walk_out_of_darkness_jane_luke_cropped

On Saturday, October 1, Luke Artanis and Jane Salkeld represented the Rose City Intactivists in a suicide prevention and risk awareness event, the Walk Out of Darkness  at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. We were there to honor the memory  and mission of beloved Bay Area Intactivist Jonathon Conte, who passed in May 2016.

my_body_belongs_to_me_jonathon_conte

All quotations in this article come from DoctorsOpposingCircumcision.org, an excellent resource for medical professionals and parents seeking accurate medical information and referral to knowledgeable doctors. Rose City Intactivists share D.O.C.’s vision of “a world where children are protected from unnecessary genital reduction surgeries and are free to develop as nature intended.”

Based on growing reports from circumcised men, other potential long-term psychological effects of circumcision include excessive or inappropriate anger, shame, shyness, fear, powerlessness, distrust, low self-esteem, and decreased ability for emotional intimacy.[14,17,13-25] Because circumcision is generally performed shortly after birth, it is a perinatal trauma, and several authors report that perinatal trauma may contribute to self-destructive behavior in adult life.[26-30] Lack of awareness and understanding of circumcision, emotional repression, fear of disclosure, and nonverbal expression explain why we do not hear from more circumcised men about how they truly feel.[17,31,32]

jonathon_conte_pumpkins

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a normal response to an event in which a person’s physical integrity has been threatened or violated. Forced genital cutting is a direct experience of sexual violence, so it fulfills the criteria as a psychogenic cause for PTSD.[11] Taddio et al. studied the behavior of babies at first vaccination. They found that circumcised boys have a much stronger reaction to the pain of vaccination than do girls and intact (non-circumcised) boys, which the authors suggested is an “infant analogue” of PTSD.[12] Other authors also have reported PTSD in circumcised males.[13] Rhinehart reported on four cases of PTSD connected with neonatal circumcision in middle-aged men that he encountered in his psychiatric practice.[14] Ramos and Boyle reported PTSD in 70 percent of Filipino boys who experienced ritual circumcision and 51 percent of Filipino boys who experienced medical circumcision.[15]

conte_freedom

A critical need for greater awareness continues to exist in the United States on this shrouded issue. Circumcision, in reality, is the rape and pillage of the penis. The foreskin of both male and female is functionally significant and extremely sensitive tissue.

Americans understand how horrific the amputation of the foreskin is for girls, and thus American girls are indisputably protected by U.S. law from the damage and permanent trauma of forced circumcision. But, as yet, there still exists an engineered blind spot that has for too long obstructed American recognition of the horror committed against our sons.

jonathon_conte_thanks

Based on personal experience as well as valid medical research, we feel strongly called to advocate for equal protections for ALL children who might otherwise be made to endure this traumatic, needless, life-altering surgery.  Genital cutting is extremely painful and is unquestionably an adverse childhood event. Only fully informed adults have a right to make such a choice concerning their own bodies and any coercion to have this profit-driven practice constitutes a severe human rights violation that has demonstrable evidence of being a significant risk factor for suicide in later life.

The efforts  of our fledgling organization, the Rose City Intactivists of beautiful Portland, Oregon, will continue to be directed to help raise awareness of the risks and complications of what has been billed as a “routine” surgery — particularly in relation to suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and actual loss of life from associated severe depression.

-Jane

 

 

This photo was taken by Frank McGinness during Critical Integrity, the Bay Area Intactivists monthly bike ride with SF Critical Mass.

“Watching Jonathon Conte’s (1981-2016) speech to the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2012 changed my life. Unfortunately, I will never have the privilege of meeting Jonathon in person. I have never heard someone articulate so calmly and devastatingly the trauma of discovering that one is a survivor of genital mutilation. Jonathon’s work inspires me to face my shame as a survivor of sexual assault and to advocate tenaciously for the fundamental and essential human right to own and enjoy my whole body.”
– Luke Artanis, co-founder of Rose City Intactivists

Please meet us at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at 9:00 am. We are providing intactivist signs to carry and wristbands to wear. The Walk Out of the Darkness begins at 10:00 am and follows a scenic, stroller-friendly route across two bridges and spans 2.5 miles.

Here is an excellent tribute for Jonathon:
http://www.yourwholebaby.org/jonathon

And here is the video and transcript of his AAP speech:

“As a child, I grew up believing that my body was whole. I grew up assuming that my penis looked and worked the same as any other. I grew up thinking that the scar on my genitals was just a natural part of my body and that all men had it. I grew up figuring that the soreness brought on by clothing and masturbation were normal aspects of being a guy. I never questioned why so many types of underwear were painful, I only found it strange that anyone could manage to wear them.

I was about 14 years old when I learned that part of my penis had been cut off. It seems like this is something that one might realize earlier in life and yet I never did. I was never taught about normal male anatomy and no one ever explained to me that I had undergone genital surgery as an infant. When I learned the devastating truth, my stomach sank and my throat closed up. It wasn’t easy for me to accept reality. Even though I understood that part of my body had been removed, I was in denial about the implications of this fact.

I battled with depression, particularly whenever I had to see my penis. Each time that I got undressed to take a shower, I would see the scar and I would be reminded of what was stolen from me. Each time that I urinated, I would be reminded that I would never know how my body was meant to look and how my body was meant to feel. I felt violated and helpless. I felt embarrassed and angry. I felt robbed and betrayed. I felt incomplete and damaged. And yet, I was incapable of verbalizing any of this. I was paralyzed by embarrassment of my condition and by fear that others would neither understand nor sympathize.

It took over a decade of trying to cope with my emotions before I gained the strength to take a closer look at the issue. I read about the functions of the intact penis. I studied the numerous physical, physiological and psychological problems that result from male circumcision and I began to recognize many of them in my own life. I learned of the way that babies are restrained during the surgery and the various techniques that are used to rip, clamp, crush, and cut their tiny bodies. I came to understand the greed, arrogance, and ignorance that perpetuates the genital mutilation of children…

So now I speak out. Because I don’t want any other child to have to make the same painful discovery that I did: That they were denied their human right to keep the whole body with which they were born.”
– Jonathon Conte, AAP Conference, New Orleans, 2012

On September 8th, 2016, human rights activists from Oregon and Washington protested at the gates of CareOregon’s headquarters in downtown Portland. Despite organizing a protest with less than week of planning, the intactivist community rallied an impressive showing. This event marks the first self-organized protest by Rose City Intactivists.

careoregon-protest-20160908

Thank you to the employees of CareOregon who courageously expressed opposition to the policy of paying for genital mutilation of CareOregon’s youngest most vulnerable patients. You are not alone! In fact you are just in time to join a growing coalition of medical professionals making change: Doctors Opposing Circumcision.

Thank you to all of our supporters, family, and friends who stain our crotches, design our costumes, paint our signs, and share our stories. You make all of this possible!

I’m so proud of everyone’s amazing work. We all feel a great urgency in solving this crisis. We are invigorated and energized. We are no longer fighting circumcision alone. We have a community.