I’m thinking about shutting down my tumblr. I just don’t have time for it and it just doesn’t keep me engaged like it used to.
America was not shut down properly. Would you like to start America in safe mode, with free healthcare and without guns? (Recommended)
I will always repost this on the 1st of the month.
As always if you need immediate assistance call your emergency line, i.e. 911.
Domestic Abuse Hotlines:
- US&Canada: 1-888-743-5754 (The Domestic Abuse helpline)
- US: 800-799-7233 (Gender Neutral)
- New York: 800-621-4673(Gender Neutral)
- UK: 01823 334244 (Mankind Initiative)
- UK: 08088010327 (Men’s Advice Line)[Email]
- Australia: Very Regional—see here for numbers for your region
- Hong Kong: 2649-1100(Tues, Wed, Thur, Sat) Family Caritas Men’s Hotline.
- Singapore: 1800-626 2626 Adam Association Men in Crisis Helpline
Male Rape Hotlines
- (210) 349-7273 (Gender Neutral)
- 1-800-696-4673 (RAINN- region level search here)(careful with this one, people have reported this one as being hostile to male rape victims, despite what it says on their site)
- 0845 430 9371(Survivors)
- 0121 233 3818 (Rape and Sexual Violence Project[Gender Neutral])
Please reblog and add your own. I’ll add any added via reblogs to the next round.
Thanks to Chromatophobiccuttlefish for the Hong Kong and Singapore lines.
I’ve written before that survivors of male circumcision are real victims of genital mutilation. I’ve written that putting caveats on who gets to identify as a victim of sexual assault is not helpful, and we don’t get to police how victims identify or cope. I’ve written that we have some major potential problems, as this generation of boys being circumcised are worse off than previous generations because they will have access to all the information you and I do. They will be able to trawl the internet, discover the importance of the foreskin that was excised from their bodies without their consent, and for no medical reason. The generation of sons being cut today have major disadvantages, and we as a culture may have some serious anger of survivors.
Recently, Nathan at Foreskin Facts wrote this:
Anger is a common emotion when circumcised men come to terms with what happened to them. Every day, I read heart-wrenching true stories on blogs and forums, written by circumcised men who are now furious with their parents for cutting them without their consent. Some are so angry that they’ve stopped talking to their parents. They feel mutilated and violated because they didn’t get a choice with their own body.
I understand the anger of survivors, not just of genital mutilation, but of all sexual assault. Being violated in such a profound and intimate way can plummet a person into a rage indescribable. Sexual assault is a serious crime, not just against one’s body, but against their spirit, against the very core of their consciousness. Anger is an understatement.
Rage, resentment, bitterness. These are valid emotions. Survivors have every single right to feel these things. But survivors will tell you that there comes a point when you have to either deal with that rage, for one’s own mental health, or lose all sanity because it can eat your soul. Rage can destroy a person.
Of course, dealing with the rage felt by genital mutilation is much different than other forms of sexual assault because a person bears a physical mark on their body of the assault. Due to the nature of the penis, a person who has been altered faces that truth, marked into their body, several times a day.
Because of hegemonic masculinity, men are less likely to seek mental health services, they are more likely to internalise domestic abuse as being a sign of weakness, they are less likely to report sexual assault, and they are more likely to commit suicide because of the cultural myth that “real men” don’t need professional help. Even when they seek help, or verbalise their abuse to friends or family, they are often not believed, or dismissed, or emasculated because of the cultural fear of recognising male victims. This is very poignantly demonstrated in this photo project of male survivors of sexual assault, from Project Unbreakable.
Male survivors of genital mutilation are also unique in that they live in a culture that refuses to recognise their assault as valid. Part of perpetuating male genital cutting is to perpetuate the myth that all men love being circumcised. In order to enshrine this myth, those who are angry are then silenced, minimised, mocked, dismissed, and ignored. Even if a man has the courage to acknowledge his unhappiness, recognise he needs support coping with this information, there is little to no resources available to him. I have read stories of men, being so overcome with debilitating grief, who sought mental health services, being laughed at or scoffed at by therapists.
How is one supposed to cope with their rage by seeking professional help, if our professionals don’t even recognise their assault as valid? How do we intend to cope with the grief and potential anger of this generation being cut as circumcision rates drop, when we have no professionals equipped to treat survivors of MGM? Where does a man go to process these emotions that can bring healing and progress? Could it be that we see so much anger directed at women and mothers from circumcised men simply because they have untreated rage, untreated PTSD, with almost no resources to effectively cope with that rage?
As an intactivist, this troubles me greatly. If there is not a need to support our circumcised men now (I assure you, there is), then there will certainly be a need to support the children of this generation being cut, as rates drop, and as cultural shifts are made away from this practice. There is a great need for a safe space for men to process what happened to them, and then cope with their rage in a productive way.
In this way, the internet can be an amazing asset. Wouldn’t it be liberating to provide the services our circumcised men need so badly through support groups they organise and manage themselves, with professionals trained in mental health? I have to assume, among the hoards of intactivists, there is someone trained in working with survivors of sexual assault, who would be able to provide the much-needed therapy and space for processing. A safe space where one can express their rage, seek support, and most importantly: tools for coping with that rage in productive ways so it doesn’t eat one alive. And with social media, organising all of this is within reach.
Rage is a valid emotion and a valid response to genital cutting; however, at some point we have to be able to heal that rage, channel that in productive ways, and heal that wound. Rage can destroy a person, and the first step in treating that rage, is recognising the need for help in doing so.
“Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr
I have been an intactivist for a few years now, and I’ve written several posts about what I consider to be the most effective intactivism. From my personal experience, gentle, compassionate, gracious education is the best way to educate and tackle cultural conditioning.
And I wish I knew the magical formula that changes people’s minds. I wish I knew the exact alignment of arguments that empowered people to keep their babies intact. I wish I knew why some people so readily see, as I did, that cutting babies is morally reprehensible, while others shrug off the piles of education about the importance of foreskin, the risks of the surgery, the uncertainty of how a child would someday like to have his penis, and the importance of building a culture of consent. I wish I knew how to reach those who ignored the intactivist message, when they had all the information.
I have been educating parents long enough to know that there is no way to know who will be receptive to the information, and those who will actively ignore the intactivist message. And I’ve written before how this generation of boys being cut is at a major disadvantage from previous generations because so many of their peers will be intact, and they will have access to the internet and all the information their parents ignored. I worry about them. I am sick with grief for how this generation will cope, and whether we will be culturally capable of coping with their grief. Especially when so many intactivists want to be vindicated in the anger of victims, forgetting who the victims actually are, and when so many parents are willfully ignoring the case against circumcision as a Human Right’s violation.
I know there are many parents who just need someone to tell them it’s unnecessary. They just need someone, just one person, to support their questioning, and to give them reasons to keep their baby as their DNA intended. I have found these people, floundering in their doubt about the surgery, at the exact right time, and their sweet, perfect boys remained that way.
I have debated hard with those who want to uncover every rock of doubt. Who pull out all the reasons to circumcise, and who discover, after a long back-and-forth that they too, are opposed to circumcision. I’ve gently educated and converted countless of people who are pro-circumcision, or ambivalent toward the procedure, who changed their position once they had all the facts. And I celebrate these victories, because the ones who can switch sides, after exhausting all their culturally-influenced mythology, are often tenacious advocates for our babies.
And I too, become frustrated with the people who ignore the intactivist message. Those who paint my advocacy as “fanaticism.” I too wonder at the logic in so readily dismissing the arguments of consent, autonomy, human rights, and respecting our children. I find myself angry with those I love who lack the courage to protect their children from their circumcised partners. I too grieve the babies I know whom could have been saved because their parents had all the information, but lacked the conviction, the courage, the will to do so. I too wonder how I will support the people I love, when they discover their parents knew better, but chose circumcision to “look like Dad” or any other illogical reasons to cut their most sensitive and intimate body parts.
I am also human. There is no escaping that.
And so I continue to fight for our babies, in the midst of the countless babies I haven’t been able to save, amidst the ostracism I endure, amidst the unpopularity of my advocacy. I continue to be grieved by the depravity of cutting babies, that has only become acceptable through ubiquity and mythology. I continue to speak loudly, to speak boldly, to speak truthfully, even when I know I will be ignored by those I love the most. And as difficult as it is, I continually remind myself that culture is a formidable force, that culture has co-signed human rights atrocities throughout history, and if not for the vocal, courageous, and fierce activists, willing to risk it all, those atrocities would have continued for longer than they did.
Advocacy is rarely popular. Activism is rarely easy. In the trenches of cultural change, the battle can seem insurmountable. But history is always viewed with 20/20 vision. The future is my comfort. The day all people see cutting children the same way I see it, is what brings peace to my grieved heart.
I’ve written before that motherhood is important, that it’s valuable and meaningful work. I’m reminding you of that as I sit to write this post. Because there is a very distinct line between valuing the work of parents, and sentimentalising the role of motherhood.
After the ridiculously divisive week of Black Breastfeeding, Acquanda Stanford tweeted: "Why is it so hard to get people to care about black women breastfeeding." And, I thought, ‘because of how white supremacy views black motherhood.’
As in, Black Motherhood is not valued or sentimentalised in the same way White Motherhood is. Denene Miller wrote about her birth experience on My Brown Baby back in 2012. She sums it up with, "At the end of the day, to almost everyone in that hospital, I was just another black girl pushing out another black baby and neither of us deserved to be treated with dignity or respect…"
But sentimental motherhood isn’t about white v. black, or the gross disparities in care and outcomes of Black women and their babies versus all other ethnic groups and their babies. Because although every birthing person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, there is no value in sentmentalising motherhood.
Motherhood needs to be presented in its raw truth. Sentimental motherhood is lacking in reality. Sentimental motherhood creates isolation. It prevents authenticity. Sentimental motherhood doesn’t allow us to come together in the ugly and isolating and lonely moments of parenthood to seek out support and solidarity.
Sentimental motherhood is cis-hetero centric. Sentimental motherhood presents the “ideal” mother as being white, married, middle-class, cis, and hetero. Sentimental motherhood presents some ideal that no one can live up to, even when we can check off all those boxes of identity privilege. Sentimental motherhood is patriarchy. It defines womanhood as being fully self-actualised in this narrow definition of what a “real” mother looks like.
Sentimental motherhood manifests in many ways. It’s the deification of breastfeeding mothers. It’s the glorification of motherhood as idealised identities for cis-women. Sentimental motherhood devalues women who choose never to have children. It glorifies fertility as being a defining moment in womanhood, isolating women who cannot or choose not to grow their own babies. Sentimental motherhood doesn’t include single parents. Sentimental motherhood values the work of mothers only when it fits into these narrow definitions of ideal motherhood. It’s exclusive of mothers and parents who can’t check off boxes of identity privilege.
Sentimental motherhood offers no safe space for days when parenting is not physically and mentally possible. Sentimental motherhood blames women for post-partum depression. Sentimental motherhood does not allow for imperfection, for exhaustion, for the very real truth that parenting is hard and sometimes we just don’t want to do it.
We need authentic parenthood. Space for the raw truth of parenthood. Valuing all mothers and parents in the myriad of ways we hoof it out every single day. Sentimental motherhood forces us to masquerade as perfect, idealised, and in some non-existent fantasy land, and we kill ourselves trying to achieve some unrealistic and imaginary identity. That’s the furthest thing from reality, and it’s not how we value parents. Parenthood is difficult, and all parents need support. There is no perfect parent, and sentimentalising the identity of motherhood is white supremacy patriarchy.
When I was trying to quit smoking
and we drank white wine from Mason jars,
you called my freckles cocoa powder
and I called your green eyes
I am learning how to be a grown-up
who pays bills, cooks her own meals,
and doesn’t cry at words like
I think I just want to be friends.
The truth is this:
Love is an organic thing.
It rots and softens.