Mom, Why Was I Circumcised?

Schaap reads the letter his mother wrote to him at 8 months of age, when he was circumcised against his grandfather's strong wishes to keep him intact.

This personal documentary follows Dutch journalist and filmmaker, Michael Schaap, as he interviews his own mother, those who are pro-MGM (circumcisers), politicians, Jewish and Muslim individuals, men who have restored, several physicians, researchers and intactivists, and those who are experts on both FGM (female circumcision) and MGM (male circumcision).

The documentary is 35 minutes in length, and is absolutely worth watching. It is filmed partially in Dutch with English subtitles, and partially in English with Dutch subtitles. Schaap's documentary can also be found here on Google Video.


  1. I am SO glad I'll never be asked this question by my son. Because I learned what happens before hand and would never let them do that to my baby. No matter what 'reasons' there may be, they're ALL WRONG reasons! And many lies too.

  2. Parents who are considering infant circumcision for their sons would do well to consider this question. Many men are questioning why they were circumcised when there was so little, if any, true benefit to the surgery. They are questioning why their parents consented to the surgery when there was all sorts of information available about how circumcision is primarily a cosmetic surgery performed for the benefit of the parents.

    His body, his choice.

  3. Let me guess, easy income for the medical profession? Always good to cut out all those erotic nerve cells? Minimize masturbation? It's really hard to keep the penis clean? God over built? Best way to minimize pogroms?

  4. Having been both raped and circumcised, I have dealt with the rape, as best as I can, through therapy. Having been sexually mutilated and then having part of me physically removed, was worse for me. The physical scar is a daily reminder of what happened.

  5. Oh, Dave, I am so very, very sorry. While I've experienced one, I have not experienced the other, and cannot imagine the brutal pain that comes from the daily reminder of the scar. :( And MGM/FGM against one's will most certainly is rape. I am broken to hear you've endured it twice, but I thank you for speaking up and for all you are doing to prevent it from happening again to others.

  6. For me, the reason to compare MGM to rape is to remind people that MGM is a sexual assault and not something to be casual about. This is not to diminish the horror of rape but to raise the awareness of what MGM/FGM really are.

    When a neonate is getting genitally mutilated, all they know is their mother isn't protecting them and they lose hope - the infant isn't thinking it's a horrible mistake.

    Erik Erikson - Trust versus Mistrust or Hope. Whether she does it herself or her minions do, is irrelevant. Mother is suppose to be the ultimate protector.

    Thanks, that means a lot. I'm sorry you had to experience one :(

  7. The difference between sex and rape is consent.

    If a man chooses to be circumcised, that is a whole different ballgame than with children, especially healthy children, who do not.

    One of the biggest problems with circumcision is that doctors and lawyers refuse to see it for the mutilation that it is.

    Imagine a world, where obvious rape is ignored. (If I'm correct, that world DOES exist in the Middle East, where "rape" is defined by whether four men or so, were present to witness it?)

    Maybe you don't have to go around worrying that someone is going to jump out of an alley and circumcise you, but baby boys, and parents of baby boys have to watch their children to make sure doctors or nurses won't take them away and circumcise them, or forcefully retract them.

    These cases have happened in the past, and they still happen today.

    Rape victims have to live the rest of their lives with the knowledge that it could happen again, it's true, but men have to be reminded of their circumcisions for the rest of their lives, every time they go to the restroom and take a pee.

    Some men choose to make light of it, telling themselves "it was for their own good... they LIKE being circumcised, women love it, etc. etc." But others do not. Men who resent their circumcisions are SOL.

    Women who want support for rape have centers for rape and numbers they can call. Do men who hate being circumcised have that?

    I stand by my statement; circumcision is rape.

    It is worse than the rape that happens to women, because it leaves a visible, and tangible physical scar. It's just so sad that people refuse to see it that way...

  8. On the Facebook thread of this video, Kim said: " in-laws are not comparable to rapists because they had him circumcised...Surely you don't think the majority of parents are going around circumcising their sons because they WANT to harm them, do you?! ...rapists and parents are not synonymous!"

    And this is part of the problem in pointing out circumcision for the rape it is: People take it personally.

    No one wants to believe that they have "raped" their children.

    But if you read my statement carefully, I never indicted parents for "raping" their children.

    I'll say it again; circumcision of healthy, non-consenting children is rape.

    But let us observe who is doing the raping?

    Who is ultimately holding the knife?

    Who is responsible for dispensing correct and accurate information?

    I cannot blame parents who genuinely wanted the best for their sons.

    I can only see them as victims, along with their children.

    Victims of violation of trust.

    Those whom they were supposed to trust for advice took advantage of this trust.

    I hope that you can see that in me calling circumcision rape, I am not automatically indicting parents.

    It is not they who are paid to know better. It is not they who brandish PhDs in their offices demanding everyone call them "doctor." It is not they who supposedly went years of training.

    That responsibility goes to doctors, and it is they who are being professionally irresponsible.

    We no longer live in the dark ages.

    We have the internet.

    Doctors that continue to circumcise healthy, non-consenting children are guilty of medical fraud, professional abuse, and yes, child rape.

    Circumcising doctors are professional child rapists.

    They are in the business of mutilating boys.

  9. I'm going to come out about something here that I don't talk about too often;

    I am a survivor of child sexual abuse.

    Recovery was lengthy, and hard, but I think I'm over it... there is still a mental scar that will accompany me 'till death however...

    Did you know that up until relatively recently male survivors of abuse were not even recognized?

    Like with male circumcision, male victims of child sexual abuse were belittled. They were told to "grow up and be a man." "Men don't cry" etc., especially if the perpetrator was a woman.

    Up until recently there weren't any hotlines for men to call. There weren't any male centers for abuse or rape, and they're still pretty rare. I went to a center for WOMEN, because they HAPPENED to have a men's group.

    And then, I was the youngest in my group; most men that choose to come out about their sexual abuse as children tend to be in their 40s.

    Slowly, but surely, our nation is recognizing that yes, men can too be abused.

    Now circumcision must follow.

    Circumcision is child sexual abuse; it is rape.

    And like child sexual abuse, the people of this nation do not want to recognize it as such.

    (female) Rape victims are lucky.

    At the very least, this country recognizes rape as abuse. Call a hotline? They're ready to hear you out. You may have been raped, but there are plenty of people to support you, and help you find and convict the predator.

    If you were sexually mutilated as a girl in Africa? You get automatic sympathy from most people in this country.

    Be a man and tell people about your abuse? Be ready to be surprised how many people listen.

    Be ready to find even less to tell people about your resentment for being circumcised;

    The answer is always the same; grow up, it's in the past, you don't even remember it.

    I wasn't circumcised, but I was abused as a child, and I can talk about that.

    But I do know quite a few people who were circumcised, and who, aside from people on the net, they have a hard time to find someone to talk to about this. Their own parents usually don't want to listen, followed by their siblings etc.

    Rape and female circumcision are automatically and immediately recognized as abuse.

    Male rape or sexual abuse, maybe. And that's even less, if at all, for circumcision.

  10. @Joseph: Sexual abuse is something we share in common (my perpetrator was my own grandmother). :-( Thank you for being open about your experience.

  11. Rule No. 1 about child sexual abuse; it's always someone close... usually the one you would least suspect...

  12. @Todd, thank you, too, for being open. We almost need a group hug, though after the doctor's sexual abuse at birth, for me it was only the beatings, with the doctor ironically calling the Sheriff at one point. I will never stop fighting to end all abuse of children.

  13. roger desmoulinsJanuary 29, 2011 1:53 PM

    Circumcision can persist only under one of two threats: (1) God rejects uncircumcised men, or (2) by the customs of your tribe, a grown man who has the the pointed penis he was born with will not be accepted as a marriage partner, may not partake in combat, and cannot participate in tribal decision making.

    Absent such threats, and if circumcision is a free choice of parents, some circumcised boys will grow up to be men who feel that they were violated. Freud and Wilhelm Reich wrote about this several generations ago. Or it's simply that they are reminded of their circumcisions every time they pee, every time they use a locker room.

    I conjecture that starting in the 1930s and 40s, American medicine roughly intuited what I say here. And that intuition grounded what I call the American Foreskin Holocaust. The Holocaust had two features: (1) maternity wards would circumcise all baby boys born in them, especially middle class white boys, without bothering to obtain the mothers' consent, and (2) mention of circumcision was kept to the barest minimum, to minimize awareness that males are born with foreskins.

    The result of this Holocaust was what I experienced 40-50 years ago, a society where almost everybody was circumcised, nobody talked about it, sex ed did not discuss it, and where most people had never seen an intact penis in their lives. In such a world, circumcised boys and men are thoroughly content. Boys are not aware that their intimate bodies were altered at birth; men are, but give it very little thought. Most of all, nobody talks about or even notices any ring scars. Instead, people find shocking and dismaying the sight of an intact male.

    Abraham Lincoln said that the USA could not continue indefinitely with slavery legal in half of its territory. Likewise, given our present day free sexual mores and sports participation culture, a circ rate between 5% and 90% is psychologically disturbing and hence not sustainable over the long run. Either the circumcised will feel violated, or the intact will feel inferior. So in the long run, either everybody is circumcised, as in Islam and in traditional Judaism, or nobody is, as was the case among Christians of European ancestry before 1870.

  14. roger desmoulinsJanuary 29, 2011 2:07 PM

    To those of you who have revealed above that you were abused as children.

    Some years ago, I was very shocked and revolted to read in the local newspaper that social workers and child psychologists have concluded that for a woman to molest a boy in her care is not vanishingly rare. Until then, I had thought that child sexual abuse was always perpetrated by male perverts. If I recall correctly, women fondling boys in the bath is a correlated with her being under the influence of alcohol and with socioeconomic deprivation.

    It is true that when a girl complains that a boy or man has taken indecent liberties with her, she is believed and we are all revolted. Hardened rapists will murder a fellow prisoner convicted of molesting a minor. But when a boy complained, there was a tendency to sweep the matter under the rug.

    One American cultural giant has revealed that his mother took indecent liberties with him as a boy: the Broadway musical composer Stephen Sondheim.

    American routine infant circumcision, done without anesthesia, is a form of child sexual abuse, carried out by doctors for monetary reward rather than sexual gratification. The psychological damage to the victims is greatly mitigated by the fact that it is done at an age when memories do not jell. But that does not change the fact that it is still abuse.

  15. IMO sexual gratification and sexual sadism are part of the motivations for all too many doctors and nurses. - Locuta de Bjorg

  16. My 3 sons are 15, 13 and 17mo, and all 3 are uncircumcised. I chose at just 18 years old that my son's would remain intact just like their father is. My parents tried to talk me out of it but I had made up my mind



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