An open letter to my parents….

Dear Mum and Dad

You must have thought that it all went terribly well the day that I asked the question “Why is mine different from Dad’s”? You told me that I’d had “a little operation to avoid trouble later on”.

Boarding school was an eye opener. I hated being a “Roundhead” (circumcised). How on earth had this happened to me? What had I done? Why? It is questions like these that have been spinning around in my head ever since, what a waste of a mind.

The reason for an amputation without the patient’s consent is usually “If we don’t cut it off he’s going to die” somehow you didn’t apply this rather sensible rule to my genitals. Why do you wince when my kids suggest pierced ears, tattoos and other piercings? You did not flinch at Dr M’s suggestion.

Why did you Dad not defend me did you think you were doing me a favour? Did you not even care?

Teenage years brought masturbation, which was possible with care. Female partners could easily be too rough as I had no loose skin for them to grip. That little operation removes what would grow into about 15 sq. inches of highly sensitive tissue, that is about the same area as a £5 note.

Ever since school days I have felt fundamentally flawed. Which has led me to thoughts like why should I give up smoking. It is very hard to view ones body as a temple when you can see that someone has been in and smashed one of the windows for some fresh air instead of just opening it. I have tried to make the best of it. I do hope you had no idea of what was involved. The fifteen minutes of excruciating pain with Dr M and his instruments.

Regret is one thing I know very well. I can say that there is not a day that passes when I don’t curse my misfortune in this regard. I live with intense feelings of violation. Every time I look down I see the scar, which shows me just how I have been abused.

Some people still think that the circumcision of a healthy child is not abusive, how that can be I do not know. Genital mutilation has been the cruelest thing ever done to me.

What I do not want is anyone reading this to be in any doubt that circumcision is cruel, it still hurts more than fifty years on. Here I am with clear physical evidence of a serious sexual assault and no chance of redress, is it any wonder I sound a little hysterical.

I really used to believe it was my fault that I could not accept my fate. You left me angry, confused and ashamed about the state of my genitals and that is quite a load to carry through life. I think I am an average man in almost everything. The thing about me that is not average is that I have written this down as honestly as I can. Many men have to deny their pain or remain mute but if enough men tell their stories then perhaps society will stamp out this dreadful abusive practice.

Until recently I could not have written this letter but with the support of Norm UK, my wife, family and friends I am coming to terms with the pain behind the content. I now also know that I am not mad and not alone.

Your son

If you have been affected by circumcision contact NORM UK.

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