Quotes: US MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Social pressures force Tunisia women to fake virginity  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 08/04/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - AFP) It happens every April ahead of the summer marriage season, says Tunisian gynaecologist Faouzi Hajri -- desperate brides-to-be beg for surgery to make them "virgins" again for their wedding night.

Fearing rejection as "used" women in a conservative Muslim country where premarital sex is nevertheless common, Tunisian women are increasingly opting for the sort of surgery offered by Doctor Hajri.

But it doesn't stop them regretting the need to convince new husbands of their purity.

"A woman's honour shouldn't be determined by a few drops of blood," says Salima, a 32-year-old who admits she had the operation so that her "honour" was not in question on her wedding night.

It is easy for a woman to have her hymen surgically reconstructed in Tunisia.

The routine hospital operation takes around 30 minutes and costs from 400 to 700 euros (550 to 960), with a less permanent version needing to be done within a week of the wedding, while the stitches hold.

"The number of women resorting to hymenoplasty or hymenorrhaphy (as the operations are known) has gone up a lot in recent years," says Moncef Kamel, a doctor in the southern island of Djerba.

The women he operates on -- around 100 each year, aged between 18 and 45 -- come with their faces hidden behind a scarf and dark glasses, "have a normal, active sex life", and generally hail from working-class backgrounds.

"It's a taboo subject, which explains why there's a lack of official statistics," says Doctor Hajri.

The Tunis-based gynaecologist says he also treats about 100 women annually, including from neighbouring Libya and Algeria.

- Men want virgin brides -

Since the 1950s, Tunisia has been considered the most progressive country in the Arab world in terms of women's rights, and politicians enshrined gender equality in the new constitution adopted in January.

Demographic changes have reinforced personal freedoms, with sex outside marriage increasingly common and more people opting to marry later.

But conservative attitudes persist, and for many Tunisian men marrying a virgin remains a priority, hence the rising demand for hymen restorations.

For Tarek Belhadj Mohamed, a sociologist, such male attitudes reflect the "hypocrisy" of Tunisian society, which he said refuses to recognise the change in behaviour of a large section of the population.

Research by psychoanalyst Nedra Ben Smail indicates that just five percent of Tunisian young women are not worried about losing their virginity before marriage, while more than 75 percent of women appearing to be virgins on their wedding night have had the operation.

"The Tunisian way of life seems modern and open, but the reality is different: our society and even our ruling elite is in theory tolerant on the question of virginity, but when it affects them personally, virginity is a primordial condition for marriage," said Belhadj Mohamed.

"Virginity certifies a woman's validity in our society where her purpose is essentially sexual and reproductive, while men have to 'train' so that they are sexually mature when they get married," he argued.

He called the hymen operation a form of "discrimination towards women".

- Lying under pressure -

Salima agrees, despite having consented to the operation herself, saying she was forced into it by "the hypocrisy of men and of our society".

The young woman decided one day that she would be honest with her boyfriend, whom she had not slept with, and told him she was not a virgin.

"But as soon as he knew, he refused to marry and did everything he could to get me into his bed. That's the way Tunisian men think. A woman who has had sex before marriage is just a slut and can't be a good mother!"

Another young woman, Sabra, believes unmarried women should have the right to a sex life just like the men, and that virginity is never a guarantee of fidelity.

But the 27-year-old also chose to lie and yield to social pressures, rather than run the risk of remaining single.

"If I had told my husband that I wasn't a virgin, he would never have agreed to marry me. And it's the same for many women in Tunisia."


 






  MENA News Headlines
 Jul 31 2014 - Air Algerie's plane crashesMENAFN
(MENAFN) A senior official said that the Air Algerie flight that crashed in Mali last week appears to have plummeted to the ground from an altitude of 10,000 meters in just a few minutes after flying ...

 Jul 31 2014 - Dubai's Damac eyes listing shares in Dubai bourseMENAFN
(MENAFN) Dubai luxury property developer Damac is trying to attract investors to invest in converting its Global Depositary Receipts (GDRs), listed on the London bourse, into ordinary shares that ...

 Jul 31 2014 - 'Nearly 100 casualties' in Xinjiang violenceArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) IJING: A clash in Xinjiang home to China's mostly Muslim Uighur minority left nearly 100 people dead or wounded an exile group said Wednesday after what authorities called a ...

 Jul 31 2014 - Aquino seeks to quash rumors of military coupArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) NILA: Philippine President Benigno Aquino sought Wednesday to quash rumors that a coup is being plotted against him with his spokesman insisting he had the military's full ...

 Jul 31 2014 - Kerry in New Delhi to reboot ties with ModiArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) W DELHI: US Secretary of State John Kerry flew into India on Wednesday for ice-breaking talks with new Prime Minister Narendra Modi forecasting a transformation in Washington's ...

 Jul 31 2014 - UK bankers' bonus: Tough rules on wayArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) NDON: British banks will be able to claw back employee bonuses up to seven years later if the recipient is found guilty of serious recklessness the Bank of England ...

 Jul 31 2014 - Amazon to invest 2bn to expand in IndiaArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) MBAI: The world's largest online retailer is facing off in India against a new name in e-commerce that was founded by former Amazon employees.Amazon.com Inc. said it will invest ...

 Jul 31 2014 - Mobily Wajid offers free lines to family membersArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Bily continues to provide its extraordinary offer to the new subscribers of Wajid that provides discounts and privileges to all family members.The new Wajid Extra and Plus ...

 Jul 31 2014 - Wife of BIS official dies in road crashArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) E wife of a member of the governing board at the Bangladesh International School (BIS) in Jeddah was killed in a road accident on Tuesday the second day of Eid Al-Fitr.Nasima ...

 Jul 31 2014 - Indian Eid program toned down in solidarity with GazansArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Extensive yearly Indian community Eid program was reduced to a simple get-together ceremony on Monday night in solidarity with the victims of Gaza.Indian expatriates condemned ...

more...


 






Google

Click to Apply

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

My MENAFN
Portfolio Tracker

Voting

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help