What and Why?
When people typically think about mental harm, they actually think of it from the point of view of someone left intact that could have trouble through school or relationships, however, they fail to realize that taking away the ability to choose can have an even more drastic effect. An intact person can always choose to alter themselves, so at worst case the mental stress is temporary. The same cannot be said the other way around... which potentially means a lifetime of struggle. The purpose of this page is to attempt to explain that struggle, some comes from my personal experience, some is from discussions with others. Some things brought up may seem petty or unimportant, but it all adds up and everyone is affected differently.
So what exactly do I mean by a 'lifetime of struggle'? Well, some people are fine with the way they are left, some are unhappy but can put it out of their mind, some form a sort of emotional attachment that causes pain. I will be focusing on the last type as it is something rarely discussed. Something simple like taking a shower, going to the bathroom, sexual activity, or seeing a baby can remind this person of what they have lost. Sometimes it is a quick thought they push away, sometimes it lingers, sometimes they must recompose themselves, sometimes the feelings are difficult to push away and can cause a period of depression. Any number of those stages can happen every day. Even in days where there is a lot going on, one of these can easily manifest.
And really, this isn't a new concept, this sort of thing can happen to people for various reasons... obesity, handicap, death of a friend, illness, injury, deformity, financial trouble, sexual orientation, pretty much anything that people can have a difficult time dealing with. A person concerned with any of those issues can have numerous 'triggers' that brings it up in their mind. Does a handicap person ever forget? How about one struggling with their weight? Is it really much different then how someone who suffered an injury feels (burns, partial amputation of finger, etc)? How often do they think about it? What extent do these people go to in order to be 'cured'? Some issues like those struggling with weight can actually be achieved, even if temporarily... others are thorns that never go away. As a side note, these examples are meant to show there are similarities and perhaps help some people relate to what someone forced into genital cutting can feel, I am not saying one is worse then the other.
Lets shift gears a bit, women in the US are protected against genital cutting by law. But really, have you ever thought removing the vaginal lips and skin around the clitoris would be more attractive? Wouldn't it be easier to clean? For women, would it being easier to clean and 'maybe' having some health benefits sway you to get the procedure done? Would you considering doing that on your daughter? I mean, the answer is most likely no way! It is the natural female body, something you are comfortable with. I bring this up because the damage is not limited to those who feel pain from genital cutting. It has already affected millions of people just in how they accept or even prefer the procedure... but wanting to be left intact is not the abnormality.
The main unique thing about genital cutting that separates its from the issues mentioned above is it is not part of genetics, it is not left to chance, it is something society forces upon itself and that we can stop. Of course, changing a view society might have is not really an easy task, especially something like genital cutting. There are so many ingrained, preconcieved notions change can take a long time, but with the infant male circumcision rates falling below 50% I hope that day is coming soon. I ask that you at least take the neutral ground and let your child decide.
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