A woman’s virginity is a huge issue in various religious household in different countries including India and the latest news about the taboo around virginity in a woman can be seen in Tunisia where women are expected to be virgins at the time of marriage. Tunisian women, therefore, turn to extreme measures to make their marriage last and have a surgery that claims to reconstruct the hymen and make women virgins again. Hymenoplasty is gaining increased popularity in the African country as women are turning to the short procedure to help regain their virginity. 4 types of traumatising ‘Virginity tests on women’ still prevalent in many parts of India
According to a BBC report, women in Tunisia are trying to grow back their virginity before marriage as “not being virgin” has now become a reason for divorce in the Islamic country. Private clinics are offering the surgical procedure that claims to reconstruct the hymen and bring back the virginity of a woman. The report shared the story of 28-year-old who was to get married in two months and came to a private clinic for the procedure. However, even after having the surgery, women in Tunisia are scared that their husbands may doubt that they were not actually virgins and leave them.
“I might one day inadvertently betray myself in a conversation with my husband. Or my husband may have… suspicions,” the woman shared her fears. She is not alone in this nightmare as many women in the country have been divorced shortly after marriage as their husbands suspected that they were not a virgin. While the 28-year-old who spoke to BBC was born into a liberal family and had spent some time abroad, she too was forced by the societal pressure into spending 400 USD on the surgery that would make her a virgin again.
Gynaecologists in the country have been doing this procedure on various women who need to be virgins to get married in the country. Various scientific reasons cause hymen breaks, however, the association of the vaginal cover with virginity and the myth that the hymen tear is caused by having sexual intercourse has been spread by the patriarchal society that associates a woman’s respect and character with her vagina instead of her persona. The fact that this situation is seen in the country that is often addressed to as a leader in women’s rights in North Africa shows the hypocritical world that we live in and how women are still devoid of the fundamental rights like the choice of having sex before marriage or having a past relationship. The main reason behind this ancient tradition being followed is the religious association with the sanctity of women and their virginity.