The Purity Myth

She- My marriage has been solemnized as arrange marriage; you can say as it was a typical marriage as we never met before ( like happen in old times). Both of the families had good relations with each other.

It was our first night, I was nervous a bit. I and my husband were sitting together. My husband was trying to make me comfortable, we try to know each other; sharing our likes and dislikes. Suddenly a phone ring. My husband disconnected it. After some time, the door of our room get knocked and when my husband opened it I saw my in-laws were standing holding a white bed-sheet at their hands. I didn’t understand why they brought that bed sheet? We didn’t come close that night and slept off.

Next morning, I went to the bathroom and there I saw the red blood spots on a white bed sheet. I asked my husband ” What was that”? firstly he refused and said ” Let it be” but I insisted him and he told me that he cut his finger and put some drops of blood on that bed sheet; so that when his parents will come and see, they will think we consummated and it was ” Your first time”. In short, they will think you are virgin otherwise they may create some issue as they believe in such beliefs.

That day, she has been judged by the parameter of her Virginity as well.

(Her Life)

From time immemorial, a woman’s virginity has been her most valued possession. India has inherited this from its history and we take pride in placing a high value on the same. Virginity is interlinked with purity in our Indian psyche and Maa Sita of Indian Mythology having to prove her ‘purity’ is an example of how deeply rooted the mindset is in our culture.

But then things are changing, sex is no longer the kind of taboo that it earlier used to be. But what about the semi-Urban and Rural India’s situation where if a girl’s marriage is broken for once, the family gets a Stress-Stroke till she gets another good proposal.

However, when it comes to the question of marriage, especially in the case of arranged marriages, a woman who has a sexually active past is considered to be some alien or untouchable. How can a man who has a history of premarital sex demand the virginity of his bride? The fact is men find it difficult to come to terms that a woman has been intimate with someone else. Marriage should be built on trust, not past events.

It begins at home when a parent tells their daughter in hushed tones to ‘protect her virginity’ giving the impression pre-marital sex is a bad thing for girls though not for boys. This kind of mentality has prevailed because the traditional values are still strongly embedded in us. One of another reason is the lack of awareness on sex education; equally the lack of communication/ discussions on such issues. Such suspicion is not only become the factor of gender-discrimination but may also lead to divorce, honour killing, abused and killed due to the myth of ” Virgin bleeding”. The society needs to understand that it is not even necessary that women have to bleed during her first time only 42 per cent of women do so. Women’s hymens vary from each other as it differs from girl to girl since birth. Bleeding is not only a sign of virginity neither marriage is just only for sex.

She craved for love,

He longed for bloodstains;

That night she learnt the importance of trust over love!

Moreover, the so-called ” Virginity testing”- also referred to as hymen, ” two-finger” or per vaginal examination- is a gynaecological inspection of female genitalia carried out in the false belief that it can reliably determine whether a woman or girl has/ had vaginal intercourse. Communities often use the test to separate “Pure” females from the “impure females”. In some communities, only the “pure” females are to be married, having certain jobs or to be respected. From a human rights perspective, virginity testing is a form of gender discrimination, as well as a violation of fundamental rights, and when carried out without consent, a form of sexual assault.

In a relationship, if a couple is to make it work successfully, it is more important to worry about virtues like trust and honesty. If a woman admits to having a sexually active past, it shouldn’t be used against her to torture mentally. The very fact indicates she is honest with her partner which should matter a lot, even though she could have hidden it very well. In most of the Indian families, things like falling in love or sex before marriage equates to the girl being bold and characterless. Their reasons, hence, for rejecting such girls is that post-marriage, too, the girl will continue with the same behaviour.

Virginity is considered to be one of the desired qualities of a woman for a successful marriage. For a man, virginity is not a prerequisite but many in-laws and would-be husbands expect the girl to be a virgin. Reasons for this distinction are men have unknowingly preached to view sex as a way of claiming ownership over a woman. When it comes to parenting, once a girl attains puberty, virginity feels like the dinosaur in the room.

Something every parent wants to acknowledge and protect but doesn’t want to address and strangely, it only extends to the girl child. So, when a girl loses her virginity before marriage is looked like a ‘second-hand product’.

आँख के आँसू किसी को नहीं दिखते

खून की बूँद से लोग,

चरित्र जान लेते हैं!

It is important to talk on these issues as well; spreading awareness among the people regarding the same. Though I know it is not easy for some people to talk about but it’s high time to take an initiative to change the mindsets of society. It doesn’t determine the virginity neither anyone have a right to judge the women on the same. It should depend on a woman to be a virgin or wait until marriage or whether she wishes to express her sexuality should be her privilege. Virginity is not a parameter to judge a women’s character.

I believe that men/boys are not naturally violent; patriarchal norms make them insensitive. Therefore, not every man is a part of the problem, but every man can be a part of the solution…💫

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