Sep 30 2009
FRANCE offers certificates of virginity as well as surgery to restore virginity.
A recent case in which a French court annulled a marriage of two Muslims after it was discovered the bride was not virgin brings hymenoplasty to the news again.
Hymenoplasty or restoring a woman’s virginity by surgically reattaching the hymen, is fast becoming a phenomenon of sorts among women of Muslim origin in Europe, especially France, Germany, Sweden and indeed other parts of the world, too.
The surgery in the private clinic off the Champs-Élysées involved one semicircular cut, 10 self-dissolving stitches and a discounted fee of $2,900.But for the patient, a 23-year-old French student of Moroccan descent from Montpellier, the 30-minute procedure represented the key to a new life: the illusion of virginity.
Like an increasing number of other Muslim women in Europe, she had a “hymenoplasty,” a restoration of her hymen, the thin vaginal membrane that normally breaks during the first act of intercourse. “In my culture, not to be a virgin is to be dirt,” said the student, perched on a hospital bed as she awaited surgery Thursday. “Right now, virginity is more important to me than life.”
As Europe’s Muslim population grows, many young Muslim women find themselves caught between the freedoms that European society affords and the deep-rooted traditions of their parents’ and grandparents’ generations
But now the chair of the French College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians is calling for an end to this practice in France. Dr. Jacques Lansac believes there is no place for this kind of surgery in secular French society…he believes that giving in to a procedure like this goes against all that France stands for…equality of women, human rights, religious extremism etc.
But how do we turn our backs on these women who in all likelihood could be killed by their fathers, brothers or husbands (Honor killings) if it is found out that they are not virgins? Aren’t doctors morally bound to help these women who could face certain death if they are discovered to be non-virgins?
DENMARK: Medical association calls on doctors to stop performing tests to prove virginity of young Muslim women
Concerns that an increasing number of young Muslim women are being sent to doctors to prove that they are virgins has social workers and doctors taking steps to help them. ‘These girls are incredibly afraid of this examination, because many aren’t virgins,’ she said. The Danish Medical Association has urged its members not to carry out virginity exams.
Frederiksberg-based general practitioner Dr Sabbir Ahmed said it was wrong for parents to demand their daughters undergo the examination. But he still issued the documentation if could help his patient. ‘The girls are under enormous pressure from their families,’ said Ahmed. ‘I can sense that, and that puts pressure on me as a doctor.’
VIRGINITY OPERATIONS all the rage in Denmark
Muslim girls who had premarital sex often have an operation so it looks like their hymen is intact. They are namely afraid of being outcast (or honor killed) by their family. But it can’t be right that women’s fears brings them to the operating table, thinks nurse and social worker Kristine Abu-Khader Aamand, who today started a site about hymen operations.
When the doctors make the girls virgin again, they go in and sew the vagina with a couple of stitches, so the man feels resistance during sex, and the operation is what some Muslim girls do.
“Because they believe that if they don’t bleed on the sheet on the wedding night, it can cause them frightful consequences,” (like murder) says Kristine Abu-Khader Aamand, whose site gives Muslim girls the dry facts and tears down the myths.
SWEDEN: No virginity certificates
Despite what science says about the hymen, many young Muslim women are worried their husband will find out on their wedding night that they are not virgin. It’s the woman’s, or the who family’s honor, which is based on the hymen. It’s super-sensitive, says Anna, who works at Systerjouren Somaya.
Systerjouren Somaya in Stockholm was started by Muslim girls to support Muslim girls. Many girls who call Somaya are scared for their lives. Anna says that it’s scary how many have to deal with it.
The girls who turn to Somaya can be desperate. Their wedding day is approaching and they want help sawing up what they believe is their hymen so that their husband won’t know that they aren’t virgins. In fact, only a third of girls bleed, even if they never had sex before. But there are many who don’t understand it, says Åsa Svensson, of a youth clinic in Gothenburg.
Many want to have a virginity certificate but that isn’t possible. It can’t be done. Nobody can see if a girl had sex in the past, says Svensson. ISLAM IN EUROPE
RELATED STORIES: Women