ‘It’s my right. If the pregnant one doesn’t serve me, then the daughter does’ and it can be a step-daughter or their own daughter.”

    And your proof of such alleged abuse is where exactly?

    Also i think you’re trying to hijack a thread about the mutilation of infant males to make it into something about child care costs for women and the mythical ‘rape culture’. No compassion for males at all evident in that. Just seems like more feminist ignorance and hate to me.

  19. Seamus says:

    Julie, so you think ‘rape culture’ describes the situation perfectly (and have your reasons), but how do you think the term ‘genital mutilation culture’ describes the situation? That is after all the reason I brought up ‘rape culture’.

    Pity we don’t have more women like the one in this story:

    http://www.inside-man.co.uk/2014/08/13/how-did-a-womens-equality-campaign-get-turned-into-a-social-media-movement-against-male-circumcision/

    She gets it.

  20. Shinhee Yi says:

    Thus is why I have feminism and those twisted feminist who comes here writing about rape and again vilifying man on father’s right from. This once again prove that feminism only cares for woman and woman only. Those man who julie is talking about. The man who forcinget their pregnant wife to have sex.If what was to be true he is unwell minority who has some twisted concept of sex. Let’s face it who in the right mind in this country will force their pregnant wife for sex? And who will go there have sex with their own daughter because their wife can not have sex with them? if there are man in this socaiety who does it I don’t think he is mentally healthy.
    We all know how police react every fast with rape charges.

  21. rc says:

    I think the difficulty arises when we think we in NZ are in some way “more advanced” than cultures elsewhere where girls are circumcised, and women’s sexuality is heavily regulated.

    We’re not. We’re simply the mirror image.

  22. Seamus says:

    Good point RC, but beware of the assumption that FGM necessarily implies heavy regulation of women’s sexuality. The reality looks more complex to me.

    Infibulation (only practiced in a minority of FGM cultures) is where you get a very clear link to regulation of women’s sexuality. Infibulation treats women like property that only selected men can access. Infibulation has also worked this way in the case of men. For example, Ancient Rome had a culture of sometimes infibulating male slaves. We don’t know a whole lot about this type of infibulation but it seems to have involved folding the penis back to form a U, then inserting a padlock-style device. Obviously a guy wearing this thing would not be screwing any women he shouldn’t. Gladiators could become sex symbols so they were regularly infibulated. There are a couple of examples of infibulations in Roman art (e.g. a statue or two) and writing (e.g. an account of a slave wearing a ridiculously large infibulation device to show off). A weird but interesting topic

    Furthermore, in certain FGM cultures women’s sexuality is very free, just as free (or even more so) than men. While I’m not sure it’s been extensively studied, there doesn’t seem to be much correlation between FGM and sexual control – at least sexual control beyond the forced genital cutting itself, and cultural effects of mutilation becoming the norm.

    My point is that I don’t see ways FGM affects women in which MGM doesn’t (or didn’t – in the case of MGM+infibulation) also affect men.

  23. voices back from the bush says:

    I was born in Nelson women’s hospital in 1970, I was born prematurely and considered underweight, perhaps as a result of my mother not understanding the effects of alcohol and smoking to be detrimental to the health of an unborn baby. I was also born breech (wrong way around) and subsequently I wasn’t issued parental care, breast milk or nurturing but was put in an incubating chamber for a week, my mother was sent home. My father wasn’t at the hospital at all.
    Apparently my health was poor.
    I wonder why – during that first week of my life I was also circumcised, my parents had no religious affiliation.
    I was released from hospital only to return with complications from the surgery which resulted in a double hernia operation.

    I have had reasonable health since but have scar tissue that’s easily torn.

    I would prefer that I had NOT been circumcised!
    I don’t recommend or advocate for the procedure to those unable to consent.

  24. Jerry says:

    Voices @23;
    Regarding circumcision. I too find myself circumcised and the family has no religous ties to explain it. I once quizzed my mum on it and she reckoned she had no idea I was circumcised. Rather hard to believe. But like you, it must have occurred at birth and I could not have consented to it. While female circumcision hits the headlines, I suspect that in NZ its vastly out numbered by a tide of non-consentual male circumcisions. I include the babies born to parents whose beliefs do advocate for circumcision. At birth. A baby is cannot consent, and indeed, I think it should only occur when an adult seeks it for their own bodies. Circumcision done on anyone below the age of adult consent, can only be criminal serious body altering assault with a weapon. Maybe there is a case for state funded foreskin restorations.

  25. martin says:

    It’s very simple. Don’t remove any part from anybodies body for non-medically justified reasons, for to do so is a violation of that person’s human rights. This has nothing to do with pain or culture or sex. The reason it is not sexual abuse is because it does not fit under that category – it is merely abuse.

    As for Julie, and rape culture etc, well all I can say is it is yet another attempt for a woman to change the subject to being about them. I do wonder why this site allows such infiltration, as there is plenty of opportunities for their opinions to be expressed in the Woman’s Day, Cleo and other places. I note 3 seperate posts in a row – I barely read them as I didn’t believe they had any factual merit or appropriateness.

    As for “I have had it done so wanted my children to have it done also” is as pathetic as “I lost my leg so had this done to my children so we match”. The threat of taking children to another country to have it done imo reflects on the stubborn stupidity of the author. In my NZ, this would result in criminal punishment if one or both of the children where later to lay a complaint against such a father for doing so. If that’s too hard to understand try this “I’m not going to rape my daughter here, I’m going to take her to somewhere were it is legal and rape her there”. – now do you see – pathetic irrational way of thinking. Living in a country that has bad morals is to condone the actions of that country, unless you actively stand up against their practices. Conveniently I don’t live in Israel, but I won’t condone their practices here in NZ, if they are immoral.

    I find it hard to grasp why there is a shortage of rational people. Even to state figures like “NZ being the 6th feminist country in the world” what does that mean??! Nothing. Such a figure is as worthless as the paper it is written on because of the arbitrary metrics used to measure it.

    Bottom line is the mutilation of children’s bodies is or at least should be a crime, and I would stretch that to earrings if pushed – if you disagree, then ask yourself would you be happy with a parent putting lipstick on their child (boy or girl) and I think you will see where I’m coming from. I allowed my daughter to have her ears pierced at 9 or 10, as she wanted it and thought she would look cool like her friends. By this age, she was “reasonable” enough to understand what she was getting and the impact was trivial.

    Try applying the Golden Rule “Do onto others as you would have done onto you”. Mark @6 if applying this might come to the conclusion he has “it was fine for me therefore it is fine for my kids”. But now before taking action apply the Reverse Golden Rule :Don’t do onto others what you would had done onto yourself – as they may not like it”. After applying this, would should be in a position of at least questioning your ability to apply good moral judgement. In the case of circumcision, I would suggest that the answer is not to circumcise your children, and if Mark is reading this will hopefully realise the problem – you can’t put it back to the way it was.

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