By Ibukun Busari
HerStory Movie Lovers reviewed a movie last month and the lead character of the movie was raped, which in turn brought ‘shame’ to the family when it was discovered she was not a virgin. During the review, someone said she wished hymen reconstruction surgery was available at that time. This statement was surprising to most who did not think virginity repair surgery existed and this led me to do a little research.
Hymen Reconstruction Surgery according to Wikipedia is also known as Hymenorrhaphy which is the temporary surgical restoration of the hymen. This procedure to some is deceitful, while to others, its a means to an end.
In a society where there is high esteem placed on a female for being a virgin or shamed and even in worse cases killed (honor killing) for not being a virgin, it seems that there is the need for surgical restoration. Hymen repair is a simple procedure that involves stitching the torn edges together with dissolvable stitches. The procedure is not a complicated one, and the surgery is approximately thirty minutes to one hour according to top Doctors. Hymenoplasty is a totally successful procedure, with a success rate as high as 98% according to Prisitin Care and it is advised to follow the gynecologist instructions to get best result from the procedure.
In most religions and cultures, a woman’s ‘honor’ is attached to her virginity, bleeding is proof and a thing of ‘pride’ to her family. There is no proof to determine if a man is a virgin or not, even if there is, it would not be a big deal because it is not expected of them to be virgins. This only shows that there are different moral obligations expected of men and women which is deeply rooted in gender inequality.
According to The National Health Service, thirty surgeries were recorded in the United Kingdom in 2009 with a twenty percent increase from 2005. Dr. Marc Abecassis, a plastic and aesthetic surgeon is said to perform three to five hymenoplasties a week.
This practice will be with us for a longtime if women have to face ‘consequences’ for not being virgins.
The scary part for me is that the whole essence of the procedure is to bleed, but according to Love Matter India, the surgery does not guarantee that a woman will bleed the next time she has intercourse. This for me is mental and physical torture that is uncalled for.
In recent times, there have been calls to have the virginity repair surgery banned. According to recent investigation for Sunday Times, there are at least twenty-two private clinics across the United Kingdom offering hymen repair surgery. There have been different opinions about this practice as Health Secretary Matt Hancock believes it is a dreadful practice, but Miss Taheri believes ‘girls could end up dying if banning this procedure isn’t done with proper care’.
The question is, why should girls die or face consequences for not being ‘virgins’?.