A mother from Nottingham has battled for four years for authorities to take action after her baby son was circumcised without her consent.
The mother, who did not want to be identified, described the distress of discovering what had happened: “I opened the nappy and I ended up having to leave the room because I felt hysterical.”
“It was just awful really, it wasn’t very nice, there was all blood there and stuff.”
The boy was circumcised in July 2013 when he was three months old, and apparently staying with his paternal grandparents, who are Muslim.
His mother originally contacted social services, then contacted Nottinghamshire Police on 24th November 2014.
There was an investigation but the force deemed it not to be a criminal matter, and the case was referred to the General Medical Council.
The mother later got help from the anti-circumcision group Men Do Complain and leading human rights lawyer Saimo Chahal QC, who wrote to Nottinghamshire Police.
According to the British Medical Association, male circumcision in the UK is generally assumed to be lawful provided there is valid consent.
However, the mother believes it amounts to MGM or “male genital mutilation”, and should be viewed in the same way as female genital mutilation (FGM).
“It’s even illegal to dock dogs’ tails. I’ve come home crying my eyes out thinking a dog has got more rights than my child.
“There’s something seriously not right with it all. You can protect a dog, you can protect a girl, but not a boy,” she said.
After receiving the letter from Ms Chahal, police reopened the investigation and arrested three suspects- a 44-year-old man and a 47-year-old woman, believed to be the boy’s paternal grandparents, as well as a 61 year old man- thought to be a doctor.
The three were finally arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm but have been released pending further investigation.
In the years since the circumcision, the mother said her son has suffered from recurring infections, and his penis regularly becomes inflamed and sore.
“It looks like he’s been half circumcised is the only way to describe it. There’s half the skin, it’s not all the way over. It swells up, it gets red and a little bit sore in places.”
Following media coverage about the case, an experienced urologist based in Cambridge has offered to assess the boy and see what can be done to help him.
The mother also spoke of how a lot of people have failed to empathise with her and her son following the incident.
“Even a couple of police officers have made remarks like ‘Oh my husband is circumcised, I think it’s better’. It’s just silly little comments like that. It’s just heartbreaking.
“I wrote to MPs and they basically shoved me off. Everybody you speak to it’s like speaking to a brick wall.”
“I just can’t believe that we’ve actually got to this point now and it’s taken four years,” said the mother.
“Nobody was listening when I spoke about it and now it’s being acknowledged worldwide.
“If anything good can come of what’s happened to my son it’s raising a little bit more awareness to the suffering that comes, and giving people that are thinking of circumcising their children a bit of understanding about what they are doing.”