From Boys to Men

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Initiation means acceptance.
The movement from one stage of life to another can happen in many forms, from a child's gentle baptism to a tribal hazing. It can take weeks for the initiation of Savic boys. For the boys to become a true Savic man they need to go through the process of "crocodile cuts." It happens once a year but doesn't happen to only one age group. Boys from as young as 13 to 20-years-old may all go through their tribe's initiation at the same time. All who take part of the process from boyhood to manhood know it's painful; it may cause death. Failure means to forever be a boy child, never to be fully accepted and frowned upon.

1. The man house.
The whole tribe will gather around the man house and wait for the men to take the boys. As they wait the boys grow more fearful as they listen to the noise coming from the man house. Screaming, roaring, and noises that sound like a crocodile cause all the boys to shake. When the head men do finally come from the man house they wear their tribe's ancestral clothing. The boys must fight through the men to get inside the man house. When they are inside the boys won't see their mothers, sisters, or younger brothers for weeks.

2. Hazing and humiliation.
Almost at once the boys are yelled at and hit. They are hazed by the men of the tribe to show respect. Beatings and rubbing their genitals on the boys is to remind them their place. This certain hazing takes days until the true test comes.

3. Crocodile cuts.
With the boy's closest male relative with them, the cutting begins. The first cut is a simple circle around the nipples with razor blades. The head chief looks at each circle on each boy carefully, and then moves on. It is the smallest and only cut the chief expects. Moving on from the circle around the nipples, the next steps are chest, to shoulders, and the whole back. More than one man may work on the cutting of a boy at once to get the painful ordeal over. As the boys' cry and scream...
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