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Male genital mutilation
Posted: 03 January 2010 01:37 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I would like to get some advice from you how to behave in my personal situation.

My wife is of arabic origin and her family wishes a circumcision of our son.
For somebody who was not born in a culture/tradition like this it seems to be a rather
barbaric primitiv middle aged and unacceptable tradition.

But how should we treat the family of my wife??
Should we lie to circumcise or should we speak the thruth??
My wife fears to be expelled from her family.

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Posted: 03 January 2010 02:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I agree that it is barbaric.  I see a number of choices:

1.  Lie.  However, it’s very likely that the family will find out causing problems later.
2. Since the woman is supposed to be subservient to her husband in their society, you may as well take advantage of it and have her tell them that her husband commanded her not to have the child circumcized, and that she must be obedient to him.  This takes the responsibility off of her.  They may dislike you, but they would have no basis to expell her.
3. If you have the assertiveness and guts to do it, you may confront them and state very strongly that in your culture circumcision is not practiced and you SHALL NOT have your male heir reduced in stature in that manner.  They may not like you, but would at least probably respect your strength.  You could even add that you have told your wife that you would disown and divorce her if she went against your order.

You may even add something like, “The function of cirumcision was to help hygiene in a prmitive society.  Since I am modern and know how to maintain genital hygiene, there is no need for this silly ritual.”

Good luck,

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Posted: 04 January 2010 05:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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...you SHALL NOT have your male heir reduced in stature in that manner.  They may not like you, but would at least probably respect your strength.

To the extent that the in-laws actually are susceptible to religious “reasoning” you might consider going a step further and utter some holy sounding words, such as “The human body is sacrosanct and it shall be a sin to mutilate it”.

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Posted: 07 January 2010 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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To the extent that the in-laws actually are susceptible to religious “reasoning” you might consider going a step further and utter some holy sounding words, such as “The human body is sacrosanct and it shall be an abomination to mutilate it”.

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Posted: 07 January 2010 12:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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romati - 03 January 2010 01:37 AM

I would like to get some advice from you how to behave in my personal situation.

My wife is of arabic origin and her family wishes a circumcision of our son.
For somebody who was not born in a culture/tradition like this it seems to be a rather
barbaric primitiv middle aged and unacceptable tradition.

But how should we treat the family of my wife??
Should we lie to circumcise or should we speak the thruth??
My wife fears to be expelled from her family.

It is BARBARIC and you should have discussed all of these issues before you got married.

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Posted: 07 January 2010 05:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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scepticeye - 07 January 2010 12:40 PM

My wife fears to be expelled from her family.

It is BARBARIC and you should have discussed all of these issues before you got married.

He actually may have discussed it with his wife before marriage, I’ll bet she was not expecting such push back from them. Telling her family that the practice is barbaric (I wholeheartedly agree) will do nothing for the relationship, they will interpret that he is calling them barbaric. I think that given their patriarchal society, that he will get further if he just says NO, and that this is his SON (which after all is much more important than a mere girl), and HE is the man of HIS house and they will follow his customs.

edited to move {quote} symbol to encompass scepticeye’s statment.  Just being helpful, Asanta.

[ Edited: 07 January 2010 05:34 PM by Occam ]
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Posted: 07 January 2010 09:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I chose to leave my son intact. I had trouble making a decision and decided to opt for the one that left him a choice later in life.

However, it’s presented a real problem as he has an issue with retracting - which confused and scared him, he woke up in pain and crying. The pediatrician checked him out and said it’s not pulling back the way it’s supposed to. She talked with him about pulling it back just a little in the shower each day while washing. No improvement in several months. Took him to a pediatric urologist, who prescribed a strong cortisone cream, which is supposed to “loosen” the skin over time. It’s made a slight difference. If it doesn’t improve further, he has to go for outpatient surgery.

Now I almost wish I had done his circumcision as an infant, when he would not recall it. The child psychologist said children who are old enough to remember the surgery, the extreme pain afterward, and the change in the appearance of their genitals are often traumatized by it. My kid is already anxious as it is, I don’t want to put him through all that, plus the risk of going under for the operation. But we may have little choice if it doesn’t improve. When he grows older, and things start really happening down there, the pain is going to become extreme. For now we continue with the cortisone for a few more weeks and then a follow up visit at the urologist.

I feel terrible about it all, however, I know that the chances of this happening to my kid were so very remote. I made the right choice at the time to leave him intact, with no possible way of knowing he’d have a problem with it later on. 

The other thing that bothers him is that he got teased a lot at summer day camp in the pool locker room. He was the only one in his camp group who was not cut. The other boys told him he had a “freaky penis.” My husband coached him on a few come-back lines to reply with, some of which I was not thrilled with the message… but sure made the kid feel better (“At least I still have all of mine!” he’d say.)

There was an interesting article, and some very interesting discussions in the comments under the article, on just this subject on Science Based Medicine today:

The case for neonatal circumcision

Regardless of if you’re for or against it, an interesting debate is going on there, with intelligent doctors and parents on both sides making their cases in the comment section.

[ Edited: 07 January 2010 09:21 PM by Jules ]
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Posted: 07 January 2010 11:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Jules, the first thing I would do is take your son to another urologist. There should be other steps you can take before you do a circumcision. A urologist should be able to correct your son’s problem with minor surgery without performing a circumcision.

I am also not a fan of circumcision, when my sons were born, I was never presented with a choice, so they were circumcised.Had they been born 10 years later, they would have been au naturale.  In all my years as a pedi/PICU/neonatal nurse, I have seen few hospitalizations of little boys for UTIs. Girls are another story. I have, however, seen what happens when circumcisions go wrong, infections and in one case where the father was following religious dictates, the baby boy almost bled to death. The father neglected to tell the doctor that an older child had a genetic bleeding disorder. If the mother had not happened to change the diaper when she did, or if she perhaps placed the infant down to sleep for the night, the baby would have died.I have seen infections with disfigurements, and there are the occasional accidental amputation. All for an unnecessary procedure. Sort of like chopping off you leg because it might develop an infection sometime in the future.
  In Europe, most men, outside of Jews and Moslems are uncircumcised. It is unfortunate that your son is being teased for having been uncircumcised. Here in California, it is more common to be uncircumcised, and not a big locker room deal. The argument about HIV and STD/STI transmission is a red herring. In the US, HIV transmission is almost always male to male. Sexually active adults should be taught the practice of safe sex as a means of protection anyway, as an important part of sex education. If circumcision were a protection against STD/STIs, sexually transmitted diseases would not have been so common in the 1960s-70s when the circumcision rate was nearly 100% in the US.

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Posted: 08 January 2010 05:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I’ll keep that in mind, and get a second opinion for him.  I’d be glad to take him for a “quick repair” rather than the entire circumcision, which would be more traumatic for him. smile

Yes, I also do not agree with using the practice to “guard” against STD. It just seems so drastic when education and safe sex could also prevent STD. Even if the infection rate is cut by about half, it’s cut MUCH more by condom use.

I did enjoy some of the commentary under that SBM article, though. A great discussion and some great comments.

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Posted: 08 January 2010 07:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Jules - 07 January 2010 09:17 PM

He was the only one in his camp group who was not cut. The other boys told him he had a “freaky penis.” My husband coached him on a few come-back lines to reply with, some of which I was not thrilled with the message… but sure made the kid feel better (“At least I still have all of mine!” he’d say.)

`
That’s a GREAT comeback :)  Big kudos to your hubby there!

Plus, it’s hard to deny the basic fact that, when it comes to pleasure, having more nerve endings rather than less is (as Martha would say) a good thing :)

`

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Posted: 08 January 2010 10:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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asanta - 07 January 2010 11:21 PM

...when my sons were born, I was never presented with a choice

I still remember being in hospital recovering from my c-section, when the attending pediatrician walked in with my son’s chart and said, exact words, “So you DON’T want a circumcision? Well (long pause) I guess that is OK, if that is what you really want.”

As if I was abnormal - he was so puzzled by the fact that I did not want that for my child. He was nice about it, he was just puzzled.

It used to be long ago that in the U.S., mostly lower income children (whose parents could not pay for the procedures) and children of immigrants where circumcision is not common, were the majority of kids without the procedure. Now more and more middle and upper class families are choosing not to. But for a long time, and still in many cases, well-to-do parents think it will make their child look unclean or low-class. Like a pedigree dog without its ears and tail cropped, perhaps? I don’t understand it really. But friends of mine who have sons, it’s mostly been their husbands who freak out and insist the boys are cut, while the mom has been rather neutral on the idea.

There is even a movement by some Jewish families to stop circumcision - they want to avoid the procedure yet still remain in good graces with their religious leaders, which has gotten a mixed reaction for various families, depending on how conservative their congregation.

I was surprised to discover that Medicaid pays for circumcisions in many states. Our tax dollars, cutting up babies! I think that if the parents want it, they should pay unless it is medically necessary, for severe retraction issues or other medical conditions.

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Posted: 08 January 2010 10:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Jules - 08 January 2010 10:11 AM

I was surprised to discover that Medicaid pays for circumcisions in many states. Our tax dollars, cutting up babies! I think that if the parents want it, they should pay unless it is medically necessary, for severe retraction issues or other medical conditions.

I live in the California bay area..very liberal. In the neonatal unit where I work, few of the boys are circumcised. Our Neonatalogists present them with the facts pro and con, and refer them out to have it done. They no longer do it. The reasoning is that it is a medically unnecessary procedure (we also had a ‘dad’ strenuously insisting on a DNA test to prove the child was his, we refused to do that as well. The jerk will have to pay out of pocket for this medically unnecessary ‘treatment’). When I was working in the PICU (it has been a while) a large enough number of the boys were uncircumcised that it was not a surprise.

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Posted: 08 January 2010 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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If I recall correctly, the procedure became popular in America after religious leaders declared that it prevented masturbation. This pleased parents because at the time, they thought masturbation caused horrible physical and mental illness. So this had a lot to do with the image of “clean vs. dirty.”

Of course people who practice the female equivalent state similar things, that un-cut women are dirty, prone to be hyper-sexed, and apt to carry disease. Women of higher caliber have their vagina sliced off and sewn shut. So why are we now outraged by it happening to women, but not boys?

Some claim it is because of the older age of the girls, that they are awake for it, and that sewing shut can cause infections. But not all girls have the sewing shut. Some just have the labia removed, which is more akin to a boy having a foreskin removed. But we are still OUTRAGED by girls having their labia removed! Why is the procedure OK for boys but not girls? Makes you think.

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Posted: 08 January 2010 03:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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When my wife was pregnant I mentioned to the doctor that if it was a boy, I didn’t want him circumcized.  This was 56 years ago.  The doctor said it was required by the state.  This really micturated me off, so I said, “Well, I guess both you and California will be defendants in the malpractice suit I file.”  We had a girl, we changed doctors, and I later found out he was lying.

Jules, I had the same problem as your son when I was about five.  The doctor just pushed back the foreskin as hard as he could.  There was a fair amount of pain and bleeding, but he had warned me of that.  My mother, kept it retracted and made sure it didn’t get infected. It healed with no further problems.

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Posted: 08 January 2010 06:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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OUCH! Hopefully if that needs to be done by the doctor, it can be done under a light anesthesia. What is it called, “twilight” anesthesia? That would be best I think! Or they could give him some sort of sedative pill beforehand.

If I have a painful medical procedure, or dental procedure, I ask for a prescription for one Valium pill, which I take about 45 minutes before the procedure. Life is short, it should be without pain! I’ve never had a doctor or dentist say no to that request. After all it’s only one pill, it’s not like I’m requesting a bottle full of them.

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Posted: 08 January 2010 07:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Jules - 08 January 2010 06:46 PM

OUCH! Hopefully if that needs to be done by the doctor, it can be done under a light anesthesia. What is it called, “twilight” anesthesia? That would be best I think! Or they could give him some sort of sedative pill beforehand.

If I have a painful medical procedure, or dental procedure, I ask for a prescription for one Valium pill, which I take about 45 minutes before the procedure. Life is short, it should be without pain! I’ve never had a doctor or dentist say no to that request. After all it’s only one pill, it’s not like I’m requesting a bottle full of them.

Ask if they can use EMLA cream first. If they put it on and wait a couple of hours, he shouldn’t be able to feel a thing. They can also give him a small dose of versed, which is an amnesiac.

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