The psychology of early childhood traumas is widely researched but not well known to the general public. More than 100 studies have shown that such early traumas, half mentioning circumcision, are detrimental to the child’s psyche, but not one found they are beneficial.1Bollinger D. Normal versus Cut – Final Psychological score 100-0. 2014. [READ] Intact America sees this as an opportunity to expand child genital cutting’s harm into the fields of psychology, sociology, and social work.

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What Are ACEs?

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) harm children’s developing brains. They change how children respond to stress and damage their immune systems so profoundly that the effects show up decades later. ACEs cause much of our chronic disease burden and most mental illness, and are at the root of violence.

ACEs are strongly associated with high-risk health behaviors in adulthood, such as smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, promiscuity, and obesity, and with ill health, including depression, heart and lung disease, cancer, and decreased lifespan. ACEs have a dose-response relationship with many health problems. That is, as the number of ACEs accumulates, the greater the health risks to the individual.

Why Are ACEs Significant?

Each type of trauma counts as one ACE, no matter how many times it occurs. People with an ACE score of 4 are twice as likely to be smokers, seven times more likely to be alcoholic, and 12 times more likely to attempt suicide. People with an ACE score of 6 or higher are at risk of their lifespan being shortened by 20 years.

Why Add Child Genital Cutting?

Involuntary childhood genital cutting (CGC)—including female genital mutilation, gender-norming surgery of intersex children, and male circumcision—is painful and traumatic and has been found to permanently alter individuals’ sexuality, and to have other lifelong consequences.2Bollinger D. Normal versus cut: Final psychological score 100–0. 2014. READ These early traumas are not included on the ACE checklist. In this adaptation (which we hope will be incorporated in all ACE checklists in the future), question number three is expanded by adding this line incorporating a common childhood adverse sexual experience:

Surgically alter your genitals or
circumcise you at birth or later?

Visit our CGC as an ACE website and download our white paper for more information on this important initiative.