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Droit au Corps’s vision : the path of compassion

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Version : 16 december 2016.

  1. Aim and purpose
  2. The path of compassion
  3. Sexual health : communicate good practices and assist circumcised individuals who suffer
  4. Open a public debate on the conditions for consent to circumcision
  5. Promote the creation of a global alliance for the abandonment of sexual mutilation

Aim and purpose

Droit au Corps’s founding principle is the right to control one’s own body.

The association’s aim is to bring an end to all forms of human sexual mutilation – female, male, transgender and intersex : excision, circumcision or other –, in other words any modification of a sexual organ carried out on an individual without their free and informed consent, and without medical necessity.

Purpose : the association’s ethical framework prioritizes the alleviation of suffering, and as such, it aims to end all physical and psychological suffering associated with sexual mutilation, and especially that inflicted on children.

Droit au Corps focuses principally on circumcision, a subject that is overlooked and largely absent from public debate.

The path of compassion

In accordance with its ethical priority, Droit au Corps not only aims to end suffering arising from sexual mutilation, but is also concerned with suffering that can be experienced by individuals who feel their traditions are under threat or who feel obligated to perpetuate them. Droit au Corps wishes that all parties concerned by the issue of sexual mutilation progress together towards this goal.

When a practice is rooted in tradition for centuries, change is difficult. Droit au Corps seeks to effect change not through force, but through cultural evolution. A culture is a complex whole of which circumcision is just one aspect. As Droit au Corps cannot be active in all aspects of the cultures in question, it seeks an alliance with all progressive actors in order to act globally.

In order to bring about a change in paradigms and attitudes, Droit au Corps’s preferred tool is to communicate the most objective and impartial information possible. The only way to benefit all parties is through raising awareness and factual education on the consequences of sexual mutilation.

There are numerous testimonials and scientific studies showing that circumcision is a source of suffering for many men, both in the short- and long-term. Calling attention to this fact without any taboos is one of Droit au Corps’s priorities.

Nonetheless, circumcision is closely linked to sexuality, a highly sensitive topic. For this reason, we consider it essential to speak about it with extreme gentleness.

Compassion in no way means settling for a loose consensus. On the contrary, it is the firm determination to alleviate suffering steadily over time.

Sexual health : communicate good practices and assist circumcised individuals who suffer

Throughout the history of medicine, ideology has often superseded science when it came to sexual health. In the 19th century, the idea took hold that mutilation of the penis or the clitoris was the antidote to masturbation, which was then considered a major cause of disease. Even if we have forgotten these origins, circumcision is still practiced on the majority of newborn males in the United States, under constantly changing pretexts, and despite the fact that there is no appropriate treatment for pain at this age. Circumcision is also a flourishing business : payment for the procedure, surgical equipment, sale of foreskins, etc.

This ideology of combatting onanism has left deep scars. We know today that circumcision is never necessary for therapeutic reasons, except for rare cases. There are less invasive alternatives that are too often unknown.

In addition, a bad practice persists today : the forced retraction of the foreskin. Carried out by uninformed doctors and/or parents, it can create pathological conditions and lead to circumcision, as well as being a source of psychological problems.

Droit au Corps has set out the following major goals :

- communicate good practices to the general public ;
- support efforts to educate the medical profession and inform all actors in the healthcare sector and, if necessary, play the role of whistleblower ;
- address the concerns of young people and parents regarding sexual health ;
- offer support to circumcised men requesting assistance in repairing damage to the extent possible (support groups, psychosocial support, information about restorative therapies…).

Open a public debate on the conditions for consent to circumcision

As the right to control one’s own body is the founding principle of Droit au Corps, the association is not at all opposed to circumcision once the individual concerned is able to give free and informed consent.

Droit au Corps wishes to start a public debate on “the conditions for consent to circumcision”, which would allow the reaching of a consensus between all parties, an optimal balance likely to alleviate a maximum of suffering.

Promote the creation of a global alliance for the abandonment of sexual mutilation

Recent years have seen a growing number of initiatives aiming to abandon sexual mutilation : first female, then male, transgender and finally intersex. The time has come to bring together all these forces in order to make their mission more effective.

Droit au Corps advocates a universalist approach to sexual mutilation : shouldn’t the world community protect all children equally, regardless of their gender ?

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