Why Are Pakistani Men Obsessed With Virginity?
For a country shrouded by men possessing the abnormal bravado of a supposed alpha male, our society has been slowly dragged into an abyss of vices and heinous incidents. Due to the increase in these myopic men in our society – who lack foresight with their narrow minded views – has led to an onslaught of oppression against women, while pigeonholing them in all walks of life. Whether it’s the remorseless domestic violence or the usual abuses hurled at job places, women have always been a target of abuse.
This includes men’s obsession with female virginity and how their toxic minds make them assume that they are entitled to the most saintly women ever.
This obsession has recently led to an incident involving a women who was murdered by her husband who accused and questioned her piety just over the hymen already been broken before their sexual intercourse. This is the ignorant world we are living in right now.
‘Hymen’ derives from the Greek for membrane. Hymen was also the Greek god of marriage. These two facts summarise the conventional wisdom about this widely misunderstood tissue, that this fabled membrane covers the vaginal opening, and is ‘pierced’, ‘broken’, or ‘torn asunder’ when women wed and have intercourse, presumably for the first time.
Contrary to popular belief, breaking the hymen causes pain and bleeding on their first sexual intercourse and this has made most men to belief that this is the standard for examining someone’s virtue and virginity. These things have made most men of our society to live in a bubble of façade, not trying to look for the truth. In our society and cultures people have grown to believe that if questions arise about a young woman’s virginity, an examination could determine whether she is or isn’t. An intact hymen demonstrates her virtue while anything else proves she’d already been deflowered. Many cultures have also believed that ‘piercing’ the hymen causes bleeding. In our cultures, shortly after weddings, new husbands are expected to produce bloody sheets to prove they have married virgins, and consummated the marriage. This is how ridiculous it can get.
The value placed on virgin brides in some cultures including ours is quite startling and this makes our men even more narrow-minded than before. First of, contrary to popular belief, the hymen is not a flat piece of tissue covering the vagina, which is punctured during intercourse. If it were, girls would not be able to menstruate before they lose their virginity because there would be no outlet for menstrual blood.
These are some facts that a majority of men in our care to forget about and turn a deaf ear towards these kind of topics. What our men need , is a proper sex education where they are taught on how to scientifically look at these sensitive topics without riding the waves of modern myths associated with such issues. One may not just judge a person based on what they think – this is not only ludicrous but the epitome of ignorance.
Newborns’ hymens tend to be prominent and thick. But as the years pass, most hymenal tissue thins and the opening widens. During childhood, most hymenal tissue wears away as a result of washing, walking, athletics, self-exploration and many physical activities that can induce stretching and ultimately leading to the hymen breaking and consequently bleeding, though little bits may remain around the vaginal opening, In cultures in which female virginity before marriage is prized, commonly assumed indicators of virginity are an ‘intact’ hymen and blood on the sheets of the marital bed at first intercourse as a result of the hymen being ‘broken’.
Multiple medical and scientific studies have refuted these assumptions and demonstrated that there is no evidence to support these beliefs. In most cases, there is no correlation between a hymen’s appearance and the reported history of prior sexual intercourse. The hymen is a membrane with relatively few blood vessels that – even if torn – may not bleed significantly. Forced penetration and lack of lubrication may cause lacerations to the vaginal wall, both of which are most likely to be responsible for the ‘blood-stained bed sheets’, rather than trauma to the hymen.
In fact, several studies have documented that bleeding is not routinely observed after a woman’s first sexual intercourse. These myths and mysteries surrounded this entire sensitive topic had led to countless women being accused and murdered over such a petty excuse. The exact number of ‘honour’ killings is not known. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan lists 460 cases of reported ‘honour’ killings in 2017, with 194 males and 376 females as victims of these killings, 253 were sparked by disapproval of illicit relations and 73 by disapproval of marriage choice.
Additionally, out of the known suspect relationship with victims, over 93% were family relationships. This demographic alone shows how badly women can be targeted on issues such as virginity. This obsession with virginity has proved to be the bane for the life of many women throughout Pakistan pitting them up against not men but psychotic animals ready to lash at any moment.
There is no evidence that examination of the hymen is an accurate or reliable test of a previous history of sexual activity, including sexual assault. It is important to note that several types of forensic evidence are needed to support a legal charge, including patient history, physical evidence (e.g. injuries to the genital and non-genital regions of the body), psychological evidence, laboratory evidence (e.g. spermatozoa, DNA, and sexually transmitted organisms), or other forms of forensic evidence. During the physical examination, the hymen tissue may or may not be present, or be present with or without abnormalities, depending on the patient’s age, history, and other factors.
Therefore, a reliance on examination of the hymen to determine sexual history in general may result in individual and societal harms and it is advised that the government should take strict actions against such offenders.
The writer is a journalist and social media activist based in
Islamabad. He can be reached out on twitter @ShahabSpeaks