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News items are copied to Circumstitions News blog (which takes comments)
- thanks to Joseph4GI
The Star Online (Malaysia)
December 27, 2016
Boy loses penis during botched laser circumcision
by Jastin Ahmad Tarmizi
KAJANG: A routine circumcision for a 10-year-old boy went horribly wrong when his penis was severed during a laser-based procedure at a clinic in Taman Cheras Utama here.
It is learnt that the incident occurred at about 8.15pm on Dec 20 at the clinic during the surgery, which was performed using a laser scalpel.
Soon after the procedure, the doctor told the father of the boy that he had accidentally cut off the head of his son's penis.
The boy was rushed to the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital (HUKM), which then referred him to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) for surgery to reattach the head of his penis.
The father of the boy lodged a police report at HKL upon advice from a doctor there.
It is learnt that the doctor who performed the initial surgery has 21 years of experience and is a graduate from the University of Karachi in Pakistan.
It is learnt that the clinic, which has been operating for 15 years, is not registered with the Health Ministry.
The doctor has since lodged a report over the incident, admitting that an accident had occurred during the procedure.
When contacted, Kajang OCPD Asst Comm Othman Nanyan confirmed that the incident had indeed taken place.
December 25, 2016
Boy fights for manhood after botched circumcision
by Dalton Nyabund
A 10-year-old boy risks losing his genitals after a medical circumcision went awry.
In a classic case of professional negligence, doctors now say [name] from [place] may require grafting, following botched circumcision at Vihiga County Hospital.
When The Standard on Sunday visited the Standard Four pupil and his mother at Kisumu’s St Monica Hospital where he had been referred to yesterday, he was in great pain as doctors tried to treat the wound.
A tube connected to his crotch leads to a tube sitting between his legs. The urinary catheter is perhaps the only indication that all is not well with the cheerful boy with a singsong voice.
Dr Hillary Awuor, St Monica Hospital’s administrator, says the only way to save the genital now is through grafting, but the wound must first be treated. He said the penis had lost sensation.
“The grafting cannot be done on a raw wound. The wound has to show some signs of healing and resolution,” said Awour.
Grafting in this case is a surgical procedure where skin will be removed from one part of [name]’s body and used to replace the damaged penile skin.
Dr Awuor said although there are complications associated with this kind of surgery. The surgeon was hopeful that it would work.
The boy’s mother, [name], said she walked into Vihiga County Hospital with her son on November 2 and paid Sh1, 000 for a procedure most of his agemates in Luhya land were undergoing bravely.
The nurse who performed the surgery wrongly sliced the foreskin and as soon as the procedure was complete, the wound started swelling. But, the nurse dismissed this as normal and prescribed a few drugs that would take care of it.
It occurred to Ms [name] that her only child may have been wrongly sliced when the other boys were healing, yet her son’s was becoming septic with pus oozing from the sinuses around the penis.
“He cried throughout the process and the nurse said it was normal. The next day his penis started swelling and two days later, it developed blisters but the nurse kept telling me it was normal. He just asked me to give him the drugs he had prescribed,” narrated Ms [name].
About a month later, the wound was getting worse. The pain the boy felt on his crotch had suddenly died down. The wound was rotting. So she went back to the same hospital to seek further care and answers.
She was referred to a surgeon of the hospital who agreed that the procedure was wrongly done. The wound had developed dead debris and smelly, abnormal growth around it.
[name] was immediately admitted to the surgical ward, awaiting a corrective surgery. But since the wound was septic, the surgeon first cleaned it and removed the dead tissue, a process called debridement.
She was directed to bathe him with warm, salty water for four days for the wound to heal before the plastic surgery could be done.
On December 5 when the surgery was due, however, doctors in public hospitals downed tools and they were abandoned.
December 15, 2016
Deaths from botched circumcision climb to 23 in S. Africa
CAPE TOWN, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- At least 23 people have died from botched circumcision during the summer initiation season in South Africa, authorities said Wednesday.
The deaths occurred despite the "Zero Deaths" campaign launched by the government, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs said ...
In winter and summer initiation seasons of 2015, approximately 101 initiates lost their lives, most in the Eastern Cape, and in the last 10 years there has been an estimated 1,000 penile amputations.
December 15, 2016
Circumcisers in Kuria embark on door-to-door forceful circumcision
by George Juma For Citizen Digital
Police in Kuria East Sub County have vowed to take punitive measures against elders and circumcisers in the region who have embarked on a door-to-door forceful traditional cut for both males and females. ["Forceful circumcision" is a double euphemism. It would be better called "rape by knife".]
The circumcisers and the elders, also known as Wazee wa Kimila, reportedly move door-to-door fishing out the girls and boys who are yet to face the cut and ferrying them forcefully for circumcision at established places.
Speaking to Citizen Digital, Kuria East Sub County Deputy County Commissioner Mr Westly Koech said that so far they have arrested several people linked to the outlawed exercise during their ongoing anti-FGM operations in the region.
On Monday, Mr Koech said they arrested three suspects who were found moving door-to-door harassing the family of the uncircumcised individuals and have put them behind bars.
He said the group of circumcisers and the elders are crisscrossing the sub county on a motorbike looking for uncircumcised people and forcing them to undergo the cut.
The DCC said old men who had been circumcised at health facilities are also being forced to undergo the traditional cut, adding that police on Monday rescued an old man who was being ferried on a motorcycle for circumcision.
Mr Koech has issued a stern warning to the circumcisers and any other person linked to FGM in Kuria or forceful circumcision for men in the region saying that they are not going to spare them in the ongoing crackdown in the region.
He further faulted the victims of such harassment saying that most of them are not willing to come to the station to record statements to enable police to take action. He, however, assured that they are pursuing the suspects.
The Citizen (South Africa)
December 7, 2016
Summer initiation death toll rises to nine
by Steven Tau
Chairperson for the national initiation task team, Inkosi Sipho Mahlangu, said nine deaths were recorded in the Eastern Cape.
One initiate died last week and eight this week.
“The exact causes of the deaths are still being investigated,” Mahlangu said.
“In the previous seasons, some initiates bled to death and died as a result of dehydration due to excessive heat.
“We have since met with all key role players in Gauteng and agreed that this year’s initiations be put on hold.
December 5, 2016
Why the cutting of a woman's clitoris is so prevalent in Indonesia
Female genital mutilations is a widespread practice in the 4th most populous nation in the world. Here's why.
by Ayunda Nurvitasari
The perception that females must be circumcised like males, as well as religious belief, social pressure, and encouragement from health workers are behind the rampant practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Indonesia, a new research reveals. ["like males" takes male cutting for granted, but many of the same arguments deployed here can equally well be used against it.]
Conducted by Hivos Southeast Asia, an organization that focuses on global development, and the Center for Gender and Sexuality Study at the University of Indonesia, the research found that among mothers who have had FGM procedure done to their daughters, 97.1% believe circumcision is a must for both male and female. About the same percentage of the respondents also said that they believe the practice has a strong religious justification, and that they did it because it is considered a cultural tradition practiced by most of the people they know.
The study, which was unveiled last week, found that up to 61% of girls underwent female genital mutilation (FGM) before they turned one year old. It also identified a predominant perception that uncircumcised girls will be alienated because they are considered filthy and will grow up promiscuous and unwanted.
The report was based on in-depth interviews, literary reviews, focus group discussions and surveys conducted in Medan, North Sumatera; Sumenep, East Java; Ketapang, West Kalimantan; Bima, West Nusa Tenggara; Polewali Mandar, West Sulawesi; Gorontalo; and Ambon, Maluku. Held in January 2015 to April 2015, the study involves 700 respondents, half of whom are mothers who had the FGM procedure done to their daughters. The remaining half did not opt for the procedure.
The WHO (World Health Organization) determines female genital mutilation (known as “sunat perempuan” in Indonesia) as a very dangerous practice because it can cause severe bleeding, urinating problems, infections and many other complications, while giving no health benefits at all. The practice is considered a violation of human’s rights to girls and women.
However, the study recorded that up to 90% of Indonesian mothers believe that FGM will make their daughters healthier. A total of 84.6% also believe female genital mutilation can make their daughters’ vagina cleaner, 55.4% believe it will enhance their daughters’ fertility, and 54.6% believe it will control their daughters’ sexual drive.
In addition to false assumptions regarding the health impacts of FGM, the respondents practice FGM due to religious beliefs and social pressure. Up to 88% of the respondents believe that not circumcising their daughters would make them sinners, and as much as 36% believe that FGM will make it easier for their daughters to find a husband.
Based on their educational backgrounds, the highest number of mothers who circumcised their daughters are high school graduates at 32.3%, followed by elementary school graduates at 26.6%, and junior high school graduates at 23.7%. At least 9.4% of mothers who practice FGM have a bachelor’s degree.
Half of the mothers who have their daughters circumcised believe the procedure involves injuring the tip of the clitoris. About 36.6% sees it as cutting a small part of clitoris, 9.1% believes it involves wiping the clitoris with antiseptic, and 1.1% sees FGM as the piercing or scraping of vagina.
The WHO categorizes FGM into 4 types, two of which are commonly practiced in Indonesia.
One of the common practice in Indonesia is clitoridectomy, which is the partial or total removal of the clitoris or the fold skin surrounding the clitoris (the prepuce). In Indonesia, this can be found in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, where the procedure involves cutting the tip of the clitoris that they called “isi noi.” In other areas in the country, such as Ambon, the same procedure entails a partial removal in the size of “biji padi” (a grain of rice).
The most common form of FGM in Indonesia, which was found in 6 out of 7 areas surveyed, is what the WHO categorizes as type 4. It involves injuring the vagina until it bleeds a little, scraping the clitoris until it shows blood on the surface, or pinching the clit with small knife to extract the white “haram” part – a practice called “cubit kodo”.
Other than these two, female circumcision in Indonesia is merely a “symbolic” practice that does not involve cutting the vagina – practices like wiping the clitoris with cotton and dab the cotton with antiseptic to symbolize blood, a practice that is common in West Kalimantan and East Java. In Gorontalo the procedure involves touching the clitoris with a small knife; in some areas, there is even no touching of the genital involved.
More than half of the FGM procedures is conducted by dukun bayi (baby shaman) and a quarter is done by dukun sunat (circumcision shaman), while 17 percent of midwives and 0.9 percent of doctors conducted the procedure, the study shows.
The danger lies in the fact that the tools used for the procedures are not always hygienic.
Dr. Johanna Debora Imelda, a member of the research team at the Center for Gender and Sexuality Study UI, listed some of the tools used in the procedures, from small knives, razor blades to eyebrow scissors.
“The small knife being used is usually considered sacred, so it is not washed for years, often ending up rusty,” she said during the launch of the report.
In the report a girl from Bima testified about her experience: “I was 6 years old and I felt so afraid that I cried. I didn’t have the courage to look at it. It bled for two days, so I was treated with traditional medicine. Then I was told to bathe in the sea. After the circumcision it felt painful when I peed.”
She recalled her friends’ experiences: “One of my friends was too afraid that she moved a lot during the process. She bled a lot like a woman in childbirth. Another one was so afraid to have it done after hearing of others’ experiences, so her parents persuaded her by buying her gifts so she would agree to the procedure,” the girl explained.
Social and cultural
Johanna says the practice of FGM is deeply embedded in Indonesian culture, although female circumcision is not mentioned in the Quran. The study found that society sees the practice as sacred and that it is the parents’ responsibility to have their daughters circumcised.
Support and pressure from family, neighbors, religious figures and health practitioners contribute to a mother’s decision to circumcise their daughters.
Often women’s values lay on whether or not she is circumcised. There will be social sanctions to anyone who goes against the practice. The report describes how different societies practice this.
In Poliwali Mandar and Sumenep, for instance, women who are not circumcised are labeled promiscuous and believed to have high sexual drive. They also believe that women who are not circumcised run the risk of turning into sex workers. In Ambon, uncircumcised women are not allowed to enter the mosque, pray or read the Quran. In Bima no man would want to marry an uncircumcised woman.
Riri Khariroh, a commissioner at the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan), said during the report launch that eliminating the practice of FGM in Indonesia will require redefining the term to shed its association with religion. [They want to "eliminate the practice" even though some versions do not involve touching the genitals....]
“We should change the term ‘sunat perempuan’ (female circumcision) because ‘sunat’ has a strong association and attachment to religiosity and is therefore difficult to eliminate. We should start using the term ‘pelukaan genitalia perempuan’ (female genital mutilation) instead,” she said. – Rappler.com
The Local (Denmark)
December 5, 2016
Danish doctors come out against circumcision
The Danish Medical Association (Lægeforeningen) has recommended that no boys under the age of 18 be circumcised in Denmark.
The association released its recommendation on Friday, saying that circumcision should be “an informed, personal choice” that young men should make for themselves.
In a press release, the group said that when parents have their male children circumcised, it robs the boys of the ability to make decisions about their own bodies and their own cultural and religious beliefs.
“To be circumcised should be an informed, personal choice. It is most consistent with the individual’s right to self-determination that parents not be allowed to make this decision but that it is left up to the individual when he has come of age,” Lise Møller, the chairwoman of the doctors’ association’s ethics board, said.
Lægeforeningen said that male circumcision carries a risk of complications and should only be performed on children when there is a documented medical need.
In making its recommendation, the doctors’ association stopped short of calling for a legal ban on male circumcision, which is legal but relatively rare in Denmark.
“We have discussed it thoroughly, also in our ethics committee. We came to the conclusion that it is difficult to predict the consequences of a ban – both for the involved boys, who could for example face bullying or unauthorized procedures with complications – and for the cultural and religious groups they belong to,” Møller said.
The Danish Health and Medicines Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen) estimates that somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 circumcisions are performed in Denmark each year, primarily on Jewish and Muslim boys.
The majority of those procedures occur outside of the public health system and are done in religious ceremonies in the child's home or at private clinics.
There are thought to be an unknown number of circumcisions carried out each year that are not reported. Last year it was revealed that the State Serum Institute (SSI) had kept a database of circumcisions for 19 months despite never receiving legal authority to do so from the Danish Data Protection Agency (Datatilsynet).
That illegally-kept database was deleted in August 2015 but the Health Ministry announced on Monday that beginning in 2017 all circumcisions, regardless of where they take place, will need to be reported to Denmark's national patient registry (Landspatientregistret).
According to a major 2007 study by the World Health Organization, roughly 30 percent of the global male population is circumcised. Of those, roughly two thirds are practising Muslims, while 0.8 percent are Jews.
Male circumcision regularly pops up as the subject of debate in Denmark and polls have shown that upwards of 87 percent of Danes have expressed support for banning the practise on boys under the age of 18.
Female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation (FGM), is illegal in Denmark.
November 30, 2016
Africans Speak Out Against the Mass Circumcision Campaign
by Max Fish
“We respect science honestly, but we do not
science brings to finish us, to defile our cultures, defile our
rights.” — Prince Hillary Maloba
Nationwide — The VMMC Experience Project recently sent cameras into Uganda and Kenya to document the realities of the mass circumcision program. Local investigators conducted interviews with 90 affected men and women and found:
2. Condom use is at an all-time low, and AIDS is on the rise.
3. The program is killing the very people it is supposed to help.
4. No follow-up post circumcision (cut-and-release approach).
5. Resentment and outrage among Africans.
The “Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision” (VMMC) public health program is the first mass surgical campaign in human history. It targets Africans exclusively, leading some to question whether there are underlying racial motives. For centuries, western stereotypes have held that African men are lascivious or hypersexed, unable to control their sexual urges. Compulsory African-American male circumcision campaigns were proposed as early as the nineteenth century.
Prince Hillary Maloba is a native Kenyan, director of the VMMC Experience Project, and the driving force behind the investigation. “Male circumcision,” he explains, “as a project that has been applied for we [sic] Africans, has failed to reduce HIV the way we were told. Two, we view it as a violation of human rights. How target only one race in the entire world?”
Bishop Cleophas Matete, another native Kenyan, agrees: “I believe the entire process of trying to test it in Africa was wrong from the beginning.”
The mass circumcision campaign was introduced to reduce the incidence of HIV in fourteen sub-Saharan African countries that did not initially practice genital cutting. However, UNAIDS data indicate that the African HIV epidemic has only worsened since 2010—shortly after VMMC was implemented. For the first time since the war on AIDS began, HIV is back on the rise.
The World Health Organization claims that male circumcision curbs female-to-male HIV transmission by up to 60 percent and provides lifelong partial protection against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Their conclusions derive from a process of contentious surgical experimentation on Africans.
Opponents allege that the targeting of impoverished Africans constitutes a racial and human rights issue. Comparisons are made to the Tuskegee syphilis study. Others argue that the program results in a dangerous false security. The present investigation confirms that men, women, and teens are abandoning condoms out of a belief that they are already protected by circumcision. This in turn increases the spread of HIV.
Prior to the VMMC Experience Project investigation, none have consulted or followed up with the men and women who have been directly affected. Many are living in rural poverty, invisible to the developed world. They have had no platform or voice in the circumcision agenda. Maloba’s investigation is the first to shed light on the African side of the story.
African men and women say the campaign is violating
their rights, confusing their cultural identity, and profoundly
worsening the AIDS epidemic. They implicate the program in the spike in
HIV cases we have seen in recent years. Seven respondents in Maloba’s
investigation said that they had acquired HIV because of misinformation
“If we don’t stop this thing,” Maloba warns, “this community will not have a generation that will take care of the old people.”
Instead of mass circumcision, Africans want funding for sustainable medical facilities, anti-retroviral medications (ARVs), more durable condoms, HIV education, and poverty reduction initiatives.
Many cite AIDS-related tragedies from the VMMC program. They seek an end to the circumcision campaign as a public health disaster and a form of cultural imperialism from the West. “It is something that has been imposed on us,” a reverend explained in his interview. “If I could get a forum to fight it, I could fight it very hard.”
*VMMC-promoting institutions include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, USAID, PEPFAR, Jhpiego (Johns Hopkins University), and numerous NGOs.
About the VMMC Experience Project The VMMC Experience Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit effort to document the effects and aftermath of the world’s first mass surgical campaign. Its aim is to empower the most frequently overlooked contingent in the African circumcision regime: Africans.
November 29, 2016
Israeli Rabbi Uses Ethiopians, Sudanese Infants for Circumcision Training, Report Shows
The investigation by Israel's new broadcaster captured mentor, Rabbi Eliyahu Asulin, saying on camera that the poorer strata of the population are 'cannon fodder.'
Inexperienced students of circumcision have been practicing their skills on the babies of the poorest of Israeli society – Ethiopian and Sudanese families – often claiming to be fully-qualified mohels (Jewish ritual circumcisers,) according to a new investigation.
The investigation was conducted by Kan, Israel's new public broadcasting corporation.
According to the investigation, the initiates are students of Rabbi Eliyahu Asulin of Hadera, a rabbinate-approved mohel with over 30 years' experience, who is paid thousands of dollars by the students to teach them the trade.
In many instances, according to the investigation, Asulin sends totally inexperienced students to conduct circumcisions among poor families, without accompanying them himself.
Asulin allegedly explained to the Kan investigative journalist that he first instructs the students to make business cards describing their profession as "Mohel." Then he tells them to distribute their cards at nurseries and post-natal clinics.
Meanwhile, the recording of Asulin continues, "I'll lodge a mohel certificate in your name with the rabbinate. That will already gives you a year's headstart."
The rabbi goes on to explain why the students practice on the babies of the weaker strata of the population: "Why not?" he asks in the recording. "They have no father. No mother… There's no problem. Even if your cut isn't straight, they won't say anything, because they don't understand anything."
He later told the investigator – who by then had signed up for the course at a price of $11,000, according to the report – "They're Ethiopians, you're doing it to Ethiopians… There are the regular Ethiopians and then there are the Sudanese. They're the worst. They're as black as natives."
Asulin also said he tells his students to claim to be qualified when dealing with the Ethiopians and Sudanese. "Why does everyone go to them?" he asks. "Because that's where you learn. They're cannon fodder."
Asulin, according to the Kan investigation, is not the only mohel who sends students to practice on poor families. Kan says it has recorded conversations with others who do the same thing.
Asulin said in response that the video footage of him had been edited and that the exposé had been ordered by “political elements” in Hadera.
“I have circumcised thousands of Ethiopian babies and I see it as a holy work," he said. "I will continue to dedicate my life to the public.”
In a statement reported by Channel 2, the Chief Rabbinate said: “If the incidents described in the video are true, we see it as a very grave incident.”
November 24, 2016
Gov’t takes step to declare circumcision a criminal offence
Georgia's Ministry of Justice has begun proceedings to make circumcision, same as female genital mutilation (FGM) illegal in Georgia. [A careful reading suggests that "same as" means "such as" not "like" and that this whole article refers only to female genital cutting.]
Acting Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiani said the Justice Ministry had initiated a law amendment that would make circumcision a criminal offence.
Her comment yesterday followed local media reports that two-three of villages in eastern Kakheti region, inhabited by Muslim Kist people, still addressed FGM.
Several locals told media that circumcision remained part of their tradition that played a role in the 'coming of age' of a girl and was necessary before marriage.
Throughout the world FGM is widely frowned upon, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) saying FGM is the deliberate mutilation of female genitalia, with FGM being described as any procedure that injured the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
The Muslim Kist population still believed FGM was appropriate and meant girls would be a virgin for their wedding night and remain faithful to her husband, as the mutilation prevents women from achieving sexual pleasure.
The process was generally carried out by people who do not have relevant medical knowledge and experience, with no anesthesia and sometimes could be fatal.
"The process must continue and conclude with the ratification of the Istanbul Convention I had the honour of signing two years ago. I have big hopes that the new Parliament of Georgia will ratify the Convention,” she added.
A couple of days ago the Ministry of Justice introduced an Article in the Istanbul Convention that envisaged circumcision would become illegal and punishable, said Tsulukiani, adding "unfortunately” there was no earlier information about the existence of the archaic tradition in the "two or three” villages in east Georgia where the practice still occurred.
Representatives of the Muslim religion said their holy scriptures "said nothing" about circumcision and said it was a custom of some ethnic groups that mainly resided in Africa, consequently Islam generally doesn't support FGM.
Georgia’s civil sector has already addressed the issue and said circumcision was one of the "highest level violation of human rights.”
Circumcision is generally carried out on young children aged 2-4 years of age but it can also be carrier out on young adults through the initiative of family members.
November 22, 2016
Doctors face prosecution over genital cosmetic surgery in London clinics
by Martin Bentham
Two London doctors face prosection over 'designer vagina' procedures Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Two London doctors are facing prosecution for allegedly carrying out illegal cosmetic surgery on women at clinics in the capital.
The women who had the “designer vagina” procedures were adults who paid for the surgery in the belief that it would make them more attractive.
But Scotland Yard detectives are now carrying out a criminal investigation after being alerted to the cases and deciding that the doctors’ actions involved a potential breach of legislation outlawing female genital mutilation.
Files on both doctors have now been submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service for charging decisions. A file has also been sent to prosecutors on a third case in Cheshire.
The news will raise hopes that a first conviction under anti-FGM legislation could be secured after the failure last year of the only prosecution so far.
The police investigations will also prompt renewed debate about cosmetic genital surgery, which includes labia reduction and vaginal tightening.
It comes after the pop star Sinitta revealed plans to have her own “vaginoplasty” filmed and broadcast online.
The singer, 53, has already put footage of a friend having a “designer vagina” operation on the Periscope site.
Such procedures — which critics say are wrongly promoted as enhancing sexual pleasure and attractiveness — are carried out widely at clinics in Harley Street and elsewhere.
The Home Office warned two years ago, however, in evidence to Parliament, that the operations may be illegal unless there was a medical or psychological reason for them.
That prompted renewed attention on the issue from police and prosecutors, resulting in the criminal investigation into the two London doctors.
It is understood that in both cases prosecutors believe the evidential test which they apply before bringing charges has been met.
Prosecutors are assessing whether bringing charges is in the public interest. Sources say that since the application of law to “designer vagina” surgery has not been tested in court, government departments are being consulted.
The views of royal medical colleges and anti-FGM campaign groups will also be considered as prosecutors prepare guidance to determine their approach. This is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Decisions over bringing charges will follow.
“So-called designer vagina surgery is classed as FGM when it comes to rules on mandatory reporting,” said a source. “The question [here] is whether it is in the public interest to prosecute.”
There are no official figures on the number of cosmetic genital operations carried out, since many are conducted privately, but doctors believe the surgery is becoming more common.
A study by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has blamed the trend on “marketing by the private sector” and images online.
Doctors warn that women are being pressured by “unrealistic representations of vulval appearance in popular culture” and the advertising of the surgery as an “unproblematic lifestyle choice”.
A report by the British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology on labia reduction has warned that there is “no scientific evidence” to support the practice and that the health risks, particularly to girls under 18, include infection and a loss of sensitivity.
There are similar concerns about surgery designed to increase the size of the “g-spot” and tighten the vagina.
Campaign groups against FGM have complained that a “double standard” is applied under which ethnic minority communities, which have traditionally practised mutilation, are being targeted by law enforcers while identical surgery carried out on white women for cosmetic reasons is tolerated.
The Commons Home Affairs Committee raised the same concern in a 2014 report and asked Theresa May, then the home secretary, to consider whether legislation was needed to close this potential “loophole”. Mrs May replied that the 2003 Female Genital Mutilation Act covered cosmetic surgery.
In a submission to Parliament, she added: “The 2003 Act does not contain any exemption for cosmetic surgery. If a procedure ... is unnecessary for physical or mental health ... then it is an offence [making MGC an offence]... it would be for a court to decide if cosmetic surgery constitutes mutilation and is therefore illegal.”
The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed that it was assessing three files on suspected FGM offences, but declined to comment further.
The Met also declined to comment.
[No mention of the elephant in the room, informed consent.]
November 22, 2016
Journal editor resigns over firestorm from circumcision article
Circumcision is a hot topic. So hot, questions about a reviewer’s potential conflict with the author of an article promoting circumcision prompted a journal editor to resign, and one academic to call another a “fanatic.”
It began in August, when Brian Morris, professor emeritus of molecular medicine at the University of Sydney, published a critique of a paper that itself had critiqued the practice of circumcision. But the sole reviewer of Morris’s article was a frequent co-author of his, Aaron Tobian of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. In his reference section, Morris listed five papers on which he and Tobian were co-authors.
A tipster forwarded us emails from Eduardo Garin, editor in chief of the journal, saying he had resigned from the journal after it refused to retract the paper, despite the fact that its sole reviewer was a frequent collaborator of the author. However, Garin is still listed as editor in chief on the journal’s site.
Garin confirmed to us that he resigned after the publisher refused to retract or correct the Morris article; however, Xiu-Xia Song, vice director of the editorial office at Baishideng, told us by email that Garin is still the journal’s editor.
Here are some specifics:
Morris’s paper is “Critical evaluation of unscientific arguments disparaging affirmative infant male circumcision policy” in the World Journal of Clinical Pediatrics, put out by the Baishideng Publishing Group. It critiqued “Risks, Benefits, Complications and Harms: Neglected Factors in the Current Debate on Non-Therapeutic Circumcision,” published in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal by Robert Darby, an independent scholar who also wrote the anti-circumcision book “A Surgical Temptation: The Demonization of the Foreskin and the Rise of Circumcision in Britain.”
As usual, we sent emails to everyone else involved.
Morris defended Tobian’s impartiality, noting:
When we contacted Tobian, the sole reviewer, he declined to comment, saying “I am conflicted.”
Tobian is still listed as a peer reviewer at the bottom of the journal article; Song didn’t respond to questions, about the World Journal of Clinical Pediatrics’ conflict of interest policy for peer reviewers. That policy reads:
There are two comments on the article, one from circumcision critic John Dalton, and the other a response from Morris. Dalton’s comment reads in part:
Morris’s response reads, in part:
Darby, the author of the paper Morris et al was criticizing, acknowledged to us that the topic of circumcision raises strong feelings:
But even admitting that, it has to be said that the intensity Prof. Morris brings to the debate is in a class of its own, and I don’t think it is unreasonable to describe him as a fanatic…I don’t think Morris has any particular aversion to me – he tends to hate all circumcision critics equally, and generally responds to them with great personal venom.
October 20, 2016
Dad explains why he kidnapped baby
Father who ran off with baby just before circumcision explains his motives.
by Haim Lev
The father who took his newborn son and ran out of a synagogue in Bnei Brak on Tuesday, just before the child was to be circumcised, has agreed to explain his motives.
The father explained he wanted to "redeem his son's foreskin with money" in order to avoid fulfilling the commandment to circumcise newborn boys. In the end, after he was told the circumcision (brit) would happen with or without him, the father agreed to circumcise his son that day or on a subsequent day. In the end, the circumcision took place as planned.
"Just like every other circumcision, there's a lot of blood and a crying baby. It doesn't matter how good the mohel is, cutting a limb is cutting a limb, and it hurts. I decided it's not going to happen, I'm not circumcising my son, and I won't circumcise my next son, if I have one," the father wrote on his blog.
"I thought," he said, "I'll go in with the baby in a carseat, and I'll ask to redeem the foreskin with money instead of doing a circumcision. It's true that there is no such [redemption] procedure and I made it up on the spot, but today everyone makes up laws and rules that are appropriate for the times, so I figured, why not?"
"And if they don't let me do that, which is what I figured would happen, I thought I'd just walk out with the carseat, get in the first taxi I see and travel to Rishon LeZion with the baby," he said.
Later, the father told how his plan failed, and explained that he had no complaints against the haredi mohel or Rabbi Kanievsky, who served as sandak (the person who honored with holding the baby during the circumcision).
"I trust Rabbi Diament, the mohel and Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky. I'm just against physically hurting a baby. The circumcision is what bothers me," he said.
Circumcision involves a minimal amount of blood and the baby, given a cloth with ceremonial wine on it to suck - and in some places, aspirin - at first, quiets down and is handed back to his mother for a feeding. It is the commandment given to the Patriarch Abraham as a sign of the Jewish People's covenant (brit) with the Almighty.
October 20, 2016
Numbers of males enrolling for Circumcision worrisome
The declining rate of men enrolling for the Safe Male Circumcision SMC is said to be worrisome.
Addressing a new directions global health workshop in Gaborone yesterday, the Gaborone DHTM representative, Dr. Martin Azama, said that they have a target of 5 thousand 305 men to be circumcised in the period of 2016-2017, but have however only achieved circumcising 868 men. [This was to be expected: they have picked all the low-hanging fruit.]
Dr Azama further urged men to come forth and be circumcised as the exercise is aimed at reducing the rising rate of sexually transmitted infections in Botswana
October 18, 2016
Secular father kidnaps baby minutes before circumcision
Formerly religious father runs off with newborn son moments before circumcision where Rabbi Kanievsky was set to serve as 'sandak'.
by Arutz Sheva Staff
A planned circumcision in the city of Bnei Brak descended into chaos on Tuesday when the father of the newborn boy snatched the baby up and bolted in an attempt to thwart his son from undergoing the traditional Jewish operation.
The father, a formerly religious man, is adamantly opposed to his son taking part in the Jewish rite of passage traditionally performed on the eighth day after birth.
The event included one of the haredi world’s leading rabbinic figures, Rabbi Haim Kanievsky, who was set to serve as “sandak” – the person who assists in the circumcision, considered a position of honor.
A number of families were participating in the joint event, and when the turn of the child in question came, his father suddenly appeared, grabbed him up, and fled.
While others present at the synagogue where the circumcisions were taking place attempted to convince him to recant on his opposition, the father remained adamant, and left with his son.
“This was really shocking,” said one of the witnesses. “The mother made the effort to invite Rabbi Kanievsky to be the boy’s sandak – now she’s left weeping bitterly.” [Unlike the baby, for a change.]
July 15, 2016
FGM is child abuse, says UN Population Fund chief
The head of the United Nations Population Fund has, for the first time, described female genital mutilation as "child abuse".
Dr Babatunde Osotimehin told the BBC that the custom was a human rights abuse and needed to end immediately.
More than 200 million women and girls around the world have undergone the procedure, where parts of the female genitals are removed.
The UN estimates a further three million are at risk of being mutilated.
Dr Osotimehin said: "There is absolutely no reason to cut anybody, and it seemed to us that it is part of the gender imbalance that has always existed in these communities which are based on patriarchy. I think it's child abuse."
The organisation had previously referred to the practice as a human rights violation, but has stopped short of calling it child abuse.
FGM is practiced mainly in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
It involves the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
Some countries in Africa are working to change traditional perceptions of FGM.
At the moment about one in five women in Kenya has been cut.
But the UN children's charity, Unicef, says Kenya could eradicate the practice in the next 15 years.
However, deeply entrenched traditions in some communities in this region, and across the world, make this a major challenge.
July 15, 2016
Africa's progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS
by Hilke Fischer
The South African city of Durban is the venue for the 2016 World Aids Conference. Sub-Saharan Africa will feature prominently on the agenda, a region where the infection rate has decreased by over 40 percent since 2000.
Which strategies are most effective in the battle against HIV/AIDS? DW looks at how four African countries are responding to the challenge.
Kenya: compulsory HIV/AIDS education
Fewer than six percent of Kenyans live with HIV/AIDS. That's about 1.5 million people. The number of new infections also fell significantly in recent years. In 2005, 28.3 percent of infected mothers transmitted the virus to their children. Five years later, that figure had gone down to 8.5 percent.
Meanwhile, more than 90 percent of all pregnant Kenyan women go for AIDS tests. In 2000, there were only three health facilities where Kenyans could consult medical practitioners and get tested for HIV. In 2010, the number of health facilities offering HIV consultations had increased to more than 4,000.
The main reason for the reduction in the HIV/AIDS prevalence in Kenya is the supply of ARVs. In 2003, only 6,000 people had access to the medication. Ten years later, that figure increased to more than 600,000.
The Kenyan government also regards voluntary male
circumcision as a weapon in the fight against AIDS. This reduces the
risk of infection among men by about 40 percent, according to
studies. Since 2003,
HIV/AIDS education has been a compulsory element in school curriculums.
About 70 percent of the cost in fighting HIV/AIDS in Kenya is footed by
Uganda: 'Abstinence, faithfulness and condoms'
In Uganda, the AIDS epidemic reached its peak in the 1990s. Approximately 18 percent of the population was infected with the virus. The Ugandan government and international aid agencies launched ambitious and expensive educational programs with the slogan "Abstinence, faithfulness and condoms."
The campaign was a success. In 2000, only five percent of the population was HIV-positive. But, in the meantime, a contrary trend is emerging. The number of new infections in Uganda is rising again for the first time in ten years. The HIV prevalence rate in the country is now about seven percent of the population.
major reason for this is the widespread usage of ARVs and the circumcision of men. Many Ugandans believe that the
ARV therapy can cure the disease completely and that male circumcision rules out any risk of
infection - as a result, more people are abandoning the use of condoms.
July 2, 2016
Namibia’s male circumcision initiative to prevent HIV faces headwind
WINDHOEK (Xinhua) -- Circumcised and ready for action?
These four words that are part of a radio advertisement currently gracing the airwaves have aroused mixed feelings among Namibians.
The advertisement is being run by the health ministry as part of a campaign to educate and encourage men to opt for voluntary medical male circumcision.
Namibia aims to circumcise 330, 000 men by 2025 but since the program was officially launched in 2014, just above 30, 000 have taken up the offer.
Most Namibian men, like Windhoek security guards Simeon Hafeni and Gottlieb Kalandu, are refusing to let go of their foreskins.
Hafeni, who is from the northern regions of the country where circumcision is not compulsory under tribal beliefs, says he does not see any reason for him to be cut.
“What if I get the cut now, and then tomorrow another disease that needs the foreskin comes by?” he asks.
His workmate, Kalandu quips: “God was not a fool to create men with a foreskin.”
[These are not the best reasons to stay intact. The best reasons are that the foreskin is valuable, and that the protection offered, even if true, is insufficient to substitute cutting for the vastly more protective condoms.]
These two could symbolize the difficulty the health ministry’s campaign faces even after rolling out the program as far back as 2009 when the World Health Organization and the United Nations AIDS Organization (UNAIDS) recommended circumcision as one of an HIV preventative measure.
Namibia went on to train more than 260 health care workers to provide deal with circumcision, while 33 district hospitals were made available for the program.
A national strategic plan for 2010/11-2015/16 drawn up and revised in 2013 lists six core program to prevent and control the spread of HIV in the country including circumcision.
The strategic plan states that there is need to reach out to HIV negative adult men and initiate services for adolescents.
Although health ministry spokesperson Ester Paulus said that circumcision is a “low-cost medical intervention”, the strategic plan shows that more than 200 million Namibian dollars (13 million U.S. dollars) was set aside for the first three years.
“Male circumcision is a one-time, low cost medical intervention, which has been recommended by the WHO as part of a comprehensive package of HIV prevention.”
The country also carried out a pilot project in Aug. 2009 in capital Windhoek and at Oshakati, in the north of the country about 700 kilometers from Windhoek.
Realizing that fewer men were volunteering, the health ministry has been on an aggressive campaign. Apart from the advertisements, the health minister, Bernard Haufiku, has also been vocal about the need for men to get the cut.
When the advertisements were launched in May, Haufiku said in high HIV prevalence countries like Namibia, circumcision will at least prevent one in five infections as it reduces the risk of contracting HIV by 60 percent. [This is a dangerously false way of applying this already-misleading statistic.]
Hafeni and Kalandu say they have heard the advertisements, which they think are humorous.
“But radio is radio. I don’t believe everything I hear on radio,” Kalandu says.
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