Didier Diers and Xavier Valla

Presented at the Fourth International Symposium on Sexual Mutilations,
University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland, August 9-11, 1996.

The Skopsy, the Russian Sect of the Castrated, was created in 1774 by Mr. Selivanov. Until the Leningrad Trial of 1929, there were nearly 10,000 members of the Skopsy sect and even up until the 1970s, a hundred members of this community could still be found.

The Castrated Sect is descended from the Flagellator Sect that was created in the end of the 17th Century. During the 18th Century, there was a deep mystical movement in the Russian population. Castrated members travelled around the Empire and propagated the simple message: "Everyone can be the tsar with this conversion."

In the early days of the Skopsy sect, castration was performed by burning the testicles with red-hot iron. This practice was too trying even for this sect, so the method of castration was modified so that the scrotum was cut with a knife or razor blade. Amputation of the penis followed a few months later. The operative techniques for female castration were even more drastic.

Didier Diers and Xavier Valla founded the Association Contre la Mutilation des Enfants (A.M.E.) in 1989 to fight against the mutilation of children. In France, twice as many appendectomies are performed that in other western countries. During the 1970s, tonsillectomy was a routine operation and during the 1980s, medical circumcision became fashionable. Today, 10% of the male population is circumcised. A.M.E. was the first European organization to speak out against genital mutilations. A.M.E. offers parents alternative documentation, collaborates with French Anti-female genital mutilation associations, and confronts the medical community about contraindicated surgeries. A.M.E. published the first nonsurgical treatment for teenage phimosis, written by Dr. Beauge.

Return to the Fourth International Symposium page.