Netherlands: Restoring virginity (2)

According to Islamic culture Muslim girls must be virgin when they enter a marriage. For girls who had not succeeded in doing so, the wedding night hangs like the sword of Damocles above their head. A hymen repairs operation offers a way out. "I'll do everything, if only I'll bleed."

"I was greatly relieved when I was after it." Yasmina (22) from Rotterdam sits on a bench in Zuiderpark. She wears jeans with a leather jacket and big silver earrings hang from her ears. After thinking and weighing it for a long time, Yamina had finally promised to talk about one of the great taboos in the Islamic community: the hymen repair operation.

Yasmina: "I was 19 and head over heels in love with with a boy at school. He was also Muslim and when he heard from my girlfriends that I though he was nice, we started talking. My girlfriends warned me that I should still look out because he was known as a player, but I was too in love to listen. More than that he told me I was the one. Exactly three months after I went out with him it happened. He swore to stay by me, but when I called him up the following day he broke it off."

At that moment Yasmina realized that she would never be a virgin when she married. "I felt terrible. Not being a virgin before marriage is one of the greatest sins in Islam. My mother always told me in the past that girls who gave away their virginity will never marry. I really wanted to get married and out of fear kept silent." Three years later, when Yasmina was ready to get married, the panic began anew. "My fiance made no secret of the fact that he thought it very important that I was still a virgin. I was then also terrified of what he would do if I didn't bleed. Probably he would immediately separate from me. By chance I happened on the internet on a clinic that offered hymen repair operations. At that moment it seemed to me the perfect solution. A couple of days ago I had the operation and next week I'll be married. I know that I can't erase the past, but the hymen repair operation made me in any case a virgin again."

Yasmina is one of the hundreds of girls in the Netherlands who go through a hymen repair operation annually. The operation is especially popular by Muslim girls of Turkish, Moroccan and Hindu origins. In this group there's often enormous obscurity about the hymen. The girls are raised with the idea that the hymen is a type of glass membrane that closes the vagina and which only lets the menstrual blood flow through. During the wedding night this membrane is perforated and the girl bleeds. In many North-African countries it is even usual on the following day to show the bloodied sheets to the family. When a girl is no longer a virgin, she is repudiated according to tradition. In the Netherlands, despite the present time, this tradition is persistently held on to. Girls who lose their virginity without marriage go into complete panic.

Wies Obdeijn- Van Welij, doctor and sexologist, gets 50 girls a year who beg for a new hymen. "Most girls who come here still think that they must bleed when they lose their virginity."

"In the past maybe it was so that in the Islamic culture certainly 90% of the girls bled during the wedding night. But this happened mainly because they married very young and through marrying off still barely knew their partner. Because of the nerves there wasn't a state of arousal and that resulted in bleeding. Today certainly 40% of the girls don't bleed during the first time. Also the hymen is not a film that must be pierced but barely a bordering tissue."

However many girls decide to go through the repair operation. Obdeijn- Van Welij: "The idea of bleeding is often held so deeply that they barely believe anything else. They just want most of all to bleed during the wedding night. As the tradition prescribes. An operation can take care of that. During the operation we pull the edges of the hymen more tightly so that the girl almost certainly will bleed. When they're done with it, they often go home happily. Virginity is strongly connected by these girls to the hymen." If it's intact, it means they're virgins.

Saida (25), from Amsterdam, had a hymen repair operation two years ago. She sits in a station restaurant in The Hague because she is afraid to be recognized in her own neighborhood. "Though every Muslim knows it happens, nobody talks about it," she says. "This is the first time that I tell about it. When I was seventeen I lost my virginity. It was a boy from class with whom I had a courtship at that time. Naturally I felt very guilty afterwards, but my fear began just when I was about to be married. At any cost bleed during the wedding night. I didn't want my husband to be disappointed and also though even as a virgin you don't have to bleed, my husband would never understand that. Above all, I had no interest in difficult talks during my marriage. It had to be perfect. Therefore I had a hymen repair operation. The wedding night was perfect. I bled and my husband was completely happy."

However the operation is disputed. Many gynecologists refuse to perform the operation because it upholds the myth regarding the hymen. Ineke of Seumere is a gynecologist at the UMC in Utrecht and performs the operation only rarely and on exceptional indications. When we support the idea that a virgin must bleed during the wedding night nothing will ever change. Not only do we agree that a virgin must bleed, we also help to keep the tradition. A tradition that according to Seumeren is full of contradictions. Isn't it strange that a man may have sexual intercourse before marriage but demand a virgin? Therefore I get girls repeatedly that have used anti-conceptions for years, and now they want a quick restoration before their marriage.

Obdeijn-Van Welij agrees with the gynecologist's story. "There are even girls who come to me that are yet plainly virgin and want to make sure that they bleed. But I think that it's not up to use to change the tradition. You shouldn't forget that these girls are a second generation of guest workers. They are girls that have enormous double feelings. On the one hand they grow up in the free Netherlands. On the other hand they don't want to disappoint their parents. I think that the situation will change by itself. Till that time, I will attend girls as well as I can. That's what I'm a doctor for."

Yasmina is not worrying anymore about her wedding night. "Through the operation my problem has been solved. My husband will tear my hymen, and I will bleed for him. Precisely as it should."

The Party for Freedom wants to ban the operation, which party parliament member Fleur Agema describes as perverse. According to the party operation rooms and medical personnel shouldn't be burdened with a "medically completely unnecessary operation".

Source: Metro (Dutch), (Dutch)

See also: Netherlands: restoring virginity, France: Regaining virginity


FreeSpeech said...

Islamic heavens must be full of hymen repair clinics for all the sets of 72 virgins

Anonymous said...

Only if these "so called Muslims" were actual practising Muslims, then they would know the difference of whats right and whats wrong.

Maybe the Christian Heaven only allows vigin-less women to enter because it will save Jesus (the son of God) time and effort in setting up clinics in checking who is a virgin and who is a true Christain virgin-less?

Can the Christian who insult Islam think how Jesus was born, was in mother a virgin?

(Apology to the true religion in which Prophet Jesus was sent.)