Liberal Grace

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The importance of virginity before marriage.

This high value on a woman's virginity is hard for us liberal westerners to fully fathom.

Men are cleared of threatening women all the time, so this headline didn't seem strange until I read why he was allegedly threatening her:

Man cleared of threatening wife with gun

Dubai: A 27-year-old man has been acquitted of forcing his wife to sign a confession at gunpoint admitting that she was not a virgin before their marriage.

The Dubai Court of First Instance cleared the UAE national of threatening his 22-year-old compatriot wife with a pistol and forcing her to sign the confession due to lack of evidence.

The court also acquitted the employee's 52-year-old Egyptian advocate of aiding and abetting a crime due to insufficient evidence.

The Public Prosecution had charged the 27-year-old with threatening his wife and calling her an indecent woman.

[...]

"The wife wrote her confession willingly and our client did not threaten her. She even admitted in front of a police captain that she lost her virginity after sleeping with her relative four or five years before getting married to our client," said the employee's lawyer Khalifa Al Salman, of Salim Al Sha'ali and Co Advocates and Legal Consultants.

The wife also promised to preserve our client's rights and wrote the confession, said Al Salman. The suspect did not malign his wife "because she admitted losing her virginity," said the lawyer.

In her statement to the public prosecution, the woman claimed that one day her husband called her "an indecent woman."

The next day he brought his legal advisor who dictated her confession, which she was then forced to sign at gunpoint.

The initial verdict is still subject to appeal.
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I can't, for the life of me, imagine why any woman in this culture would voluntarily sign a confession about her lack of virginity! It inconceivable, really, considering the importance placed on virginity in this culture.

This issue is hard for us liberal westerners to get our mind around. Here's another strange article from a couple weeks ago:

Clinics restoring virginity controversial

Dubai: Some private clinics, which are performing illegal surgeries to restore virginity of unmarried girls despite a ban on such operations, have come under fire.

According to women who underwent such a surgery, the operation to restore a ruptured hymen costs about Dh10,000. [US$2,700]
A Ministry of Health official said hymen restoration or reconstruction for unmarried girls is banned.

"In most Muslim and Arab countries and even in some non-Muslim countries, girls are expected to maintain their virginity until they get married, because of cultural, social or religious reasons," he said.

A surgeon who runs a private urology clinic in Dubai and is specialised in treating haemorrhoids is said to conduct the virginity restoration surgeries. He is said to charge Dh10,000 for the 90-minute surgery.

A general practitioner in Sharjah said there are two types of operations; the first is 'permanent' (will last longer) and could be done any time and the second (of lesser durability) is done few days before the wedding. The first type of operation is more expensive, he said.

An Arab girl who is considering this surgery before her wedding, said she is waiting for her salary to undertake the operation. "My fiancee is out of the country and I will do it while he is away," she said.

Another girl said that she had undergone the surgery, which took two hours. "I feel all right now. I am getting ready for my wedding," she said.

The Dh10,000 cost of the operation includes a "two-hour rest at a hotel," Gulf News was told.

The surgery is not banned for married women. It is most popular among unmarried Arab girls of various nationalities who get involved in pre-marital relationships.
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In a sidebar that was in the print edition, it was explained (by a lawyer I believe) that this reason for the hymen restoration ban was because it was illegal to cover up a crime. What's the crime? A woman losing her virginity, I assume.

The best cultural parallel I can draw would be a restaurant dumpster-diving for food and re-selling it as fresh. Who would want that? Especially if you were paying for fresh?

(There's no mention in either article, by the way, of anything regarding male virginity.)

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