Saturday, January 30, 2016

SOUTH AFRICA: 43 circumcision deaths

Genital cutting claims lives of 43...

18 December 2015

Heat claims lives of three initiates

by Patsy Beangstrom
Northern Cape - Three initiates have died in the Northern Cape as a result of heat exhaustion since the start of the summer initiation season in November.

The death toll from botched circumcisions has risen to 43 nationwide.

Xhanti Teki, media liaison officer of the provincial Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs, on Thursday confirmed the three deaths of initiates in the Northern Cape due to heat exhaustion which he attributed to the soaring heat conditions.

...The department further stated on Thursday that an interdict has been sought against an illegal initiation school in Dithakong.

“The interdict was served to the respondent on December 11. The intention of championing the legal avenue is to clamp down on illegal initiation schools.”

Teki added that the Draft Northern Cape Initiation Bill, which will legally regulate the practice, was currently being processed and it was expected that it would be promulgated in 2016.

Newly appointed Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, David van Rooyen, told reporters in Pretoria earlier this week that the death toll from initiation schools nationally had risen to 43 which he added was “totally unacceptable”.

The Eastern Cape reported 30 deaths, followed by the Free State (six), Northern Cape (three), Western Cape (two), Gauteng and North West (one each).

Van Rooyen said the circumcision ritual faces challenges which include abductions, kidnappings, and the mushrooming of illegal and unregistered schools.

“We are working with various stakeholders across various sectors to ensure that our young men can undergo this rite of passage in a safe manner,” the minister said.

... Between 2005 and 2015, more than 500 initiates have died while 300 have lost their manhood, official statistics show.

FLORIDA: Boy spite-circumcised, has leukaemia, father keeps mother away

It's official: he's cut. Ah well, only 13 years till he can sue...

the Sun-Sentinal (Florida)
December 15, 2015

Boy at center of circumcision fight has acute leukemia; mom seeks visits

by Marc Freeman
The 5-year-old Palm Beach County boy whose parents' battle over circumcision was followed around the world now is in a fight for his life.

The child was diagnosed with acute leukemia last month — apparently soon after he was finally circumcised as his father long wished, according to developments revealed for the first time in court on Tuesday.

But the mother, Heather Hironimus — who was jailed for nine days in May until she consented to the circumcision — asked the court to let her see her boy as he undergoes chemotherapy treatments. The boy's father, Dennis Nebus, has had temporary full custody since mid-May, after Hironimus hid with the boy for almost three months in a Broward domestic violence shelter.

Nebus wants Circuit Judge Jessica Ticktin to bar Hironimus from any visits because of claims she "willfully" violated a prior court order by posting on social media about the child — in his case the leukemia diagnosis — in Facebook posts that apparently were distributed on the Internet by anti-circumcision activists.

"She has shown total disregard for this child," argued May L. Cain, attorney for Nebus, further blasting Hironimus and her attorney for their decision to "feed the press" by announcing in recent court pleadings the circumcision has happened.

"You know that all of the things that have gone on in this case and in the pleadings have been picked up by the media," Cain told Hironimus while asking her questions Tuesday. "You were on the front page of the Sun Sentinel, right? You didn't think that putting out there that your child was circumcised is a private matter that should have been private for him? Do you think that the world has the right to know that he's been circumcised?" [But the ownership of his genitals was not a private matter that should have been private for him?]
Brian M. Moskowitz, the West Boynton mom's lawyer, told the judge that because the boy has been circumcised there is no longer a reason for the court to keep her from the child because she would have no reason to kidnap him.

"The issue of circumcision has been removed, and that was the underlying basis for the order" giving Nebus, of Boca Raton, custody, Moskowitz said. "The circumstances have changed."

The attorney also said the child's medical crisis is even more reason for the court to allow her access to the boy.

"This is when the child needs both parents more than ever," Moskowitz said. The 31-year-old mother has seen the child only one time — in his hospital room on Nov. 10 after Nebus, 48, told her about the boy's condition — since her arrest in May.

The child is now in remission and living with Nebus, but still has chemotherapy treatments ahead to ensure the boy has a good chance of being cured, according to Dr. Carmen Ballestas, his pediatric oncologist.

Ticktin said she would consider the positions of both sides before issuing her ruling on the mother's request for visitation rights "as soon as I can."

In September, before the diagnosis, Hironimus was granted permission for supervised visits with the child at a neutral site, a Delray Beach family center, with a plan for an off-duty cop watching at her expense. But the visits never happened because of continued quarrels among the parents over details about the meetings, such as Nebus insisting she not accompany the boy into a bathroom.

Then, in early November, Hironimus was suddenly summoned to the hospital for her long-awaited reunion with her son — just not as she ever envisioned. She spent 3-1/2 hours in the hospital room with him, playing together with his toys and watching the movie "Finding Nemo."

After she told the boy she would be back the next day, "He had a big smile on his face," she said. But when Hironimus returned to the hospital she said she was met by security guards preventing her from coming to the room.

Hironimus testified that she only posted online about the boy's diagnosis so her family and friends could pray for him. She said she's no longer in direct contact with the circumcision opposition groups that supported her after she decided to fight the procedure she agreed to in a 2012 parenting plan.

"We have a mother here who consistently does not follow the rules," Cain told the judge. [We have a mother here who consistently puts her son's welfare ahead of "rules" unconscionably imposed by a control-freak father through a compliant court.]

Hironimus still remains bound by the conditions of a pretrial intervention agreement that resolved her criminal case in July. Hironimus was not required to plead guilty, but she admitted "responsibility for interfering with a lawful custody order."

She's required to undergo a mental health evaluation [but Nebus isn't?] and finish all recommended treatment; submit to random drug testing; and check in with a probation officer once a month.

The State Attorney's Office will drop the felony count in the summer if Hironimus successfully meets the requirements, including the completion of a four-hour parenting course. If she fails, she could once again face prosecution and a maximum punishment of five years in prison for a conviction.

Earlier story

SYDNEY: Botched circumcisions part of child abuse at boy's home (Australia)
December 12, 2015

Boys had penises cut off, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hears

by Megan Palin
WARNING: Disturbing content
A MAN who alleged his penis was cut off by a male staff member at a Sydney boys’ home was one of many children who were mutilated and severely abused at the facility, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard.

Gordon Myers, 50, told he was 13 when he was sent to the institution for the first time in 1978.

In his submission to the commission, Mr Myers said he was raped and bashed by various staff at the home on a regular basis over the five years he lived there.

He said a male staff member who “didn’t like little boys with foreskins” used to perform illegal and botched circumcisions on the children at Daruk.

“He cut my penis off,” Mr Myers told

“I had just turned 13. He took me into the clinic and said ‘we have permission to circumcise you’. I said ‘no you don’t’.

“He knocked me out with a needle and I woke up in the middle of it and there was (a second staff member there as well), I screamed in pain.

“Because I was so tiny, he probably thought, stupidly, ‘don’t give him as much anaesthetic to put him under’.”

Mr Myers said there was “blood everywhere” and that he was sent to Windsor Hospital where a surgeon “sewed (his) penis back on”.

He claims the hospital “covered up” the incident.

A spokeswoman for Hawkesbury District Health Service — which replaced Windsor Hospital — told there were no records of the incident because they had likely been destroyed.

“Having checked with our hospital’s Medical Records Department, the records for the old hospital would have been destroyed if the patient had not presented again within a certain period of time,” the spokeswoman said.

“The Medical Records manager confirmed that she has previously discussed the subject with the patient identified, and advised that unfortunately no records can be located.”

Mr Myers said his penis “never grew” as a result of the trauma.

“All the nerve endings aren’t there,” he said. “It was a complete reattachment of the top of it.”

He said the deformity had a profound effect on his life.

“I can’t have children and I can’t have sex,” he said.

Mr Myers provided with copies of medical documents which reveal Dr Philip Sutherland examined him in March this year for his submission to the Royal Commission.

“I can confirm that the size of Gordon’s penis and scrotum are childlike,” the report read.

Mr Sutherland referred Mr Myers to urologist Stephen Ruthven for further assessment.

Dr Ruthven concluded in a report sighted by that Mr Myers had “testicular microlithiasis”, a condition where small clusters of calcium form in the testicles.

Dr Ruthven could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mr Myers said he was not the only child whose penis was severed by the staff member at Daruk Training School.

“Every now and then he’d grab a kid to rape or circumcise and I was one of them,” he said.
Mr Myers said he was returned to the boys’ home following surgery.

“(The staff member) wanted to have another go and rape me a second time,” he said. “He raped me heaps of time before that but I wasn’t going to let that happen again.

“I just lost the plot and flogged him. I turned very violent.”

Mr Myers said dozens of boys were brutally, sexually and physically abused by staff at the home and that the perpetrators hadn’t been brought to justice.

He said an extensive cover-up linked to a VIP paedophile ring had protected the offenders and prevented them from being investigated.

Senator Bill Heffernan recently campaigned for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to expand its investigation to include the judicial system.

In October this year he told Senate estimates that he had given the commission “very disturbing” police documents that named at least 28 alleged paedophiles, some of whom were prominent Australians.

But he said the commission had told him it could not investigate the cases because they were outside its terms of reference.

Carl Orme, 50, told he was also a resident of Daruk Training school in 1978.

Mr Orme said he was routinely physically and sexually abused by several staff members at the home and that one at the school often taunted the boys and severed some of their penises.

“There was a male (staff member) there, and I will never forget his name,” Mr Orme said. “He was a very sick man.

“He’d start fondling with you and things and he would always threaten to circumcise everyone. “He used to scare you and everything, he’d get scissors out and grab hold of the old fella’ saying, ‘I’m going to cut it off if you don’t sit still, I’m going to cut your willy off’.

His excuse was ‘it’s clean to be circumcised’.

Mr Orme said the new arrivals were often the staff member’s main targets.

“Sometimes he would tell one of the boys that he liked, especially the new arrivals, and then take them back to the hospital,” he said.

“Then a couple of days later, that same little boy would come back so traumatised, everyone felt for him, as most boys had already been in the same position.

“I was taken to the hospital and told that they were going to circumcise me. I went off my brain and started to fight the officers in the room.

“I threw everything that I could at them, as I’d heard that two months before, one of the little boys had his penis cut off and I was so scared, and wasn’t going to allow anything like that happen to me.

“All my life I have wondered about that little boy, I still to this day try and think of his name. I also wonder whether he made it through life.”

The Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse is the largest Royal Commission in Australia’s history. It is focusing on the sexual abuse of children in institutions that were supposed to care for them.

After being granted an extension last year, the commission will now conclude at the end of 2017.

HELSINKI: Finnish Ombudsman wants male cutting age-restricted


Finland Times
October 10, 2015

Ombudsman for ending non-consented circumcision

The Ombudsman for Children Tuomas Kurttila has proposed a legislation which forbids the circumcision of boys for non-medical reasons.

The Ombudsman has proposed the initiative to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
Currently, the circumcision of underage boys is regulated by a ministerial guideline but not by legislation.

According to Kurttila, ministerial guidelines are not sufficient regulatory means since parents are not obliged to ask the children their opinion about circumcision in the current guidelines.

“The guidelines do not require the explicit consent of the child regarding the measure even though the child is unable to understand the significance of circumcision,” said Kurttila in a statement.

According to Kurttila, every child's right to physical integrity in the country has to be safeguarded.

EASTERN CAPE: Circumcision death toll; 29

Novewmber 30, 2015

E Cape on a drive to curb initiation deaths

by Yanga Funani
The campaign to curb the death toll in the coming initiation season in the Eastern Cape is shifting up a gear as the thousands of young Xhosa men will embark on the traditional rite of passage over the next few weeks.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in partnership with the Department of Health and the House of Traditional Leaders will hand over vehicles to oversee the safety of initiates this season.

At least 29 young men lost their lives during the winter circumcision period in the province this year.
This season, partnerships have been forged between the stakeholders to address the issues directly.

The theme of the campaign is, “Back to basics: Ensuring a safe passage to manhood for our boys, we are proud of our tradition”.

The campaign also included public engagements and door-to-door awareness programmes to inform parents about the correct procedures to follow.

SWAZILAND: More cut men have HIV than whole men

Why are we not surprised?

Star Africa
November 29, 2015

Swaziland: HIV infection higher among circumcised men – Survey

by APA
A study has shown that circumcised men have a higher HIV infection rate than uncircumcised men since 2007 when the Government of Swaziland introduced a policy on male circumcision, APA reports.

The study availed to APA Sunday morning [and available on this site since 2009]  states that out of the 305 circumcised men who were interviewed 21.8 percent were HIV positive compared to the 19.5 percent of uncircumcised men who were also interviewed and tested.

AIDS activist Vusi Matsebula told local media that most circumcised men are infected with HIV because of their behavior as they fail to use protection after undergoing the procedure because they believe circumcision is a preventive measure.

An official of Population Services International (PSI), Mandla Matsebula said; “The survey was conducted before the circumcision campaign was intensified. If they could conduct another survey now the results would be totally different.”  [Why should a more "intense" campaign have any different outcome? This is grasping at straws.]
Male circumcision, which is offered for free in Swaziland’s public hospitals, was introduced as a measure to minimize chances of infection by about 60 percent. [And still they chant their theoretical "60%" mantra, in  the face of real-world data that shows an increase in infection - using their own arithmetic - of  11.8%]
During school holidays the campaign gains momentum as male pupils are often the main targets for the free procedure funded by the government.

JOHANNESBURG: Mohel struck off after botch

Sunday Times (South Africa)
November 29, 2015

Jewish circumciser slapped with life ban after botched bris

by Pericles Anetos
The botched circumcision of a newborn boy has landed a senior Jewish religious practitioner with a lifetime ban.

The Beth Din, the Jewish religious court responsible for settling disputes, established a commission of inquiry after the baby's penis was partially amputated during what is commonly known as the bris.

As a result of the incident, the Johannesburg practitioner will not be allowed to conduct this procedure again and all mohelim - Jews trained to perform the covenant of circumcision - will have to be accredited and seek registration every two years.

The drastic sanction against the practitioner follows an investigation commissioned by Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein and the Beth Din.

The inquiry was conducted by retired KwaZulu-Natal deputy judge president Phillip Levinsohn, specialist urologist Dr Michael Cohen and Rabbi Dr Pinchas Zekry.

Victims of botched circumcisions wait for penis donors
The circumcision was performed last year and the commission's findings were announced this month.
The Beth Din said: "In 2014, a circumcision was performed that resulted in devastating and permanent injury to the baby."

No details were revealed of why this circumcision went wrong .

The Sunday Times was unable to establish how the baby is doing now and whether there have been surgical attempts to rectify the partial amputation of his penis.

The Beth Din said the " mohel will never be accredited to perform circumcisions".

It was found that the sacred duty of the bris was generally performed "carefully and compassionately" with due regard for the babies.

Goldstein said Jews had been circumcising their sons for almost 4000 years, since God first commanded Abraham to do so.

" [It] has a longer track record of proven safety than any other surgical procedure," he said.

"Jewish circumcisions have been done in South Africa for more than 175 years and this case is the first time that an injury of this severity has been reported."

The commission recommended that, among other things, the age and state of health of the practitioner be taken into account when deciding on accreditation.

The chief rabbi and the Beth Din fully accepted the findings and recommendations of the commission.

The changes recommended, Goldstein said, were about further improving the oversight of a system.

Prior to the release of the findings, the case triggered some online debate in the Jewish community.

Some people felt it was necessary to identify the practitioner in question so as to alert parents.