The Controversy Around Hymen Repairing in Sri Lanka
By Kayla Collett
Recently, a local business came under fire for offering hymen repairing services to women who have broken their hymen one way or another. You may be wondering, ‘What is a hymen and how does it break?’ A hymen is defined as a thin piece of tissue that surrounds the opening of the vagina, and it can break during sexual intercourse or even when riding a bicycle. The controversy around hymen repair therefore raises ethical concerns, such as – ‘Will the woman feel better and less sad about her hymen being broken if she gets it repaired’, ‘Will they be able to succeed in marriage if she gets her hymen repaired?’, and ‘Will this woman ultimately lead a better life if she gets her hymen repaired?’.
Hymen repairing, however arguably promotes a culture of shaming women into being ‘pure’ and maintaining her ‘innocence’, and also contributes to sexist views and unfair expectations placed on women. Women should not be ashamed of a broken hymen, be it through sexual intercourse or just accident. Women should definitely not be humiliated for not maintaining her so-called ‘purity’, as we have this double standard towards men as well. Men are allowed to have sexual intercourse while women are not allowed to until marriage. This is a double standard and it is extremely hypocritical of us to expect this from women when we do not expect it from men.
Hence, the controversy surrounded around hymen repairing certainly has its debatable points; however it should be obvious that it does not provide a solution to women in need. In fact, it is more of a backwards practice that should not be allowed anywhere due to the sexist stigma regarding a woman’s ‘chastity’ and ‘purity’.
The business claims to provide a solution to women whose hymens have been broken and who suffer from mental illnesses such as suicidal thoughts and depression, which is uncalled for. People who have mental illnesses should seek help via therapy and psychiatry, not through a business that profits off of female disgrace and depression.
This entire scenario is definitely one that needs debate, but there certainly is an obvious route to take – therapy and the removal of stigma against women’s chastity. This is definitely an exploitative business that profits off of female embarrassment, but it also is important to see things from the woman’s perspective. Some women feel as if they should get their hymen repaired if they have been sexually assaulted in their lives, but this obviously does not provide a fixed and permanent solution; just a temporary one.
Hymen repairing businesses also offer other services. Skin whitening is yet another service this particular industry provides and demonstrates how very morally corrupt the business truly is. Promoting racism and sexism is this business’ forte, with skin whitening and hymen repairing being at the forefront.
This business certainly is confusing as they market their services as being beneficial to saving women’s lives but actually promote sexist and racist attitudes. I believe that this is wrong in my opinion, however I do understand things from their point of view: profit. By profiting off of female insecurity and devaluing them in society, the business earns a huge amount of money. However that still does not undermine what they are doing in terms of shaming and blaming women for acts that they should be allowed to do.
By covering things up with a façade claiming that women need this service in order to get married, this business is promoting sexism and backwards societal values.
What are your thoughts about this?