Statement on foreskin circumcision
(Published on August 15, 2014)
We, the undersigned, have been 'cut'. There are manifold reasons for this. For some, religious or cultural ritual motifs played a role, while others had so-called 'medical' reasons. Some of us face every day with a body that was mutilated after their feeling. They had to accept the fact that their sexual experience is severely limited in part. They face the fact that they must live with modified sex organs without insightful reasons, with aching in part and scars perceived as disfiguring. But also they among us who feel the intervention not as so disfiguring, had faced their physical and sexual development with significant disadvantages, complexes and problems, which they sought to compensate for them in various ways.
What unites us is that we do not feel our circumcision as harmless or beneficial intervention, but as a physical change that we could not choose, that is felt by us - in varying intensity - as harmful, and that has created problems for us in many ways.
We do not intend to consider all men per se as mutilated, whose foreskin has been amputated without their consent. However, we insist to be able to articulate our own feelings. Whether one (man) defends himself against it or not: facts cannot be discussed away. You can put your head in the sand, then you cannot see them. But just because one (man) himself is not affected by restrictions, that does not mean that there are NO OTHER affected ones at all.
Some people like to use the comparison of medical indicated interventions, such as the removal of the Appendix worm process or wisdom teeth, with the often completely nonsensical, not medically indicated, hurtful removal of the foreskin. We perceive this as unrealistic. The 'appendix operation' usually is done in a medical emergency case, and therefore is beyond any doubt to its medical indication sublime. To pull wisdom teeth is e.g. used to protect the other teeth or to eliminate pain. Moreover, this surgery is usually developed in adulthood, not in childhood where children cannot consent. In both cases, no functional body is removed, as is certainly the case with foreskin amputation.
Many affected men suffer from mental health problems, which they attribute to their circumcision. This is not to say, foreskin amputation was the only possible reason for psychological impairments. However, it is important to us, to recognize and accept mental limitations and problems as a result of genital mutilation. Of course it is no forced circumcision when a man decides on his own free will and in full knowledge of the possible consequences of a foreskin amputation to have this done on his own body. The same is true when a medical indication makes a circumcision inevitable. But we could not even decide for the amputation of our foreskins, nore were there compelling medical reasons for many of us.
Some of us have the impression of a humilating precedure in memory, carried out against our own will, so that we see the term 'forced circumcision' as accurate and appropriate in many cases. Our opinion is that the not medically indicated procedure in spite of § 1631d BGB still violates the human right to bodily integrity and the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. The assessment that this law is not in conformity with the German Basic Law is represented by an increasing number of criminal and constitutional lawyers.
The removal of the foreskin of a boy creates facts that are irreversible, which should be evident for every thinking and feeling person. We refuse to trivialize things and to gloss over. Instead, we will call them by their names and clarify what they really are. The perceived devaluaton is certainly unfortunate for those affected, and of course they can also express this devaluation. However, this does not mean that other affected ones indeed feel 'forced', 'mutilated' and 'cheated'.
We keep the feeling of some people, that something was stolen from them, for legitimate and understandable. No one must take this assessment for themselves. How other men perceive the loss of their foreskin, is their own affair completely.
Historically, the removal of the foreskin was very well accompanied for a long time with the intention to take away something from someone, namely the sexual sensitivity, which is without doubt comprehensible in the relevant literature dating back centuries. We also believe that those are clearly too easy there, if they hold genital mutilation of girls and boys 'circumcision' for incomparable. It is commonly understood that circumcision of the female genitals always is done in its most serious form, the so-called 'pharaonic' circumcision. However, this undifferentiated approach does not meet the complexity of the issue. The WHO has classified FGM into four classes, where Type A also includes the mere scratching of the Prepuce of the clitoris or removing it. ALL forms of circumcision of the female genitals, including those who are demonstrably less or at least as invasive as the removal of the highly sensitive penis foreskin, are rightly outlawed worldwide and also prohibited by law in many countries.
The so-called "circumcision" of boys, however, will continue as necessary and deserving part of the free exercise of religion, as cultural tradition or because medical myths all over the world tolerate and dismiss it as harmless. We defend ourselves against this scandalous inequality, even if some apparently or actually satisfied, circumcised man is incomfortable with our protests. The fact that also the mutilation of male genitals may be classified into different degrees of severity, is also like being ignored. So the operational possibilities range from the completely prepuce-sparing dorsal cut to the extremely debilitating radical circumcision "Low&Tight", in which not only the important 'grooved band' and the complete inner foreskin, but also the highly sensitive frenulum be removed entirely. To trivialize all the different styles and circumcision species of as circumcision for simplicity, we consider simply naive.
Circumcisions of the genitals - except those medically strictly indicated - are neither 'natural' for boys nor for girls, why they represent bodily injuries in both cases, regardless of their (in turn always individually and therefore subjectively) perceived or defined severity.
Worldwide, tens of thousands men deal with the so-called "restoring", which means the recovery of their foreskin by stretching the remaining penis skin for years. Alone the two most important suppliers, TLC and DTR, send approximately 6,500 units annually, according to their own disclosures; adding about 10 new customers per day. Do all these men take these years of torture on themselves, though they are all happy and satisfied with their situation? THE FACT that around 70% of the Germans refuse the regulation of the circumcision practice by § 1631d BGB should give pause to anyone who thinks circumcisionis something quite harmless, self-evident, normal.
We welcome the public discussion on the relevance of "circumcision" of boys who cannot consent as a completely normal and wanted thing for a democratic state, that serves to exchange experiences and knowledge, the opinion of the population and hopefully soon also that of their representatives. NORMAL and NATURAL is the not injured, healthy, intact penis. Who claims or suggests to his children something else, lies to his children and possibly themselves. Who as a circumcised man subjectively does not feel as hurt and finds no disadvantages or limitations, may be lucky. Men who suffer from their disadvantages and limitations and speak publicly on these, should receive the empathy and understanding that they deserve.
- Hannes Moser, A. Bachl, V. Schiering, Tayfun Aksoy, Önder Özgeday, Mario Lichtenheldt, Werner Sasse, Mathias Winter, Holger Fehmel, Jürgen Warntin
"Mutilation" describes the detrimental, radical change of the body by external influences. The term may denote both the process and the outcome. Mutilation may be associated with loss of function or key components. The separation of a part of a body is called 'amputation' (lat. amputare: 'cut off all around'). A 'part of a body' refers to a recognizable morphologically functional unit of the body segment.