Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 6 Issue 5 (December 1996), Pages fmi-fmi, i-i, 311-414

Reconstructing Hymens or Constructing Sexual Inequality? Service Provision to Islamic Young Women Coping with the Demand to be a Virgin (pages 329-334)

  • Author(s): Marrie H. J. Bekker, Jany Rademakers, Ineke Mouthaan, Milleke de Neef, Wouter M. Huisman, Helma Van Zandvoort, Anne Emans
  • Published 04 Dec 1998
  • DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1298(199612)6:5<329::AID-CASP383>3.0.CO;2-B


In Islamic culture, there is an imperative demand that women should be virgins on their wedding night. Service providers in The Netherlands are increasingly confronted by Islamic young women who find themselves in serious difficulties because they are no longer virgins, and are about to enter a forced or arranged marriage. These young women report a diversity of problems such as loneliness, social isolation, depression, despair, suicidal feelings, identity problems and serious conflicts with parents. In this article we focus attention on the circumstances that can result in these types of difficulties, and also critically consider the kinds of help that young Islamic women are given. Attention is paid to the question of whether existing forms of service provision, especially surgical reconstruction of the hymen, take sexual and other inequalities into account.

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