An Open Letter to the Father of Chase

Hello Dennis.

I’m sure that in the past months, you’ve experienced a lot of emotional upheaval.  I’m sorry about that.  I’m sorry about that, because I recognize your humanity.  I know you experienced a recent court battle, and that making this choice is your legal right.  Parents make all kinds of decisions for their children day-to-day, controlling every aspect of their lives.  Of course, not circumcising him is still a valid choice that you could make.  But these things can sometimes become overwhelming.

I know that you have been harassed, threatened, called names and been pushed hard.  I know that because I write a blog detailing the abuses by intactivists.  I also know that many of them are doing this because it hurts their heart so badly that this is happening and they can’t stop it.  Recognize the humanity in them, please.  I realize you’ve been left no graceful way out, and so you may feel very pressured not to back down. But I do think a valid question to ask is “does your son need this surgery?”

I do think you genuinely believe that circumcision is the better choice.  But truly, Dennis, that point is four years past.  Or fourteen years in the future, if it were your son’s preference.  Consider the pain your child will go through.  Is that pain benefiting him at this point, when he has been problem-free for four years?  I know that you probably aren’t moving forward with any intent to hurt your son, but the fact that he will experience unnecessary pain is undeniable.

I want you to understand, Dennis, that if there was a medical necessity I would be firmly in your corner.  I want you to know that I am very against any of the vile things I’ve seen said about you, along with the doxxing, picketing and harassment.  I want you to know that I know that that makes you feel further pushed into making this decision.

But you don’t have to.  You really don’t.  Please consider that this may not really be the best thing for your son.  There is still a way to reconsider.  Because surely you are a good man, Dennis, one that is doing this without realizing what this surgery entails for a four year old.  I believe that.  But I think you’re making a poor decision. Your son has lived without being circumcised for four years now, without any issues- I believe that putting him through an unnecessary surgery, at this point, to be wrong.  I don’t say that to join a volley of voices that are raised against you and your decision.  I say that as somebody who cares, somebody who wants you to have a kind voice in your life telling you that no, you don’t have to do this.

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Intactivist Interview 1

This is the first of a multi-part series of interviews by intactivists.  I’m very excited to have gotten these interviews and I think they are excellent and thought-provoking.  Words from people who truly believe in the necessity of education against circumcision, but not in the inclusion of hatred in that message.

I got a chance to talk to a prominent intactivist by phone today, who has described some of her experiences with intactivism, the current implosion in certain corners, and what you can really do to make a difference.

Specifically, when it comes to the extremist intactivists, what is your experience with how much time they actually spend thinking about or discussing this topic?
A: Oh you can’t talk about anything else, everything comes back to circumcision, it’s all about circumcision, you have a group, people come out and they just, ugh, they basically can just find anything to assign to circumcision or foreskin/genital related. I would post about making bread and somebody would respond about the keratinization of the bread.
All i thought about was circumcision I thought about infiltrating groups, making sure we were protected from the trolls, it was crazy, it was completely, completely time sucking
How many disenfranchised people are you seeing over the latest drama?
A: I think there are a lot of disenfranchised people, the IM’s im getting over this stuff is people saying ‘oh it’s been getting really mean and i’ve walked away from it myself’ i think people are seeing the questions raised about the leadership and people are questioning their involvement and what it should be and I think people are just getting involved with their families again.
How effective do you think this type intactivism really is? Do you think that people tell the intactivists talking to them what they want to hear in order to get them to leave them alone?
A: All these intactivists talk about how many messages they get (about ‘saving babies’) and I never get them, it’s really weird.
I’m sure the smart ones pacify the intactivists and then go on and do their own thingsthe ones that speak up and try to reason with the intactivists, these are the ones that end up getting hunted down. The really really harsh tactics, do they work? Absolutely. But you’re alienating more people than you’re bringing in like that.
What methods are used to hunt them down?
A: They have groups where if someone sees a post about someone who is gonna have their son circumcised they post the thread and if comments are available they leave them or if not they PM the person. They have groups where if you want to ‘educate’ someone you can go to the groups and find people to go ‘save the baby’ but it really is just a way to scream and yell and bully. I mean if the parents do their research that is fine, if they got the information that is fine. There will be regret parents who didn’t have the information and screaming yelling and bullying isn’t going to bring them to our side any sooner, and if it does, it’s going to bring them a little broken.
We like regret moms, but they have to feel really bad. They have to keep reinforcing how bad and awful we found. If a regret mom says ‘my one son is very happy about the decision I made, and so is my other son I didn’t circumcised’ they’re ostracized, called a troll, people would look for pictures or question whether that person is genuine, whether its who they really thought it was all along, and before you know it, they’re kicked out.first of all you’re not allowed to say your circumcised son is ok. This is where they came up with these taglines ‘every circumcision is a botched circumcision’ they keep repeating these things to the mothers, you CAN’T say your son is fine.

There’s no dissent allowed in intactivism.

Intactivists frequently say they’re not organized or structured, how do you respond to that?
A: (Laughs) They definitely aren’t. They’re like a ragtag army, the most ridiculous group (laugh) there’s different chapters all over the place, the left hand doesnt know what right hand is doing, people go to events to antagonize people, not make friends. They just make everything into a war.

If you had to give advice to somebody questioning the methods or message of intactivism, what would you say?
A: First I’d tell them not to get involved, I’d tell them to do their own thing, I’d tell them not to get involved with this movement because it’s toxic. I would tell them (laughs) I’m so jaded right now. I would tell them just get enough involved so you get ahold of studies, get involved with people who don’t use the same extreme tactics. Get an understanding of the medical terminology and anatomy of the penis. You can’t advocate for something if you don’t know the facts. This whole movement is full of people who parrot things they don’t understand. They don’t know how to research. You have to have a core of studies that you use to talk about. Don’t get emotional about the topic, it IS emotional but you have to step back. Don’t let it consume you, because it will.

Having been involved for so long, what would you say has been the most effective way of “saving babies”?
A: Real legitimate science. Honest answers. If you are gonna tell someone ‘there IS a slight reduction in risk for a UTI’ then you look at the risks of circumcision and ask, is this really legitimate? You have to ask if the risks are really worth the benefit, even up to death? You have to decide between a course of antibiotics or a circumcision. If the person feels the risk of a UTI, for example is enough, then you have to say OK. I think people have to be a dispassionate source of information. You can’t make the decision for them. You don’t have to respect what they did but you do have to respect that it is their decision. You have to leave them room, not alienate them. Give them valuable resources. Reverse the belief that foreskin is deadly and circumcision is a panacea, circumcision will lose popularity. It won’t be such a cultural norm.
People say ‘if I had only known, I wouldn’t have done it’. You have to let people know, and if they do decide to do it we have to leave them alone. Don’t go after them.

Is there anything else you think is important to add?
A: Be careful who you follow.


I2 and the Hatred of Women

I, and other women who have been or still are involved in intactivism, have noticed a particularly disturbing trend within the movement: the hatred of women. Women have been blamed for the prominence of circumcision within the United States. Women have been told that they should have miscarriages, that their genitals should be mutilated and even that they should be raped. Discussions regarding female genital mutilation rarely go on without someone saying something along the lines of “male circumcision is worse! you women are hypocrites!” Mothers are harassed via private message and have their faces plastered on hateful pages such as Butthurt Bitches.

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What is it about intactivism that draws the attention of so many men who harbor anger toward women?  After all, circumcision was invented by men. Why place the blame on women? Why be so angry and hateful toward mothers who are just trying to do the best thing they can for their children, based on the opinions of their medical practitioners?


Saving Babies – A Comparison of Intactivism and the Anti-Abortion Movement

Is there anything so righteous sounding as saving a baby?  I can’t think of anything right off the top of my head.  Specifically, throwing oneself in the fire in effort to save an innocent.

Truly that is the stated goal of both intactivism and the anti-abortion movement.  I’ve witnessed a lot of eye rolling at this comparison, but not really much in the way of any actual reason for why the comparison is not apt.  The closest thing was simply that a baby had to be born to be circumcised, but not aborted, and the person would not have a third trimester abortion herself, but she would support a woman making that choice.  As it turns out, so would I.  I know that women do not have third trimester abortions for no reason, and that things have to be desperate.  I know that the majority of women have an abortion early in the pregnancy, the vast majority in the first trimester.

But, that is sort of like saying circumcising a baby at 2 days old is better than circumcising a baby at one year, or a child of five years.  To many in the Intactivist movement, circumcising a child at all is a violation.  Just as to many in the anti-abortion movement, abortion at any point at all is a violation.  Even for rape or incest.

Think about that.  That is clearly an argument that is based entirely in emotion, throwing out facts and reason for their feelings.  That is fine, when it comes to them and their children, or their body.  But that is not fine when it comes to trying to make a choice for anyone else.  At that point the argument must be based on solid evidence, solid reasoning.  Solid evidence is not evidence that only validates your point of view in its entirety.  Solid evidence is evidence that is strong, and solid reasoning is following that strong evidence, even if it leads you to a conclusion that goes against your gut.

In what ways are the two activist movements comparable, specifically?  Intactivists claim that circumcision is child sexual abuse, that it results in the infant’s loss of virginity, that it is rape for profit, that it causes complications it doesn’t cause, and that, more than anything, it is a human rights violation.  Anti abortion advocates claim that abortion is murder, literally murder with intent, that it is the wholesale slaughter of innocents, that only sluts need abortions, that it causes complications it doesn’t cause, and that, more than anything, it is a human rights violation.

Now, maybe you agree with one or both positions, that you find that reasoning solid.  I certainly left out some of the more extreme tactics of each side, but my readers are aware of my thoughts on that anyway.  But why do you think that reasoning is solid?  The comparisons to sexual abuse and murder themselves are emotional ones, devoid of any respect to the actual definitions of those two crimes.  The claims of erroneous complications (such as being the reason for America having high viagra sales or the ED in America, and the claims that abortion causes breast cancer) certainly are not backed up by good science.  Trading claims between one group of physicians and another in op ed pieces isn’t evidence.   Dr. Momma isn’t evidence any more than any other prominent and biased Pro Life group or website.

Of course, writing this blog isn’t exactly an evaluation of different studies.  This is a piece written about why I find the two groups comparable, and my case for why I find it so.  The biggest thing that I find comparable between the two of them is the extreme appeals to emotion, the need to control and dictate what others do, and the lack of ability to distinguish good science from poor or good evidence from poor.   The last one of course being fine, if it weren’t for the need to control and dictate what others do.

What is the takeaway message of this?  Emotions are not evidence.  They have their place.  They exist, and there is no use denying it.  It is perfectly fine to make a decision for yourself based on that emotion.  It is not OK, in my opinion, to assert your emotional opinion as fact, or to make decisions for others based on emotion instead of evidence.  The fact exists that there are good reasons to question the prevalence of circumcision.  But none of those good reasons involve appeals to emotion.

Many would find being compared to extreme anti abortionists as extremely distasteful.  Why do you think that is?


UnMasqueing Carole Anne

Carole Anne Masque/ Carole Anne Babyak is very well known amongst the intactivist circle. She is supposedly the partner of Brother K (aka Kenneth David Hopkins,) and mother of their daughter. However, I have many reasons to believe that Carole Anne is not Brother K’s partner and has not been for many years.

Problem A:
Carole Anne’s account is for the most part inactive, unless Brother K’s account has been temporarily banned by Facebook. Here you can see that Carole Anne’s account was rarely used until Brother K’s recent seven day ban, when Carole Anne’s page started posting multiple updates per day. BK’s ban started on February 6th, 2015. Prior to that, Carole Anne’s page posted updates a few times a month. The majority of the posts on Carole Anne’s wall, prior to BK’s ban, are posts that BK tagged her in.
I find the idea that someone would just turn over control their FB account to their partner highly suspect. Which brings me to problem B…

Problem B:
The posts on Carole Anne’s wall are clearly written by BK. They use the same dramatic language, excessive usage of stickers, caps lock, etc. Here are a few examples to illustrate the similarities:

UC1 UC2

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UC5

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Problem C:
Carole Anne has never been sighted at any protest with Brother K. In fact, there have never been any modern photos of her posted at all. Every single photo of Carole Anne ever posted is from the 1980’s. When approached about Carole Anne, or rather the lack of Carole Anne, Brother K simply ignores and blocks.

UC7

No modern photos of Carole Anne. Check her page out!

No modern photos of Carole Anne. Check her page out!

Problem D:
Brother K claims that he and Carole Anne have a daughter. I have searched and I have been able to identify her based on the information about her that Brother K revealed on his page (her university, her year of graduation, her birthday, her mother’s maiden name, etc.)

I will not reveal her identity here, because she has done nothing.

However, her birth info on FamilySearch lists only her mother’s maiden name, which is Babyak. As you can see in the photo below, the mother’s maiden name is hyperlinked. However, when clicked, it just takes you right back to ‘x’ Babyak’s page.

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Problem E:
I was able to find an obituary for Carole Anne’s sister, who passed away in 2010. In the obituary, Carole Anne’s sister’s siblings, their partners and her nieces and nephews are listed. Both Carole Anne and her daughter are listed, but there is no partner listed for Carole Anne.

If Carole Anne and Brother K were together in 2010, as he claims, why wasn’t he listed as her partner in her sister’s obituary?

UC12

Problem F:
There is no real proof of Carole Anne having existed aside from the obituary posted above and these photos of newspaper clippings from the 80’s posted by Brother K. I could not find the archived versions of the articles through the newspapers’ websites, so I have no way of confirming their authenticity.
UC9 UC10
I searched for Mary Ann Babyak, Carole Anne’s sister, on Family Search and Ancestry.com. I could not find Carole Anne listed anywhere. I couldn’t find a birth certificate, marriage certificate or death certificate. There are no real addresses on record for her, only PO boxes. There is absolutely no evidence at all that she is Brother K’s partner… I cannot say that she does not exist at all, but it seems highly likely that if she does, she changed her name at some point. And then we are left wondering why she would choose to do that… Perhaps to hide from Brother K?

Brother K is constantly talking about the American people being fooled, which is ironic because it seems as though he is also pulling one over on his followers. Intactivism has become somewhat of a cult group, with those who question the methods and motives of the “leaders” ostracized and declared trolls. But take a minute and ask yourself about all of the things I have presented. Something doesn’t add up…

If you have any information regarding Carole Anne Babyak, please e-mail greenejam20@gmail.com


The Dehuminization of Mr. and Mrs. ‘Cutter’

When I read intactivism threads, which isn’t often lately, I noticed a near constant trend of dehuminization of the ‘other’.  It does tend to occur mostly, but not exclusively, by intactivists against parents who circumcise, parents choice advocates, and anti-intactivism advocates like myself.  (I do tend to stay off of other websites lately but not exclusively,  however, because the sheer amount of advocacy on Facebook by people using their real names the time spent is much greater there).

 

There have been a lot of posts lately, that have addressed intactocopping.  That is when one intactivist tells another what to do.  In true hypocritical fashion, it is completely acceptable when levelled against someone telling an aggressive intactivist to quit calling well-meaning parents rapists, but totally and completely UNacceptable when levelled against someone aggressive telling an intactivist working together with non-intactivists they’re ‘sleeping with the enemy’ (yes someone keeps being told that only because they are actually willing to have a conversation with people who think differently).  In other words, aggressive behavior is groomed by those who are fond of the term, and working together is sharply frowned upon and those doing it are to be shunned.

 

How does that relate to this post? Because that is the other group of people that are dehumanized by these aggressive intactivists.  If you are not using their tactics, not only do they now consider you against them, but also a full-fledged target.    A shorter way to say this is that any who do not think of this as a war are NOT welcome by these types of intactivists…brother k, holly de leon, brian herrity, william ortega, etc.   You join, you ‘fight’, or you are a target.

 

The intactivists who do not want to be in a war, they are supporting the now-targeted.  And they themselves, in doing this, will become targeted too.  But they have INTEGRITY.  They know this is not what they support and they will not cross that line just to increase their status.

 

This must stop.  This kind of activism accomplishes nothing.  They form multiple groups soley for talking about this or that other group of activists, again, dehumanizing them.  Trying to shore up their position above or better than that group.

 

They set up secret ‘boot camp’ groups whose goal is literally to make men hate their body in order to recruit them into intactivism.  They teach other activists how to overcome men to make them loathe their own bodies, just to bulk up their numbers.

 

They lie.  They ostracize.  They rob you of your self-esteem and then they demand you do it their way.  And if you will not?   You are a target.

 

Tell me, activists.  Is this what and who you want to be?


The Case Against “Intactocop” Labeling

Since this is my first post on TCAI, I think that I should introduce myself. I’m wearemadeofstardust. I was an intactivist and participated in online debates, interviews, etc., for several years. I am still anti-circumcision, however, I do not agree with the tactics that have been utilized by the major players in intactivism. I am joining everyone else who has posted for TCAI in speaking out against the bullying and bigotry.

Bullying is a very common problem in intactivism. Here are just a few examples of this behavior:

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It’s common for Facebook statuses to be shared within intactivist groups and pages, such as Intactivists Stop Circumcision and Mutilation Watch. Intactivists are encouraged to comment on the statuses, message the poster, and otherwise harass parents.

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Stalking parents and their children is somehow acceptable.

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sucker

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This type of behavior isn’t rare. It is celebrated and put on a pedestal. These people (Brian Herrity, Brother K, William Ortego, Max Bell, David J. Bernstein, etc.,) have HUGE followings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These people threaten violence, wish death upon people, tell women that they hope they have miscarriages, build databases of “cutters,” etc. This is NOT normal behavior, and I feel that it is a matter of time before a rabid intactivist ends up on the news for doing something awful.

You may be asking yourself why more people aren’t speaking up about the bullying, stalking, and misinformation.

This is what happens when you speak up:
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When someone speaks up, they get called an intactocop. They are effectively silenced when their comments are deleted and they are blocked. Criticism of intactivism is met with ostracism.

For those who aren’t familiar with the term “intactocop” here are some definitions and the word in action.

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Apparently, methodology and effectiveness don’t matter.

It’s interesting that Brian Herrity should mention that intactivists “save babies.” How exactly are infants being saved from routine circumcision when he and his ilk post status updates that make no sense to anyone who isn’t already an intactivist and use signs that also make no sense to the general public?

Brother K holding signs that make no sense to the general public.

Brother K holding signs that make no sense to the general public.

Rabid intactivists need to wake up and see that their behavior isn’t saving babies. It isn’t educating anyone. They have created a cult.


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