(PRWEB) June 26, 2002
CIRCUMCISION RESOURCE CENTER
P.O. Box 232, Boston, MA 02133, Tel/Fax (617)523-0088
NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Circumcision Causes Lifelong Harm, Concludes New Research
U.S. attorney warns doctors, "The foundation is well laid for lawsuits."
BOSTON (Monday, June 24, 2002) - A new study on circumcision in the latest
edition of Journal of Health Psychology concludes that the surgery causes a
host of psychological problems-including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
(PTSD)-in adults who have suffered the surgery as babies. The study is due
on doctor's desks this week.
"Half of all men who were circumcised as babies have some degree of PTSD.
PTSD is what happened to men who went to Vietnam, and parents are doing it
to their babies," said J. Steven Svoboda, Executive Director of Attorneys
for the Rights of the Child, a lawyer and co-author of the study.
The study concludes that the trauma of circumcision affects the developing
brains of babies, and as a result, they may later suffer a host of
psychological problems as adults, including "depression and a sense of
personal vulnerability," in extreme cases causing the men to react in
"aggressive, violent, and/or suicidal behavior."
"We're hearing from a lot more men about emotional difficulties, sexual
difficulties, and psychological problems that they are attributing to their
circumcision," said Ron Goldman, Ph.D., Executive Director of the
Circumcision Resource Center in Boston, a psychologist, and another
co-author of the study with two other academics, "and it brings the
attention to mental health professionals that circumcision may be the cause
of some of the problems that they are diagnosing in men."
Up to now, many mental health professionals have been unaware of the
psychological harms of circumcision. "Now, men who have problems that they
cannot explain, and which may be mystifying their therapists, may look at
circumcision as the possible root of their problems," added Goldman.
The study's authors write, "PTSD may result from childhood circumcision,
just as it does from childhood sexual abuse and rape," and that "some men
circumcised in infancy or childhood without their consent have described
their present feelings in the language of violation, torture, mutilation,
and sexual assault."
The study found that "as compared with genitally intact men, circumcised men
were often unhappy about being circumcised, experienced significant anger,
sadness, feeling incomplete, cheated, hurt, concerned, frustrated, abnormal,
and violated." The authors also found that circumcised men reported lower
self-esteem than did genitally intact respondents.
Svoboda of Attorneys for the Rights of the Child, an organization that has
brought lawsuits against doctors who have circumcised babies, said: "This is
going to affect the kind of damages that adult men get for being circumcised
against their will as babies. Lawyers are going to be in court holding up
this article and judges are going to have to pay attention. To win a legal
case you have to show harm, and what the harm cost you, and this article
Svoboda has a warning for doctors who continue to circumcise babies against
the recommendations of medical bodies: "We know the physical damage being
done by circumcision, and that it is not medically recommended at all. The
foundation is well laid for lawsuits. Doctors who are still doing
circumcisions are already investing in a lot of trouble, and this study
makes their trouble worse. They just have to wait 18 years until that baby
grows up and they're in for a lawsuit. And an army of lawyers will be there,
with this study and many more in their arsenal."
Marilyn Milos, Director of NOCIRC, an organization that seeks to end routine
neonatal circumcision in North America, says, "This is the first time an
article addresses the long-term psychological trauma. The trauma is
significant for babies, resulting in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Any
time that we can determine that there is such severe harm to an unnecessary
procedure it should be outlawed. Female genital mutilation has been
outlawed, and we need the law to set the standard, here, too, followed by
aggressive educational programs. Parents and doctors need to know that this
is a harm that lasts a lifetime."
Svoboda is convinced that this study will have a major impact on
circumcision in the U.S. "Doctors ignore a lot of medical literature," he
said, "and they ignore the screams of the babies, but they listen when they
hear the word 'malpractice.' As a lawyer willing to sue, I've never had a
doctor not listen to me."
The Journal of Health Psychology is an interdisciplinary, international
journal that acknowledges the social context of health, illness, health
policy, and publishes theoretical, methodological, and empirical studies.
The circulation of the Journal is worldwide and papers are invited from
authors throughout the world.
The U.S. circumcises over 1.2 million male infants per year. The rate has
gradually declined to just under 60% in recent years. Circumcision is
generally considered an American cultural practice, but the pertinent legal
questions have not been decided and are only recently being asked. The
debate about circumcision has been more vocal lately due to increased
awareness and questions about harm and lack of proven benefits. Proponents
continue to claim potential decreased risk of certain diseases, but these
claims are not accepted by any national medical organizations.
For More Information Contact:
Ronald Goldman, Ph.D. Executive Director, Circumcision Resource Center,
Boston, Mass. 617-523-0088
Ephrem Fernandez, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology, Southern
Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, phone: (214) 768-3414, fax: (214)
J. Steven Svoboda, J.D. Executive Director, Attorneys for the Rights of the
2961 Ashby Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94705
Fax/Phone (510) 595-5550 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Marilyn Milos, RN Director, NOCIRC, San Anselmo, CA. Phone: 415-488-9883
Fax: 415-488-9660 email:email@example.com, website:http://www.nocirc.org/
The Article: http://www.cirp.org/library/psych/boyle6/