This story was reported with the Fuller Project , a journalism noembracingmothers.comofit reporting on global issues impacting women. No medical procedure exists that can prove if a woman-or a man, for that matter-is a virgin. We set out to dispel them. The hymen is a membranous tissue found near the entrance of the vagina, but it does not usually completely cover it like a seal. Most women have hymen tissue that surrounds the entrance of the vagina, forming roughly a doughnut or crescent shape. But hymens, like many body parts, vary widely in shape, size, and thickness.
Women were often forced to take multiple virginity tests, even referred for the procedure by organisations they approad for help.
Jamshid Rasooli, the spokesman of the Attorney General, confirmed that women could be sent for up to four tests to determine whether or not they were virgins. Because of these contradictory opinions, the accused was examined again in front of four doctors, the lawyer, and a policewoman.
Does Having A Hymen Make You A Virgin?
Only after that was she given a document affirming that she was a virgin and should not be examined again. Rasooli acknowledged that the process was extremely distressing and intrusive, and had little evidentiary value. However, those responsible for carrying out the tests deny that women are examined in the presence of others without their permission, or that any internal examination was carried out.
In addition to the issue of confidentiality, they are examined by female doctors after giving their permission and the results are then reported according to professional standards. Religious experts warn that although sex outside marriage was seen as sinful in Islam, families should not take the law into their own hands. Usually when a family realizes that the girl is not a virgin on her wedding night, they start abusing her and send her back to her family without knowing the reasons why.
The criminal should be punished by criminal law after proof is provided, but punishing somebody without any evidence is wrong. But Ali Fakoor, from human rights NGO the Research Institute of Women and Children, said that virginity should be neither a matter for pride nor shame. Only men who are virgins themselves have a right to ask their brides to be virgins, too.
Pazhman Pazhohish. Afghan women wait in line to be treated at a health clinic in Kalakan, Afghanistan. Wednesday, 11 January, Project Focus Afghanistan: Promoting Human Rights and Good Governance.
The organisation's director, Mohammad Ashraf Bakhteyari, says that not only does virginity testing violate human rights, "bleeding is not a sign of a hymen's existence or absence". But this Frud Bezhan For some Afghan brides, failing the first test of marriage can mean a life of abuse, prison, or even death. (file photo) Long-standing tradition holds that being a virgin is required Anatomically, the hymen is a thin piece of mucous tissue that surrounds and partially covers the vaginal opening and is said to be the residue of a thick membrane once completely covering the
Women in the third world at large, and in most Muslim-majority countries, have been victims of pervasive myths unique to their own societies. One such notion is about the "treasure" a woman is expected to give her husband on their wedding night: her virginity.
The supposed pain experienced by a woman during her first experience of sexual intercourse and the bloodied sheets from that night are considered proof of her virginity. In anatomical terms, any women whose hymen - a thin, easily broken membrane covering the external vaginal opening - is intact is considered a virgin.
Throughout the years, an unidentified number of Afghan girls have been killed, ostracized, and exposed to severe punishments for lacking an intact hymen, or, as they are deemed in Afghanistan, for being impure, disgraceful, and condemned. In countries like Afghanistan where poverty and illiteracy are rampant, ignorance about human anatomy is widespread.
The hymen, a thin membrane that can be found near the entrance of the vagina, cannot prove or disprove virginity, but the police who hauled Niloofar off to jail last fall didn't know that. Nor did
Moreover, sex is considered a shameful act that has to be done in the dark and behind thick curtains of anonymity and silence. In some cases, the decision of whether a woman should be stoned to death relies solely on a simple gynecological exam to determine whether her hymen is intact.
Global rights watchdog Human Rights Watch HRW has condemned these "virginity tests" carried out on Afghan women and girls accused of so-called moral crimes. They constitute sexual assault and are often used as evidence against women in court for the 'crime' of sex outside of marriage," Heather Barr, a researr with HRW, recently wrote.
Myth: The hymen exists to show whether or not a woman is a virgin. Reality: The hymen's purpose is unknown. a year-old Afghan woman. Because she did not bleed, her husband left her, ruining Virginity is highly prized in conservative Afghan society, seen as a symbol of modesty and family pride. Girls who are deemed to have had sex before marriage face public shame, divorce and even death. Women and girtls also face invasive and degrading forced virginity tests to determine whether their hymen KABUL, Oct 15 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Women in Afghanistan are being forced to undergo so-called virginity tests, more than two years after a law requiring consent was introduced
The group says they are a form of abuse imposed on women and even teenage girls who are often imprisoned on false accusations of moral crimes. In a report published on February 29, the group said 48 out of 5 women it interviewed last year who had been accused of adultery or fled their homes were subjected to compulsory gynecological exams by government officials.
Afghan women fleeing their homes are often attempting to escape forced marriages and domestic violence. Inthe World Health Organization decreed that such virginity tests had "no scientific validity.
Afghanistan has made considerable progress toward empowering women and protecting their rights since the fall of the Taliban regime in latebut gender equality still continues to be a dream for Afghan women. Banning all 'virginity exams' could be an important first step toward reform," Barr said.
Statistics from the Afghan Interior Ministry show that the number of women and girls imprisoned for "moral crimes" in Afghanistan has risen to about in May from in October - a 50 percent increase in a year and a half - a projection that has likely risen more in recent years.
The hymen is a membranous tissue found near the entrance of the vagina, but it does not usually completely cover it like a seal.
Most women have hymen tissue that surrounds the entrance of the vagina, forming roughly a doughnut or crescent shape. But hymens, like many body parts, vary widely in shape, size, and thickness.
In rare cases, a woman might have an imperforate hymen, which blocks the vaginal canal; a microperforate hymen, in which there is a very small opening; a septate hymen, in which there are two small openings; or a cribriform hymen, in which there are many small openings. These rare conditions make it difficult to menstruate, use tampons, or have sex, and they may require minor surgery.
Its presence or absence does not indicate whether a person has had intercourse. Virginity is not a medical term.
The tissue might rip, stretch, or wear away, but it does not break. Just before girls hit puberty and then during, estrogen increases the elasticity of the hymen, meaning it can stretch, even after sex. As women age and participate in activities including sex and exercise, and experience childbirth, the hymen usually thins and wears away, though not always and not entirely.
Some women experience bleeding or minor discomfort as a result of tissue tearing the first time they have sex-this could also be due to anxiety or lack of necessary lubrication and stimulation-but many do not. Despite this, many women are expected to bleed the first time they have sex, which has traditionally been during the wedding night.
Because she did not bleed, her husband left her, ruining her reputation in her conservative culture, pre-marital virginity is demanded of women and endangering her life. Although the hymen was long ago deemed a marker of virginity, modern medicine shows that it proves next to nothing. Some women aren't born with hymens at all.
Other women have hymens that remain thick even after having sex as adults.