Letter to the Editor,
The Daily Yomiuri,
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8055
I found nurse Ann Endo's article "Circumcision: Cutting to the chase" (April 17th) interesting and informative. Yet, it never ceases to astound me how calmly and openly the topic of male genital mutilation can be discussed without protesting voices being raised. I feel enraged that male circumcision even continues to be tolerated, practiced, advocated and defended - as in America, where this kind of sexual abuse remains widespread and routine.
We periodically hear loud voices passionately condemning the practice of female circumcision - excision of parts or all of the labia and/or clitoris - as a gross and barbaric custom (not to mention a grave human rights crime) which remains common in many African nations. But when the topic of male genital mutilation comes up there is no such passionate opposition. Why is that? Is it because of the ideological weight of sanctioned religious traditions, or the inertia of conservative institutions, or just obstinate stupidity? Endo herself states that of the medical explanations given in defense of continuing to circumcise helpless, mostly young male victims (in the United States, at least), "none of these ... are convincing."
I suggest that any parents contemplating circumcision for their sons, and any medical professionals advocating it or counseling it, ought swiftly to be brought up on the severest of sexual abuse, child endangerment and neglect criminal charges. I would like to invite people to regard the sexes in a similar manner from the perspective of genital integrity. In the end, it might just be better for us all if we kept our minds out of each other's genitals.
Published on Saturday, April 24, 2004 as “Male circumcision a form of child abuse.”
I am adamant on this point. That male circumcision does not rob males of the potential for sexual pleasure the way that female circumcision does girls and women is beside the point. The point is that we are beautiful just as God made us and any alteration of this nature fairly qualifies as“mutilation.” So I want to highlight the patent dishonesty that exists in the pretension that cutting the foreskin off is NOT mutilation.
I was very gratified to read the Friday, June 29, 2012 Japan Times story “Circumcision is assault, court rules.” The regional court in Cologne, Germany ruled that the “fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents.” The court was reported to have ruled that the religious rights of the parents would not be unduly indringed by the requirement to postpone a procedure like circumcision until the child is of an age of consent. Thank God!