I ran to the upstairs bathroom and looked at myself and I could see the difference in the texture of skin, and I could see the scar, and said to myself, "They did cut me..." At the time, I thought they must have taken a section out of the middle and reattached it. I was traumatized for several years until I got into sex ed classes in school.
Circumcision just didn't make sense to me because my cousins in the Bahamas were not cut. I saw them peeing outside when I was visiting at age 6-7 years. I went home and tried to stuff myself inside like they could. And realized I couldn't. When mom told me several years later that I had been cut (shortened) it started to make sense, and began my work to speak out. Still, she told me that it was just something "they" did to boys - that it was better. But I always thought, if circumcision was supposed to be so good for boys, why weren't my cousins cut? They were perfectly fine - healthy as could be. It just didn't make any sense and it was a tough realization to come to.
In the 1970s I attended Vietnam War demonstrations, and that is when I got my first taste of demonstrating. Years later, I made my way to Washington D.C. on April 1st (April Fools Day) with a homemade magic-markered sign to stand on the steps of the Supreme Court and speak out about infant circumcision. I chose April 1st originally because it was my own way to use a humorous approach to raise awareness on a serious subject.
The second year when I returned again on April 1st, I spent time on the steps of the Supreme Court and then walked to the East steps of the U.S. Capitol. I saw a gentleman sitting there demonstrating and asked an officer if it was something I could do as well. He said I could and told me how to file permits with the Capitol Police - something I've done each year since.
A buddy and I would drive up from Florida through the night, spend all day demonstrating on April 1st, and turn around to drive home. In 1996 I acquired a computer and got online to find that I wasn't the only one with a passion for seeing an end to infant circumcision. Just a few years later Van Lewis found me and together we made the annual trip back to Washington D.C. April was named Child Abuse Prevention Month in 1983, and the federal FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) Law became effective on March 30, 1997, so it has made sense to keep Genital Integrity Awareness Week at this time each year.
One thing that still astonishes me after all these years is the lack of outrage that should exist over the 117+ baby boys who die as a result of circumcision each year in the United States. That number is low [due to lack of recording/logging by hospitals] but whenever this comes up in conversation, unknowing peoples' response is, "Well, it doesn't happen that often..." Yet when even a handful of babies die needlessly from other things, we jump to ban and file lawsuits. All the while death from needless genital cutting continues to be ignored. Aside from death, what about all the thousands more who lose a part of their glans? Who have chunks taken out of the shaft? Who have other botched outcomes? All men lose something when they are subjected to circumcision...
For the longest time after learning the truth I did not want to look at the pictures. I did not want to watch the videos. But as time went on, I realized people need to see this. And as a result, some of the signs used in our demonstrations have become more graphic. This year we had one sign showing the distinction between an intact and circumcised baby boy -- it is something that parents need to be aware of. The old saying, "the truth hurts" is applicable here... This is the truth, and it does hurt, and it cannot remain hidden any longer.
Video by James Loewen of Bonobo3D. View more of Loewen's work at his channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Bonobo3D
More from David Wilson at StopInfantCircumcision.org