Psychological Challenges Faced by Initiates

In recent years, psychological complications during the traditional circumcision process have drawn researchers’ attention. In a study of fourteen initiated participants, the initiated men stated that they experienced sadness, stress and loneliness throughout their initiation process (Mtyala, 2007). There are many causes of stress that could lead to these feelings. For example, traditionally, parents are responsible to find responsible surgeons and nurses for their sons, take part in celebrations after the ritual, and play a major role in the organization of the initiation process. However, there have inevitably been initiates whose parents could not involve themselves in the initiation process. This lack of family support could have possibly led to sadness, guilt, and fear of misfortune since the ritual is not done in a traditional manner.

Lack of family support is not the only form of psychological challenges. An initiate’s time in seclusion can create stress which is meant to be a test of manhood.

There is also psychological stress present for the fear of breaking taboo during the initiation process. For example, initiates will often delay going to the hospital even when their life is in danger for fear of breaking tradition. Initiates who suffer with health complications during their initiation process can suffer psychologically from denying themselves proper treatment.