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."


 


AFP




  MENA News Headlines
 Sep 17 2014 - Kyrgyz Energy and Industry Minister Meets Qatari AmbassadorQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) Minister of Energy and Industry of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan Osmonbek Artykbaev met Wednesday with HE Qatar's Ambassador in Bishkek Mohammed bin Arar Al Nuaimi. During the meeting, ...

 Sep 17 2014 - Japan to Donate over $10 Million to Iraqi, Syrian RefugeesQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) Japan plans to donate more than $10 million through international organizations to Iraqi and Syrian refugees displaced by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), sources close to ...

 Sep 17 2014 - Qatar Seeks to Diversify National Economy by Attracting Foreign InvestmentsQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) HE Qatar's Ambassador to the United States Mohammed Jaham Al Kuwari has stressed that the State of Qatar is seeking to diversify its national economy by attracting foreign investments ...

 Sep 17 2014 - Summary of Local News Released Tuesday - 1-Qatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) - Trade Minister of the Republic of Ecuador Francisco Rivadeneira has met with HE Qatar's Ambassador to Ecuador Hassan Ibrahim Abdurrahman Al-Maliki . - A delegation from the ...

 Sep 17 2014 - Summary of Local News Released Tuesday - 2-Qatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) - Over 70 delegates are receiving insights on organizing major sports events at a two-day course that opened Tuesday at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha. - The State of ...

 Sep 17 2014 - Summary of Local News Released TuesdayQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) A summary of local news released Tuesday by Qatar News Agency. - HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani sent Tuesday a cable of congratulations to the President of the United ...

 Sep 17 2014 - Qatar Airways receives its first Airbus A380MENAFN
(MENAFN) Qatar Airways has taken delivery of its first A380 superjumbo following a three-month standoff with plane maker Airbus over the quality of cabin fittings, Gulf Business reported.However the ...

 Sep 17 2014 - Egypt plans to woo foreign investorsMENAFN
(MENAFN) Egypt is introducing economic reforms to help the country in its plan to re-attract foreign investments and boost domestic growth rates in order to restore its ailing economy, which is ...

 Sep 17 2014 - MENA's investments in rail projects hit USD167bMENAFN
(MENAFN) Investment in rail projects is accelerating throughout the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), with at least USD167 billion-worth of active or future rail or metro projects being ...

 Sep 17 2014 - India to remain UAE top export destinationMENAFN
(MENAFN) The UAE is likely to remain top export destination for India till 2030, and China is forecast to emerge as the second largest export market, displacing the US, Khaleej Times reported.India, ...

more...


 






Google

 
 

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