Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Valley and Circumcision

From the beginning of the breaking of the scandal, something about it parallels the circumcision debate for me in a way that's maybe difficult to articulate.  Recently someone posted on their facebook wall complaining about the pillorying (is that a word?) of Paterno when Sandusky is the criminal and where the focus should be.  Yes, but...

My comment on that: "Yes, the crimes were committed by Sandusky, but the fact is he was never going to stop himself. He had a sick complulsion, and the only way to stop him was through outside actors - who refused to act in any meaningful way. And so the abuse continued. After he was caught in the act. After multiple people witnessed it and were in a position to act. This could have continued until Sandusky went to his grave, and if people had still neglected to act there would just be more victims. Yes, Sandusky was ultimately the criminal. But if no one stops him, even after knowing full well what was going on... for whatever reasons... what does that say about the culture there? And THAT is what is enraging people about this."

How is this like circumcision?  It's sort of exactly like circumcision.  The more you learn about the procedure and what is taken from the boy (or girl) the more you are forced to recognize it as sexual mutilation and abuse.  Its as if you become McQueary walking into the locker room.  You hear the slapping sounds and you look.  And you can't unsee what you've seen after you watch a circumcision video or see one in person. After you realize that most of the world doesn't do this and this is not the human norm.  There is no reason to do this, but for the sexual preferences of adults forced on children at their most vulnerable.

But we all live in Happy Valley.  We are all surrounded by people with something at stake in pretending.  Pretending we don't know, we didn't see, or that's everything is actually OK.  What we saw in the shower is between Sandusky, the boy and his parents.  They chose to send him to Sandusky for a beneficial experience.  Parents choose to offer up their infant boys for a beneficial procedure.  I suppose the Sandusky boys' parents were presumed to know and be OK with what was going on and us Mike McQuearys should really butt out.  Its not our business.  Leave it alone and everything will be OK.

Pay no attention to the man in the shower.  Pay no attention to the men and women with knives.  Don't look into that 11 year old boy's eyes.  Don't help him.  Don't jump Sandusky and knock the daylights out of him, call the cops and get a rape kit on that boy for absolute proof and no chance of any more victims. That's what we intactivists really want to do, but its so frustrating.  We live in Happy Valley.

In Happy Valley there are only the concerns of adults at play.  Don't disrupt the football program.  Don't upset all the players, parents, doctors, cut men, etc. who have been affected by circumcision in the past.  Don't invite a slew of lawsuits.  Everyone is Happy.  Can't we just keep it that way?

We can, if you just look the other way and consider the rights of parents to make these decisions for their children.  We can, if you just solely consider religious freedom to circumcise.  Pretend that a child's right to their whole body does not supercede that.

That's hard for some people.  We're not all Mike McQueary.  And we're not all Joe Paterno.

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