Quotes: 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."


 


AFP




  MENA News Headlines
 Mar 31 2015 - US Crude Recovery May Be Limited, Natural Gas Braces For Storage DataDailyFX
(MENAFN - DailyFX) Gold slumped on Wednesday as its pricing currency the USD gained on the back of the December FOMCdecision. The removal of the 'considerable time' phrase from the policy statement, ...

 Mar 31 2015 - A noble gesture by UAE's Sheikh Hamdan: paperEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) The decision of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council to donate his Dubai World ...

 Mar 31 2015 - Etihad Airways celebrates arrival of inaugural Alitalia flights from Venice and Milan to Abu DhabiEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, joined celebrations at Abu Dhabi International Airport yesterday to welcome the arrival of its ...

 Mar 31 2015 - UAE's Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research joins local and federal scholarship authorities to activate National Scholarship DatabaseEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) On the instructions of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, to coordinate and unite efforts with all ...

 Mar 31 2015 - UAE's Assistant Under-Secretary for Protocol Affairs at MoFA attends reception at Bangladesh EmbassyEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) Shehab Ahmed Mohammed Al Fahim, Assistant Under-Secretary for Protocol Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, attended a reception last night hosted by ...

 Mar 31 2015 - UAE's Minister of Environment discusses cooperation with Ambassadors of Poland and EritreaEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, has met with Adam Krzymowski, Poland's Ambassador to the UAE, and discussed ways to enhance ...

 Mar 31 2015 - UAE's DLD sponsors fifth cycle of Princess Haya Award for Special EducationEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) Dubai Land Department, DLD, has signed a sponsorship agreement with the Princess Haya Award for Special Education, PHASE, to host its fifth cycle due to be held ...

 Mar 31 2015 - Talented Emirati musicians perform for patients across the UAE to aid their recoveryEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) The Abu Dhabi Festival, in association with Mubadala, has brought the popular 'Music in Hospitals' initiative to healthcare facilities across the UAE for the ...

 Mar 31 2015 - UAE's FCA launches customs statistics service on smart phonesEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) The Federal Customs Authority yesterday launched a customs statistics service on its website and a smart phone application to respond to customers' enquiries on ...

 Mar 31 2015 - UAE remains dedicated to covering health needs of Syrian population affected by crisisEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) The UAE is dedicated to fulfilling the financial gap in the health sector of the Syrian refugee population in order to meet their basic humanitarian and health ...

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

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

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
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


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


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help