Netherlands: Breaking the sexuality taboo

Netherlands: Breaking the sexuality taboo

Imams have an important role in breaking the taboo of sexuality by Moroccan youth in the Netherlands, says Moroccan professor Abdessamad Dialmy.

Moroccan organizatiosn hope that sociologist Abdessamad Dialmy can begin breaking the many taboos around sexuality in the Moroccan community.  "but where to begin," asks Dialmy rhetorically.  "The fear of speaking with your children about sex exists for everybody, but for Moroccans the sense of shame plays an unimaginably big role."

To overcome the feeling of shame is still a tough job, according to the sociologist.  He thinks that the Dutch authorities can contribute by enlisting the mosques, or more precisely, the imams.

He says that many mosques in the Netherlands have conservative imams and these should be gotten rid off.  "Enlightened imams who understand the spirit of the age and preach a modern form of Islam are in my view the best way to drive it home for both the parents and the youth.  Take the hate and aggression against homosexuals," says Dialmy, referring to a lesbian couple who were recently harassed out of a neighborhood in Utrecht.  "It is an outrage that Moroccan youth are guilty of that. The parents should inform their children and explain that homosexuality is a normal phenomenon in a modern society.  But most parents don't say this type of thing to their children because they themselves hear from the imam that homosexuality is a sin.  From the same conservative imam they also hear that shame and humility are important attributes of the 'true' Muslim.  Shame should have no place in this debate."

According to the sociologist, who specializes in gender studies and sexuality, this shame and mysteriousness around sex and sexuality is the reason why there are so many myths.  Moroccan girls who believe that they will tear their hymen by swimming, boys who think that using a condom is against God's laws and parents who live in the delusion that their children only have sex within the safety of marriage.  He says that you can't send your children into the world like this.  After all, doesn't everybody want their child to grow up to a self-conscious, adult sexual being who makes intelligent decisions, free of sexual frustrations and free of shame.


Senna (16, skinny jeans, sneakers and a great head of curls) is willing to talk about sex, but doesn't understand how anybody from the paper can think to just ask Moroccan girls about sexuality.  "Hashuma, hashuma" (shame, shame) she keeps repeating as she leans against the wall with her friend Farah (also 16, skinny jeans, with a scarf and matching headscarf) next to the ROC school at the Hofplein in Rotterdam.  "We may not have sex if we're not married," says Farah.  "Boys really also aren't, but they do it, or they say in any case that they do have sex.  But I don't believe it, because if they really have so much and so often sex, when do they do their homework?"

Senna admits that they speak a lot and often about sexuality. With her girlfriends and with her sister. "She is married, so she knows all about it.  But with my mother I don't speak about it, with my father certainly not.  With my father I don't watch TV because sometimes there are really dreadful commercials.  With naked women or kissing people.  Truly outrageous those Dutch, they don't know what shame is."

Farah nods intensely and indignantly says that she can't sit with her parents in the car due to all those big advertisement signs with women's buttocks and breasts.  "For us that is not normal. My mother taught me that it is wrong to display your body like that, or if boys touch you."  But there are stories doing the round about girls who are no longer virgin, says Farah.

"Truly a disgrace for the family," she says with a grave face.  "I also know Muslim girls who've had a friend for a long time, but who are still virgin because they only have anal sex.  That is thus not true sex," Farah concludes.

Friend and classmate Elif (15, with jeans, braces and blond locks) confirms this: "So you know for sure that you bleed during the wedding night.  For Turkish people that is very important."  She says that in the her parents didn't allow her to participate in gym class, since if you pull your legs too far apart, it will tear the hymen, and that many girls lost their virginity this way.
But according to Elif there is still a way to bleed during the wedding night - using chicken blood.  "The girl than doesn't cause any shame for her family and the men don't notice anything.  They're happy, we're happy."

Sources: Trouw 1, 2 (Dutch)

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