I was very happy when I read the June 29, 2012 Japan Times story “Circumcision is assault, court rules” reporting that the regional court in Cologne, Germany had recently condemned juvenile male circumcision as an assault, resulting in “grievous bodily harm,” and that the “fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents” - meaning the parents’ right freely to practice their religion’s genital-mutilating rituals without the consent of the victim. I am in complete agreement.
Naturally a backlash was to be expected. So it was reported in The Japan Times July 11, 2012 “German circumcision ban slammed” by an Israeli government committee. Then on Saturday, July 21, 2012 The Daily Yomiuri newspaper here reported in “German parliament defends circumcision” the German legislature’s approval of a resolution condemning the Cologne court’s ruling.
It reminds me of the May 8, 2011 Japan Times story “‘Circumcision party’ held in Philippines”describing a culture and a community gone temporarily criminally insane with demented phallic blood lust unleashed on young boys in the “pagpapatuli” event in Marikina City, near Manila.
It bothers me greatly that modern advanced societies condemn female genital mutilation, but not male genital mutilation. So I was quite pleased in late June with news of the Colognecourt’s ruling that the procedure represents “grievous bodily harm” of non-consenting, underage victims. Of course it does! The court’s position was that the young boys’ human right to protection of their physical integrity outweighed, at least for a time, their parents’ right to practice their religious or cultural rites. So what I want to hear from circumcision advocates is how the procedure is not an assault. The usual arguments that male circumcision is an antique and revered sacred custom and that it does not deprive grown men of satisfying sexual lives are beside the point. And, the argument of medical benefits in the form of hygiene and AIDS prevention remain unconvincing at best. The point is genital integrity and the rights of sovereign individuals to their whole selves.
Male circumcision is a genital mutilation because it renders boys less than whole by robbing them of their full complement of natural equipment. Equality of the sexes demands that males’ right to genital integrity be congruent with that of females. Hence any artificial or elective excisions in that area deserve strict legal oversight.
It is almost ridiculous to hear circumcised men defending and even boasting about their surgery. They seem like incomplete men to me eulogizing a physical deficiency.
But I could be wrong.