Do Babies Feel Pain? This one does

This photo says more than any doctor, nurse, or parent could about the human rights violation that male genital mutilation entails.

Prior to this awful device crushing the foreskin, the other clamp that is hanging off to the side was used to ream around inside the foreskin to separate the skin from the glans. The newborn foreskin is adhered to the glans like your fingernail is adhered to the finger. That procedure is pure torture, too.

28 thoughts on “Do Babies Feel Pain? This one does

  1. It just boggles my mind that people still do this to little boys. I’m so proud to say my boys are whole and haven’t been mutilated. In a society where if you sewed a little girls genitals closed you’d be punished by the law we still allow this is disgusting and despicable. Foreskin is there for a reason otherwise we as a species would have (through natural evolution) would have gotten rid of it. How a parent could sit through such a procedure and watch their little boy be terrorized, traumatized and deformed is beyond me.

  2. I don’t understand how a magical, superstitious blood-ritual has become intertwined with medicine.

    How can someone who calls himself a “doctor” even be performing this?

    But worst of all, how is it that people can see what is happening before their very eyes, and deny it?

    How is it that people can say:

    “He feels no pain.”

    “He’s not even crying.”
    (as the child is screaming his lungs out)

    “He’s crying because he’s cold.”
    (yeah. it has absouletly nothing to do with the fact that the child’s genitals are being mutilated.)

    “It’s just a little snip.” (That takes 15-20 minutes)

    What a tragedy.

  3. That poor, poor little boy. =[ Why is this still being done?!?! It’s sickening and cruel.

    -Proud mama of a happy, healthy intact 8 month old.

  4. Raw sexual violence, perpetrated on little baby.

    The name sounds vaguely Moslem. To circumcise in infancy is not Moslem tradition. Doing it infancy is emerging in the Islamic world, encouraged by American practice.

  5. I am so glad that my son will never have a picture like this in his baby book. My heart hurts for these children that can’t speak the words “Don’t do this to me”

  6. I have been posting an average of 2 links about circumcision a day. I don’t think we can be too graphic or too aggressive in telling the truth about genital mutilation. It has to stop and telling the truth is our only hope.

  7. Garden Pheenix Says:
    July 18th, 2010 at 3:56 am e
    Advocacy & guilt – I was wondering, I am staunchly against circumcision in both boys and girls, but standing up and advocating against male circumcision has the potential to seriously offend not only my close girlfriends who have circ’ed their babies, but men who are circ’ed and are offended that I take such a strong view against it. How do you handle these two situations when you advocate against circumcision? I am not interested in guilting mothers who have already had this procedure performed on their children, but desperate to raise awareness and stop the assumptions and misinformation surrounding male circumcision. Your thoughts are welcome!

  8. Its difficult when you are morally right but dont want to offend you just try and be as diplomatic as possible? eg. “I believe your decision 2 circumcise your son was done w best intentions and love at heart, but let me be devils advocate for a moment, what if a dominant cultural pratcice creates myths around its pratcices, demonises what it isnt familiar with such as the foreskin and minimizes the harms of circumcision? Why is it that intact Europe has the lowest STI’s & HIV in the western world and circumcision america has the highest rates? Did you know in intact cultures the forreskin is recognised as a functional sexual organ and it is considered medically unethical to perform circumcision on a non-consenting infant…………………” Along those lines can be both caring yet challenging!

  9. Regarding advocacy…you will offend someone along the way. Possibly lots of someones. Here is the thing…nobody thought about the babies feelings before they sexually tortured that baby. As for mothers who did this unknowing, yes you want to get to them, they may have more sons, and when you know better, you do better. Regarding men, I try and be gentle. As with my own spouse I had to tell him over and over again reassuring him that I love him, and his penis, regardless of his scar. That it wasn’t about his penis. With grown men the choice was taken from them, it does not need to be taken from the next generation.
    If I offend 20 people but save 1 baby from this torture then I have done well.
    You will be surprised though. I have been an intactivist for a long time. I fought in court and won to keep my first son intact ( Just that case alone has saved many little boys. Did it offend some, I am sure it did. But they are adults who are capable of choice. Babies are not. My son was not.
    Please don’t ever quiet yourself about this. If there is some offense taken then perhaps that is a good thing, it may open the door to research, and in turn truth.
    This needs to stop. Innocent babies do not have the words to say stop, therefor we must help them. We must be their voices. If we do not, then who will?
    Just because they are boys doesn’t give them less rights to genital integrity.
    Momma to 3 whole little boys.

  10. This is such a painful picture to look at. 🙁 And the comments on the actual flicker photo are astounding….especially those talking about how they believe this will keep him from cancers and disease.

    Question: Besides the horrific practice being proudly displayed, isn’t posting this picture with full name a serious privacy issue for the child?

  11. 2Shaye – I would agree, but at the same time, since it was posted by his mother, I’d expect that she has chosen to use it as a teaching tool. Similarly, I have one son who is circed and one who is not. Although I don’t have pics of the surgery, I use the fact that I made this mistake as an example. I truly believe that my oldest will be glad *he* made a difference in other little boys’ lives!

    Walking that fine line is hard. Some people take a very agressive stand. While I admire it, I know it also causes many people to turn a deaf ear. Others need to see such passion to listen. I personally try to speak with all my passion, while still remaining compassionate toward others. As stated, I know that most people make each parenting decision based in love for their child – even if they are taught to be ignorant of the facts and even if their decisions are not the same as mine.

  12. I am thankful that in canada, the circumcision trend is going downward. many mainstream doctors and organizations recommend against circumcision. that makes it a lot easier to speak about than some other issues I believe in (ie homebirth). the facts and even the medical professionals are mostly on your side in this one. no fear.

    if my first child had been a boy, and if my husband were circumcised, I would have had that child circ’d because at that time (only 4.5 years ago) I thought that the son should “match” the dad. I never thought anything of it. my dad and brother are circ’d.

    Im so glad I figured it out in time to save my two sons.

    tell people the truth. it’s just facts!

  13. I was young and ignorant when I gave birth to my son, many years ago. The nurse came to me, clipboard in hand, and asked if I wanted my son to be circumcised. I had never thought of it before then, but I knew my husband was, so I said, “Yeah, I guess so.” Of all the incredibly stupid things I have done in my life, I think this was one of the worst and the one I regret the most. The surgery left the delicate little tip of his penis unprotected, and after two years of diapers rubbing against it, I’m sure the sensitivity was vastly reduced. I suppose that is the religious basis for circumcision, since sexual pleasure is abhorrent to many religions.

    When my son was an adult, he married a woman who mocked his “deformed” organ, and wondered aloud how his mother could have done such a horrible thing to him. This made him very bitter towards me, and it was difficult for him to forgive me, although I tried to explain that, at the time of his birth, I was simply ignorant of the consequences. I also mentioned that most boys in America at that time were subjected to the same travesty.

    I am so glad that the practice is less popular that it was then. When my two grandsons were born, I convinced their mother (my daughter) to let them remain intact. I am very, very happy that she listened to me.

  14. Dani, I sent your blog link to all my intactivist groups this morning and asked the people to leave comments. You have said it so well. Thanks for linking to me, too.

  15. Circumcision is fully legally protected, despite being so obviously wrong.. People are purposefully kept ignorant of the facts because there is much money to be made.

    “It’s just a little flap of skin.”
    “It’s just a blob of tissue.”
    “It’s for the best.”
    “It won’t hurt him.”
    “He won’t remember.”

    Not only do doctors rake in the dough for their time spent permanently harming babies, foreskins are a valuable commodity. They are even being used as a new botox alternative!!!

    It is beyond cruel and barbaric to rip off and sever part of a newborn’s healthy penis. We must keep sharing the truth. Once people know, they will likewise be abhorred and spare their sons this agony.

    I try to gently inform others on this and many other issues, that all seem so normal and natural to me, but controversial in our society. I think we have the best chance of influencing others when we are kind and non-confrontational.

    This is such a hot button topic as it affects everyone. All my male relatives (and in law family) are cut. I would have been had I been a boy. Only my gender saved me. However, my sister and I have all intact sons.

    It is so easy to cause someone to get defensive about this. Who wants to realize what they did to their precious, perfect baby? Gently sharing information as opportunities arise is, I think, much more effective than being judgmental towards people. I feel like the poster above, I don’t want to cause anyone guilt for a past action, but I desperately want to inform others to spare future babies.

    I’m using the internet to share information, but still don’t have the nerve to ask pregnant women I know (unless I know them well) if they plan to cut and share info accordingly.

    Of all the controversial issues I tackle, I feel this one to be the most hot button topic of them all. I post tons of homebirth links on Facebook for instance, but only a few on circumcision, and I’m always petrified when I do. I’ve told myself it’s worth upsetting people if it saves just one baby.

  16. I know this won’t make me popular, given the subject-matter of this blog, but I think there is another side of the story that should be considered. Setting aside the fact that two of the world’s leading religions mandate male circumcision, and hence there are many believers who consider it an obligation for themselves to have undergone the procedure and to ensure it is done for their sons, there are also the medical factors to be borne in mind.

    Contrary to some of the assertions on this blog, the removal of the foreskin in infancy has been demonstrated to result in much lower incidence of urinary tract infections, the HPV virus, penile cancer and HIV infection and transmission. It also prevents phimosis and balanitis.

    While the boy in the picture may indeed be experiencing a certain amount of short-term pain, this should be put in the context of the benefits, which will be with him – and any future partners – for a lifetime.

    • Circumcision cannot be justified with religion or health benefits. It is surgical rape on a child. It is the removal of a body part on someone unable to consent. It is a human rights violation. Every health “benefit” is a myth. A child cannot be forced any religion by having his penis cut. Religion is a personal choice and so is circumcision. Personal means the individual, not his parents or community. No health organization in the world recommends circumcision.

    • Emma, please read the information in the links gloria posted below. You are incredibly misinformed! RIC has NOT been associated with a decrease in any STD transmission.

      Some studies have seemed to demonstrate that ADULT circumcision may reduce the rate of certain STD’s, but these studies have been questionable. And there have been just as many studies refuting these “findings”.

      Please, please, please do some real research and stop buying into what the media wants you to believe!

  17. Emma, I’ve put your comment up to demonstrate the misinformation that still circulates about male genital mutilation. Just like the eyelid, the foreskin is there to protect and keep moist an essential part of the human body. All of the urinary tract, HIV, penile cancer, HPV, phimosis, and balanitis silliness has been answered and refuted by people a lot smarter than me. Spend some time researching each and every one of those items on the website Doctors Opposing Circumcision.
    While you’re there, spend the time to watch a teaching film for medical students on the anatomy and physiology of the male penis. It will change your mind.

    You don’t mention in your justifications that there is a medical complication that affects one in ten cut boys: meatal stenosis. This is a closure of the “pee hole” which must be remedied by opening surgically. Meatal stenosis only happens in cut boys. We are now faced with antibiotic resistant infections which can lead to death or deformity—how can we justify unnecessary surgery of any kind? Are you aware that hundreds of boys died from genital mutilation every year around the world? What could justify that?
    There is no excuse for genital abuse.

  18. I’m so glad I had a girl. I had no idea it was that painful…before I found out the gender of my baby, the doctors just told me about how circumcision prevents infections, makes cleaning easier, and they’re too young to remember the pain anyway. From what they had told me, if I had a boy and didn’t research it more, I would have gotten him circumcised.

    But that little boy’s heartbreaking face says so much more.

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