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Why Men Can't Just "Get Over" Circumcision
The ongoing cultural trauma of genital cutting.
Survivors of circumcision are often told to just “get over” their feelings around childhood genital cutting. While anyone who has survived a trauma wants to let go of their pain, this can be difficult due to the cultural trauma of circumcision. To understand why, read this excerpt from Children’s Justice:
To illustrate this ongoing trauma [of circumcision], imagine a woman who was raped. Although many women never get over such an experience, imagine that this woman accomplishes the Herculean effort of fully healing and integrating her experience. She is “fine” with her rape, and can speak about it with no emotional charge.
While speaking with a friend later, she mentions that once she was raped. Her friend replies that “being raped is perfectly normal” and begins defending the rape. When the survivor attempts to articulate that this was actually very traumatic for her, the friend becomes defensive and accuses her friend of bigotry and racism for speaking about her experience. Members of the woman's social circle turn against her. Even people who oppose rape are afraid to associate with her or speak about it publicly because they fear the accusations used against her will be used against them. The wider culture shares this perspective, through frequent articles and news stories justifying rape, and extolling its benefits.
A survivor living in such a culture would experience oppression and trauma, even if she fully integrated and healed the initial experience of rape. There is second trauma caused by culture and the reactions of others, separate from the initial experience. This ongoing cultural trauma might be equally, if not more, traumatic and harmful to the survivors than the initial trauma of genital cutting. All survivors of circumcision face this ongoing cultural trauma whether or not they integrate the initial trauma of circumcision pedophilia at birth.
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For more on the concept of cultural trauma, read this article:
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