To clarify the issue: imagine I grabbed an adult man off the street, and forcibly circumcised him. That would be described as 'mutilation' by the prosecution and the press.
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02-01-2014 07:28 #81
02-01-2014 18:32 #82
While male and female genital cutting are indeed on the "same spectrum", our society's attitudes towards the two practices are poles apart.
NSW govt minister Prue Goward today described the genital cutting of a girl, whose father has been charged, as a "hideous crime", and called for a change in "attitudes and culture".
Yet here on Bubhub we have a subforum that actively promotes the genital cutting of boys, and where critical posts are banned.
There is absolutely no basis in logic or fact for this double standard.
03-01-2014 02:57 #83
It is not just societies attitudes that are an issue. There are legal differences between the circumcision of boys and the circumcision of girls. Hence why a father can be charged with a crime when he organises the circumcision of a daughter, but there is no crime committed when a parent arranges the circumcision of a male child.
There are no double standards in Bubhub's moderation of this area of the forum. There is no "promotion" of circumcision anywhere. However there is also no promotion of attacking of parents who choose to have their sons circumcised.
If you have any issues regarding the moderation of posts on the forum please contact the moderators so that these details can be discussed privately as it is not appropriate to discuss some issues on the open forum. One is legal, the other is not.
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03-01-2014 06:43 #84
Most people believe that female circumcision involves removal of clitoris, but we are talking here about similar procedure done to boys but that it's illegal to do for girls in Australia.
03-01-2014 11:05 #85
03-01-2014 15:58 #86
Some clarification is obviously required:
1. As Starfish mentioned, the legal situation is an effect of differing societal attitudes. It tells us nothing about our ethical responsibilities, and certainly does not explain why we treat the genitals of boys differently from those of girls. The law should be guided by ethics; not the reverse.
2. I have no problem with forum moderation, nor do I support "attacking" invidual parents, even if I believe they are profoundly mistaken. That's just counter-productive However, this is the Discuss It section, which is surely the correct place to raise the issue of this blatant double standard and the way it is instrumented, including in this parenting forum.
3. Of course, Bubhub itself has no official policy on routine circumcision but it has created and shielded from criticism a subforum which is effectively a referral service for those wishing to amputate part of genitals of infant boys for no valid medical reason. I am certainly not the only member who regards this as unethical and pandering to societal hypocrisy.
The oft-repeated assertion that male and female genital cutting are "totally different" is a fiction of recent invention, vigorously propounded by an alliance of Jewish activists and American feminists, both of whom are from cultures where male circumcision is still the norm. Needless to say, the cultures where FGM is prevalent don't see it that way. And they are right, since they all -- without exception -- also circumcise boys. Endless repetition of a lie cannot make it a fact and simply discredits the efforts against the genital cutting of all children among the very people we need to convince.
05-01-2014 06:12 #87
So eloquently put, John. May I also raise my hand in agreement with point 3. It is why I do not normally comment on threads concerning this topic.
May I add that there is actually a legal uncertainty surrounding male circumcision in children in Australia in that the law does not protect a doctor (or person performing the procedure) from being sued should the operation cause harm. Further, it also fails to adequately address the rights of the child in this situation. One could reliably say that the only reason that such an act is legal is because there are no laws at all in this country to suggest that it shouldn't be.
Therefore, the ONLY difference between male and female circumcision is that there is a law for one and not the other.
European courts recognise male circumcision as being akin to grievous bodily harm, that such a procedure robs the child of his fundamental right to bodily integrity and that those child's rights outweighed those of the parents.
Unfortunately, the reverse is true in Australia which is why the falsehoods regarding male circumcision to which John refers are allowed to perpetuate.
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05-01-2014 12:13 #88
How do they distinguish between the fact that sometimes male circumcision has to be performed for medical reasons?
A big difference between male and female circumcision as I know of many cases where circumcision was a medical necessity for a male, but never have I heard of a case where male circumcision has been medically required
05-01-2014 14:53 #89
All surgery is an assault in law, Pegasus. The question is what constitutes a valid defence and what regulations should apply.
The only defence for surgery on minors that is universally recognised is for the treatment of a defect or disease, where the surgery is carried out under appropriate medical conditions with informed proxy consent. No one disputes that genital cutting of children is both legal and ethical under such circumstances (and, yes, that involves girls also).
In addition, ritual reasons (ie the circumcision of the sons of Muslim and Jewish parents) have been generally accepted as a valid defence on the basis of protecting the "religious freedom" of the those parents (rather ignoring the religious freedom of the boys). This defence was thrown into doubt by a decision of a Cologne court last, which found ritual circumcision in violation of Germany's Basic Law. However, the Bundestag subsequently legislated to explicitly allow this defence, though this law has not yet been tested in the Constitutional Court.
None of this bears on the issue at hand, namely the routine circumcision of boys performed for neither medical nor religious reasons. This is almost certainly illegal in most European countries, and is an any case unknown there. It is a cultural tradition of Anglophone countries that began in the 1890s and in Australia fell out of favour in the 1970s, which is why more than 85% of Australian boys are no longer circumcised for any reason.
The routine circumcision of boys is clearly unethical and directly analogous to the circumcision of girls for cultural reasons in parts of Africa and SE Asia. It is not a valid parental choice. But I do not support legal prohibition here, any more than I support making illegal the refusal to vaccinate children: such measures would be counter-productive. However, I think we have a responsibility to apply maximum social pressure on parents not to engage in such immoral behaviour. That "we" includes Bubhub, unless it wants to stand by the rather threadbare defence that anything that's legal is okay, and never mind ethics.
06-01-2014 00:21 #90
I found the following when trying to find out when and where circumcision is illegal:
In 1993, a non-binding research paper of the Queensland Law Reform Commission (Circumcision of Male Infants) concluded that "On a strict interpretation of the assault provisions of the Queensland Criminal Code, routine circumcision of a male infant could be regarded as a criminal act", and that doctors who perform circumcision on male infants may be liable to civil claims by that child at a later date. No prosecutions have occurred in Queensland, and circumcisions continue to be performed.
In a case of sexual assault in Queensland, Australia (1997), a district court awarded a man damages for nervous shock after a botched attempt to circumcise him with a broken beer bottle in a drunken attack. Making Australian legal history, the award was made against the assailant for unlawful wounding.
In 1999, a Perth man won A$360,000 in damages after a doctor admitted he botched a circumcision operation at birth which left the man with a badly deformed penis.
In 2002, Queensland police charged a father with grievous bodily harm for having his two sons, then aged nine and five, circumcised without the knowledge and against the wishes of the mother. The mother and father were in a family court dispute. The charges were dropped when the police prosecutor revealed that he did not have all family court paperwork in court and the magistrate refused to grant an adjournment.
Cosmetic circumcision for newborn males is currently banned in all Australian public hospitals, South Australia being the last state to adopt the ban in 2007; the procedure was not forbidden from being performed in private hospitals. In the same year, the Tasmanian President of the Australian Medical Association, Haydn Walters, stated that they would support a call to ban circumcision for non-medical, non-religious reasons. In 2009, the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute released its Issues Paper investigating the law relating to male circumcision in Tasmania, it "highlights the uncertainty in relation to whether doctors can legally perform circumcision on infant males".
The Tasmania Law Reform Institute released its recommendations for reform of Tasmanian law relative to male circumcision on 21 August 2012. The report makes fourteen recommendations for reform of Tasmanian law relative to male circumcision.
On 1 October 2013, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution in which they state they are "particularly worried about a category of violation of the physical integrity of children," and include in this category "circumcision of young boys for religious reasons."
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