Deeper Into Circumcision: An Invitation to Awareness

Carla Miller
Patients In ARMS

(Advocates Reforming Medical Standards)
7480 Gravois
Dittmer, MO 63023
(314) 274 ARMS

"My Own Nightmare and Fight for Justice"

Dear Reader,

Thank you for your interest and concern. If what follows is hard to read, perhaps you will sense how hard it has been to write.

My own nightmare and fight for justice began 14 years ago when I woke up in excruciating pain from what a gynecologic surgeon had told me would be a minor 20-minute operation to repair an asymptomatic and possibly non-existent hernia. He had performed instead a two-hour operation I never consented to and never would have consented to. I screamed in shock, horror, and disbelief when I saw what he had done to me. He had cut out my introitus and a lengthwise wedge section of my posterior vaginal wall and perineal floor, then sewed me completely shut from my coccyx to my pubic bone. Until I found the doctor who opened my vagina a year later, I could not discharge my menstrual flow, have intercourse, or feel comfortable anywhere except in a bathtub of hot water.

The several other doctors who examined me told me my problems were in my head. They falsified my medical records, told me I needed counseling, and refused to treat me. I realize now that they saw I had been severely mutilated, recognized obvious medical malpractice, didn't want to be involved, and put me off until the two-year statute of limitations had expired.

I finally found a gynecologist who acknowledged that my vagina was completely closed. He said it was the worst case of genital mutilation he had ever seen. In another two-hour operation, he removed massive scar tissue and created a new vaginal space. But my vulva was still displaced and disconnected from the base of my vagina. My new vaginal orifice was just a slit in my perineal skin, above and behind the arch of my pubic bone. And I was in constant severe pain.

This doctor referred me to William H. Masters, M.D., with whom he had worked at the Masters and Johnson Institute in St. Louis. I told Dr. Masters that if I pushed my displaced vulvar tissue back behind my pubic bone and around my vaginal orifice, I got instant relief and still had about 95 percent of my ability to experience sexual sensation. Dr. Masters led me to believe that my vulva -- in its entirety -- could be pulled back to its original position around my vaginal orifice. Both of these doctors told me they had examined and repaired hundreds of such mutilations. Dr. Masters said he had seen only three or four as severe as mine.

Dr. Masters instructed this second surgeon to perform my third operation. This "repair" made my surgically displaced vulva appear normal but cut out almost all of my erogenous tissue, severed my sex nerves, robbed me of 95 percent of my ability to experience sexual sensation, left me in chronic pain, turned me into someone no one would want to be, and altered my life and the lives of those closest and dearest to me forever.

I'd rather have been gang-raped.

I assumed I was the victim of botched surgery. But I later read in Dr. Masters' records that his specific written instructions were to separate my minor labia from my major labia. If he had told me this is what they were going to do, I would have refused. Dr. Masters knew the condition this operation would leave me in. He knew I would never have consented. And he didn't tell me.

I've seen almost 20 other doctors since then in my desperation to get help. But I never got help. One doctor, a plastic surgeon, rammed his finger in and out of me and said, "A penis will fit." Another, who described my closed vagina and displaced reconfigured vulva as "grossly anatomically normal," jabbed me in the clitoris and said, "Live with it!"

A psychiatrist I saw said, "First, I want to apologize for all that these medical doctors have done to you. I find this absolutely horrifying. Don't ever let anyone convince you that you have psychiatric problems, because you don't. I compare your trauma to that of a rape victim."

A psychologist who specializes in sexual trauma told me, "You've been sexually abused. It just happens to have been done by doctors."

In early July 1994, 13 years after our first meeting, Dr. Masters contacted me to arrange a meeting to discuss my complaints against him. I agreed but told him clearly that it would be just to talk and that I did not want him to examine me again. My husband and I met with Dr. Masters on July 19, 1994. During that meeting, which I audiotaped (with his permission), Dr. Masters told me he would need "three to four days" to examine me "to check for variance in the surgical result from day to day," even though I had told him I did not want him to examine me again. The Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts encouraged me -- illegally -- to submit to the four-day pelvic examination Dr. Masters illegally proposed -- illegally because every member of the Board was aware that the eminent William H. Masters, M.D., of the world-famous Masters and Johnson Institute in St. Louis, had not been licensed to practice medicine in Missouri since January 31, 1994. (His institute closed December 16, 1994.)

This is typical of the way I've been treated during my four-year run-around with the Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts, whose "mission is to protect the rights of the citizens of the state." The details of my ongoing ordeal with that organization will be thoroughly documented, along with the rest of my story, at a later date.

During these past 14 years, I've talked with numerous other women with stories similar to mine. I realize now that there are thousands -- perhaps even millions -- of women in this country who have been mutilated by their doctors. One nurse told me, "They do this to women all the time; they just don't tell them about it." One woman told me that she has had 18 operations in an unsuccessful attempt to repair her original surgery. One woman's stitches keep falling apart. One has to stand to urinate. Another has to wear diapers. Another can't keep her feces out of her vagina. Doctors performing "repair" operations on several of one surgeon's victims have found hearts and his initials carved on their insides.

Many of these women now live as virtual recluses. I've wondered how many have committed suicide.

I want this surgical destruction of genitals and lives to stop. I cannot live -- I cannot die in peace -- knowing that there are doctors who are doing to others what they did to me and are getting away with it -- without doing everything I can to stop them.

I founded Patients In ARMS to provide emotional support for victims of this deliberate, premeditated, intentional surgical mutilation of patients by their doctors; to document the physical and psychological damage and suffering it causes; to expose the greed, power lust, contempt, arrogance, indifference, hatred of women and pathological compulsion of the doctors who do it; to expose the collusion/conspiracy between state medical boards and doctors that covers it up and helps perpetuate it; to force state medical boards to do their job by immediately investigating complaints about it and taking swift, firm action against it; to forewarn and forearm the general public by making them aware of it; to help enact laws against it; to see that those laws are vigorously enforced to prevent it; and to severely punish doctors who continue to do it.

I spoke at the Third International Symposium on Circumcision about my experience and was shocked and sickened as I became aware, during the Symposium, of the parallels between what was done to me and what I had been brainwashed and pressured, against all my maternal instincts and common sense, into letting still another genital mutilator do to my own baby son.

I want to know why doctors mutilate women. I want to know why they mutilate male babies. I want to know what compels mutilators to mutilate. It's not just money.

I want to know if the percentage of doctors who cut genitals is higher among doctors whose own genitals have been cut. Is male infant circumcision at the bottom of all this cutting? IS IT?

I would especially like to contact other women who have been patients of Dr. Masters, and women who have consulted him about surgical "repair."

These atrocities must stop. I welcome calls, correspondence, questions, comments and suggestions from anyone who has been the victim of obstetrical or gynecological mutilation or any other kind of mutilation, malpractice, conspiracy or fraud -- including the amputation and trafficking of the foreskins of human male babies.

I care. I understand. I'll listen. I'll help any way I can.

Carla Miller, Founder/Director
Patients In ARMS

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