Friday, August 3, 2012

question about circumcision

Question: I just wondered if you would turn away a circumcised man. I was circumcised when I was a week old. I don't even remember it. What's your beef with circumcision? What about vasectomies.

Answer: No, of course not, I would not turn away a circumcised man, but if he is not aware of the trauma he suffered at such young age, and the effects on his life, I might think twice, because when people are not aware of the wounds suffered at the hands of their own parents when they were defenseless little babies and children, and able to mourn their losses, they will unconsciously and compulsively look for scapegoats to take revenge for the wrongs done to them when they were little, and now I refuse to be anyone’s scapegoat no matter how smart, charming, talented, rich, seductive they are. The fact my post triggered strong emotions in you; it shows that there is repressed anger in you relating to the traumatic event of being circumcised.
Vasectomy is a conscious decision that an adult chooses for a permanent form of birth control, but if it was done to a defenseless baby, before he is able to make that decision for himself, that would have been a serious crime, because no one has the right to make decisions for others affecting their own body. I chose not to procreate, but I made that decision for myself. No one has the right to make decisions for others affecting our own body or life, but ourselves, period! I hope that answers your question. :-)

P. S. You might find interesting the video The Penis-Sex Education 101 and the excerpts from Alice Miller's books below.

“Banished Knowledge: Facing Childhood Injuries” by Alice Miller, she says: “As a rule, children who were once injured will later injure their own children, 

maintaining that their behavior does no harm because their own loving parents did the same.

Historians and psychologists will long continue to ponder the reasons for this outlandish behavior because in their deliberations they overlook the only correct explanation. But in the long run this explanation cannot be avoided, and it becomes obvious the moment the question is asked: What eventually happens to the person who was mutilated as a child? When a small child is tortured by ignorant adults, won't he have to take his revenge later in life? He is bound to avenge himself unless his subsequent life allows the old wounds to heal in love, which is seldom the case. As a rule, children who were once injured will later injure their own children, maintaining that their behavior does no harm because their own loving parents did the same. Besides, in the case of circumcision it is a religious demand, and to many people it is still unthinkable that religion could demand cruelty. But what if the unthinkable is true? Are the children and children's children to be sacrificed because of the ignorance of the priests? It took three thousand years for the church to accept Galileo's proofs and admit its error. Today it is not a matter of theoretical astronomical proofs but of the practical consequences deriving from an insight that could save humanity from self-destruction, because it has already been proven that all destructive behavior has its roots in the repressed traumas of childhood. As soon as legislators become serious about the rights of the child to protection and respect as proclaimed by UNESCO, the fact will have to be acknowledged that ritual circumcisions
1.offer no advantage and are a mutilation;
2.prevent the relaxation experience and lead to over-stimulation with potentially destructive and self-destructive effects;
3.inflict a trauma on the child leading to an injury of his whole being, with the consequences of these injuries affecting not only the individual and his descendants but other human beings as well.”

Also in her book “Breaking Down the Wall of Silence: The Liberating Experience of Facing Painful Truth” Alice Miller speaks of the custom in some countries of female circumcision that also shows the same mechanisms perpetuating male circumcision: “Their consciousness, however, has not registered the realities of their situation. By repressing not only the pain but also their anger and desire for revenge, they have managed to banish consciousness, even idealizing the custom. Today, as a result of their repression, they can justify the procedure as harmless and necessary. They cannot recall their repressed anger and have never grieved about what happened to them. Consequently, they inflict the same ordeal on their children without wishing to acknowledge what they're doing to them.”

Also words below from an interview Alice Miller gave in November 1992 are very poignant. 

"I was told that there are cultures in which children are not mistreated and in which, significantly, "no wars are fought. "

"But I don't know them well. If you hear of such a society, I would be indebted to you for more detailed information about it."

"Philip Greven has shown how widespread sadistic and destructive methods of child-rearing still are, particularly those concealed under the mantle of religiosity. This is not only true of Christian child-rearing. 100 million Islamic women living today have had their genitals mutilated as children. Millions of Jewish or Arab children are, for the sake of dogma, subjected to circumcision, as infants or at an advanced age. Such cruelty is only possible with the total denial of the child's sensibility."

" In fact, I know of no religion that forbids and condemns the mistreatment of children as a matter of practice. Respect, understanding and love are universally preached for parents, no matter how they behave. Children, on the other hand, according to Luther, for instance, should only be loved in so far as they are obedient and god-fearing : that is, as long as they deny themselves. Parents have a right to the unconditional love and respect of their children."


  1. Hello Sylvie,

    When I was 7 my parents decided that I get circumcised as all muslim children are.
    I can remember how terrified I was. I thought they'd make an error and cut the whole thing. Maybe what I just said would trigger someone's laugh however I thought I'd die and there is no fun whatsoever.

    It was a ceremony done at home like they used to do it in the 80's.
    My mom decided to stay in the kitchen, my dad went to the beach and I was left alone. Only my older brother was by my side. They undressed me but I resisted I found it humiliating that everyone in the room sees me naked. All of a sudden a big scissors in the guy hands and I kept resisting...2 men put their hand on my thighs to keep me from moving and the old men cut my skin.
    I will never forgive them for doing such an act. It is a horrific scene that I will always remember.
    Thank you for your blog by the way


    1. Mohamed,

      Thank you for your comment sharing the terror you went through at the hands of the people that brought you into this world when they were supposed to be your protectors. This horrific scene you described sadly happens to so many babies when they don’t have yet a vocabulary to give a voice to the horror and fear they went through as little babies and go through life being scared without understanding the roots of their fears. This crime against you by the people that were supposed to be your protectors is unforgivable and your anger is very much justified, allow yourself to feel the whole range of your anger, because this anger when felt directed at the real culprits is the key to opening the door to your liberation and stopping this insanity from being passed on into the next generation.

      Wishing you much courage and strength on your journey to freedom, Sylvie

  2. I thought I would share here these very poignant words by Alice Miller and Arthur Silber
    "As I have repeatedly stressed, it is not the trauma itself that is the source of illness but the unconscious, repressed, hopeless despair over not being allowed to give expression to what one has suffered and the fact that one is not allowed to show and is unable to experience feelings of rage, anger, humiliation, despair, helplessness, and sadness. This causes many people to commit suicide because life no longer seems worth living if they are totally unable to live out all these strong feelings that are part of their true self. Naturally, we cannot require parents to face something they are unable to face, but we can keep confronting them with the knowledge that it was not suffering per se that made their child ill but its repression, which was essential for the sake of the parents. I have found that this knowledge often provides parents with an "aha!" experience that opens up for them the possibility of mourning, thus helping to reduce their guilt feelings." -- Alice Miller

    above excerpt from Sylvia Plath: An Example of Forbidden Suffering
    from the book For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing
    and the Roots of Violence by Alice Miller (right here from Project NoSpank in it's entirety
    "Alice Miller's writings explain a great deal that otherwise remains mystifying. In particular, her identification of the precise mechanism by means of which an authentic self is prevented from being formed allows us to see that, in the deepest sense, a genuine soul -- an "I," if you will -- never has a chance to exist in far too many instances. And crucially related to this absence is an inability to remember in a meaningful way, or often even to acknowledge, the pain that we ourselves have experienced -- and this denial then prevents us from realizing the pain of others. This lack of a self, and the obedience to authority to which that lack is tied -- since we must find guidance from some source, and if it is not ourselves, it will be some external authority -- also lets us see why people desperately hold onto ideas which they otherwise would easily see to be nonsense, whether it is an incomprehensible, contradictory, unintelligible supernatural being, or some kind of totalitarian ideology." -- Arthur Silber