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I really wasn't sure what to write about this week because the thing that is occupying almost all of my mind and heart, is something happening on the other side of the world, and to which I have no direct connection.

In Florida today, there is a 4 year old boy who is the subject of a legal battle over his body. More specifically, his right to refuse circumcision.

I won’t bore you with the back story except to say that neither young Chase, nor his mother Heather wants him to undergo the process. His father does.

A court in Florida has already found in favour of Chase’s father on the basis of contract law* after which Heather took the radical step of going into hiding.

I know we all like to think we are “that parent” but really I wonder how many of us really would be brave enough to defy a court order and walk out of our lives and hide in a woman’s shelter to protect our children. 

That was two months ago, and determined to fight on, Heather had already filed a Federal suit when she was found and arrested on Friday. 

Her son, Chase, was handed over to his father.

Can you imagine being Heather over the weekend? Can you imagine the utter desperation of being ripped from the child you have literally given up everything to protect and see him handed over to the one person you fear the most?

I can’t.

And Chase, who we are told is fully aware of what is being discussed, to be handed over to the absent parent who he knows is fighting against his wishes.

I look at Alfie, who is only a squeak older than Chase and I see how strong and well formed his opinions are. I think about the years I have spent teaching him about the importance of bodily integrity and I try to imagine how I could look him in the face and betray his wishes. 

I can’t.

Heather’s suit is currently under consideration and there is no guarantee at this point that Judge Kenneth Marra will even accept that it holds merit. That’s such a glib statement isn’t it? Does this suit hold merit? Like we were talking about an argument over a fence line, or who had more right to take the TV in the divorce settlement, and for the life of me I can’t work out why we are making a distinction between this, and any other matter of bodily integrity.

Perhaps because the default victim of this unnecessary practice are a demographic who have no ability to speak out. Perhaps if we were used to the routine circumcision of adults we wouldn't be used to thinking we have dominion over the body of another person.

But I genuinely don’t see it: I don’t see how this differs from rape or assault. I don’t see how we can be living in 2015 and a country who touts itself as the leaders of the free world can be engaged in the wilful blindness of the harm that is being done in the name of profit. 

Circumcising your sons against their will does not protect them from disease, it doesn't make them cleaner, and it is not a way in which your child needs to look like their father. 

Dear America, other countries have walked your path, New Zealand included, and we have been brave enough to hold up our hands and say “we fucked up, this is not the best we can do for our sons”. 

Please have the courage to do the same.



* Heather had previously consented to the procedure

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