CounsellingBut what should I do then? We need to help these women, not just fix them. Not many people actually know what the hymen is. The majority imagine it to be a closed membrane. This is largely due to the rhetoric surrounding the hymen: The reference is to "opening" a woman, thereby implying that she was somehow "closed". Most do not know that only one in five can deliver a bloodstain of any size. Nor are they familiar with alternatives to surgery, or perhaps they are afraid to use them, or would simply rather have "a real one", all of which leads us back to the fact that only a minority realize what a "real" hymen actually is.
There are significant differences in how various ethnic minorities consider the wedding ritual. Not everyone has their mother-in-law waiting outside the bridal suite. Many parents do realize that their children lead their own lives, but choose to turn a blind eye. Traditions surrounding the inspection of the bloodstain have changed as parents have become increasingly nervous that there might not be one. Unstained sheets are a problem, not only for the woman, but for her entire family, who have supposedly failed to live up to their responsibility.
The young people themselves have no-one to talk to about their doubts and their ambivalent emotions concerning their culture and their future, which is basically what this is all about. It can be difficult to relate to future marriage and to a lifestyle based more o family honour than on individual hopes and dreams. No operation can alleviate this.