Enter Paris. Young attractive Muslim women are waiting at an upscale clinic for an operation that could change their lives. Better yet, it’s an operation that could save their lives. Yet, despite the apprehension, this operation is a choice, not a necessity. It’s a low-risk procedure for about 2,000 Euros ($1,700).
Its Hymenoplasty. It’s the surgical re-attachment of the hymen and an operation that restores virginity. It allows broken women to walk back into societies with honor.
An uncountable number of women today face agony over a simple problem. Virginity. They’ve had sex outside the bounds of marriage and risk being rejected by their communities. An alarming number of women also risk their lives over this perceived honor.
Soiling the wedding sheets with blood can change the future of a bride. In many cases, it can be the difference between a bride and a corpse. Sometimes, social pressure can even result in suicide. Many women have lost their lives in this ordeal. Communities cannot see them beyond their virginity.
Meet Sonia, a slender young brunette studying art in France. Born and bred in France, she has soaked in the Mediterranean sun, medieval cities, and rich alpine villages. Yet her life is still dictated by her Arab roots. Arab culture and acceptability in her huge Arab family still define her life.
But Sonia has slept with her past lovers, and that’s where she strayed from Arab culture. The only solution she saw after the intercourse was suicide because she was at risk of being disrespected and cast out of her family.
Lucky for her, she discovered Dr. Mark Abecassis. One of the few Arab surgeons openly addressing the taboo surrounding virginity in the Arab world and, more excellent, Asia. He says that the average age of his patients is 25 years, and they come from different socio-economic backgrounds. These are scared women, often rushed by their parents to avoid public humiliation and dishonor in the community. Dr. Abecassis performs a simple surgery under local anesthesia, reconnecting the membrane.
Sonia got her surgery and now protects this secret as she believes that the men in her community are the ones who will not allow her to come clean about it. Therefore, not even her husband will be privy to this information as she believes her sex life is private, and she shouldn’t have to justify it to any other person.
Dr. Abecassis performs these surgeries on a couple of patients weekly and believes he has no right to judge these women who flock to him to save their lives. He says it’s a matter of tradition and family and often endangers these women’s lives. Doctors cannot decide the fate of their patients and hence should reserve all judgment.
Some non-surgical options are also in the market, with the Chinese manufacturers leading the way; there are now non-surgical options on the market. One website sells artificial hymen for just $20 (23 euros). The Chinese hymen is made of elastic and filled with fake blood. Once inserted in the vagina, the woman can simulate virginity, the company claims.
But is it really that simple? Brides having undergone surgery do risk being caught out. Nada was scared that her husband might suspect being lied to on her wedding night. She couldn’t sleep all night and stayed up crying. Fortunately for her, he didn’t imagine otherwise.
Having fallen in the throes of love, she too had consummated her relationship in the lush Lebanese countryside. Seven years into the relationship, her lover’s family wanted him to marry someone else. Nada drank a cocktail of household chemicals and Panadol to take her life. She believed that was it for her.
But it was not meant to be. Lucky for her, she discovered hymenoplasty surgery in Lebanon, married, and has had two children since marriage. Her secret is safe with God. She will carry it to her grave.
Many would consider this a generational problem, but it is not.
Meet Noor, he is a trendy professional working in Damascus. Noor subscribes to the Syrian secular society and is often caught chanting women empowerment slogans. But underneath that façade of liberal equalities is the dark face of deep-rooted conservatism. He knows girls who have undergone restoration and were caught by their husbands who realized their brides weren’t virgins. He says that even if society were to accept such women, he wouldn’t marry such a woman.
Religion and Virginity:
Muslim clerics quickly separate themselves from the controversy stirred by the longstanding tradition of spotting blood on wedding sheets. For example, Sheikh Muhammad Habash, a Syrian cleric, quickly points out that these are purely cultural traditions with no links to Shariah Law. Christian communities in the Middle East are just as firm in their beliefs that women should testify about their virginities when the question of marriage arises.
Sana Al Khayat, an Arab social commentator and writer, believes that the real issue is not with religion or culture but control. Instead, the notion of control.
Experience with other men before the institution of marriage can make a woman stronger. It can shift control in the union.
Hymen reconstruction may be a quick procedure, but it cannot reconcile centuries of ingrained tradition within the attitudes of modern society.
Islam and Hymenoplasty:
Recently, surgeries in hymenoplasty have seen a spike in women of Muslim origins residing in France, Germany, Canada, and the United States.
Some practitioners, such as Jacques Lansac, quoted by the New York Times in an article titled “In Europe, Debate over Islam and Virginity,” believe that surgeries of this category have no place in French society where human rights and equality of women are celebrated.
But hymenoplasty is nothing new, as noted by newspapers over the years.
In the United States, for example, it is an exotic gift given by some women to woo their lovers on Valentine’s Day. Arguably, a frivolous procedure, one may agree, but the heart wants what it wants indeed. It may make female progressive thinkers and feminists shudder, but some women consider it a gift of love.
Hymenoplasty becomes a much gloomier subject when the recent increase in honor killings is considered. As Western countries increasingly host emigrating Muslims, the rise in honor killings is imminent, especially in France, Canada, and the United States. In addition, family members continue executing brides-to-be who cannot produce adequate evidence of virginity to retain the family honor.
Therefore, most women resort to what is required to save their lives.
But an increasing number of people in France believe that surgeons overstep their profession’s bounds and end up supporting these longstanding beliefs by accommodating such surgeries. As a result, they fuel the underlying hypocrisy, as Ni Putes Ni Soumises, a Paris-based Muslim women’s rights group, spokesperson notes.
Hymenoplasty in Saudi Arabia is also on the rise as women struggle to maintain respect in the community for fear of death. In addition, as more and more single women in the country become acquainted with modern lifestyles, they struggle to keep their sex lives secret.
Hymenoplasty in the UAE is also becoming rampant in states like Dubai as more and more women try to reconcile luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture, and a lively nightlife scene with traditional Middle Eastern values. Rife with water parks and nightlife, the backdrop of the lush state is set against the stringent traditions of Arabia.
As more and more middle eastern origin families arrive in the states, they bring with them beliefs that may seem alien to modern societies. More and more surgeons will be approached for hymenoplasty surgeries by women of Middle East and Asian descent looking to hide their sexual transgressions with convenient lies. Surgeons will be put in a position to support these convenient lies. The procedure will become more and more controversial as it gains momentum.
Should surgeons be involved in misleading patients’ loved ones and reinforcing a gender bias?
It may be difficult for surgeons to be straight about the ethical dilemmas in such cases. Surgeons must know the consequences of women approaching them for this surgery. Red flags may go up significantly when their relatives bring women under duress. Awareness is essential to rule out any dangers to these women’s lives.
However, care must be taken as, in most cases, it’s either hymenoplasty or her life.
DIY Hymen Repair Kit: A more straightforward solution
Millions of women end up losing money in a bid to reclaim their lives by going for strenuous hymenoplasty surgeries. Yet there is a solution in the market that is easy on the pocket and is as simple as any DIY activity.
If you’ve recently (or not so recently) misplaced your hymen, accidentally damaged it, or given it a bit of a tear – then boy, oh, boy, have we got the product just for you.
This fabulous Artificial Hymen Repair Kit can give back that little scrap of the membrane you miss dearly. And no, we’re not joking because you can’t make up stuff this perverse.
In short, it’s a delicate sachet of fake blood that you insert into your vagina like a diaphragm and which dissolves or ‘tears’ during intercourse. Ah. Now wasn’t that easy?
We intend to help women make a choice that allows them to leave their past behind. Our purpose is to make that choice an easy one. It’s a market still away from the common eye and is progressing to allow you to lead the way to your future.