SEPTEMBER 2012: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ new Technical Report on Circumcision, the benefits of this medically unnecessary surgery outweigh the risks… and yet the Report provides no serious discussion of the known risks of circumcision and dismisses reports of circumcision damages. Tim Hammond
Thanks to the efforts of Tim Hammond, September’s Intactivist of the Month, we know better. Tim is the founder of the Global Survey of Circumcision Harm, originally published in BJU International in 1993, and re-launched in its current online version in 2011. Introductory material describes the survey as an “ongoing grassroots, all-volunteer effort to provide an online self-report and documentation method for any male who considers himself harmed by child genital cutting imposed on him without his fully informed consent.”
To date, more than 900 men have taken the survey. Last year, Intact America published an overview of the survey’s chilling results; you can see the latest survey data here. Many respondents have uploaded photographic evidence and video testimonies of harm. The stories and images are gut-wrenching proof that infant circumcision creates life-long damage, and is truly an egregious violation of ethics and human rights. The survey – available with the click of a computer mouse – provides graphic refutation of the AAP Task Force’s claim that circumcision complications are minor and insignificant. Any circumcising physician would do well to view the Circumcision Harms website, and consider the consequences of his or her practice.
Tim’s involvement in grassroots activism goes back to the 1960s, when he began speaking out against human rights abuses and advocating for the equality of women, rights of AIDS victims, and equal rights for gays and lesbians. In 1990, Tim co-founded the National Organization of Restoring Men (NORM), an international network of groups offering moral and technical support to men seeking foreskin restoration, and in 1992 he founded NOHARMM, “a non-violent, educational and direct-action network of men working together to end routine infant circumcision through a model of education and empowerment of other men.”
In addition to overseeing the survey, Tim is working to organize Canada’s first national registered charity devoted solely to the genital autonomy rights of male, female and intersex children. Understanding the need for national oversight of children’s rights, he says, “I’ve long recognized that as the movement to protect children’s genital autonomy grows, it will need well-funded professionally run organizations with highly skilled and effectively networked paid staff to bring our message to the halls of power and to the society at large. Intact America is one such organization on which I pin my hopes for this much needed social change.”
Says Georganne Chapin, Executive Director of Intact America, “Tim Hammond’s contributions to the genital integrity movement cannot be overstated. From his film Whose Body? Whose Rights? to his ongoing Global Survey of Circumcision Harm, Tim has spoken out for decades about the right of boys and men to a whole body, and about the lifelong damages caused by male circumcision. The Global Survey, though horrifying and heartbreaking, offers injured men a safe forum for telling their stories. How else will this violation of boys and men end, if not by making public what circumcisers would like to deny: the brutality of ‘routine’ genital cutting?”