A Moroccan gynecologist, who wishes to remain anonymous, has been practicing hymen repair in Casablanca, Morocco for about two years now. She returned to practice hymenoplasty in a country where the honour of women — based almost entirely on the intactness of their hymen — is often saved in the greatest secrecy.
Dr Sanaa Elmounjid advertises her intimate surgical practice on the Internet. Hymen repair tops the list of medical operations proposed by the Casablanca, Morocco based surgeon. This is a far cry from those obstetrician-gynaecologists who practice hymenoplasty in utmost secrecy. Afrik-news.com met with one of them. Since leaving France, where she learned the trade, Dr. Inès Berrada * has operated on more than ten women, nine of which were soon to be married.
Afrik-news.com: Why did you decide to perform the hymenoplasty?
Dr. Ines Berrada *: In response to the plight of women who cannot marry if they are not virgins. Some even break up with their potential husbands, who they love, simply because they are not virgins, without even talking to them (their partners). They really can’t move on. But why should we deprive these women of their future? Never could I have fathomed that the hymen could be as important, until I returned to Morocco.
Afrik-news.com: How did you react upon learning of the existence hymenoplasty?
Dr. Ines Berrada *: Initially, I thought it was pure torture, but I am a doctor and I have to respond to people living with pain. I wanted to help the women on a psychological level. But as much as we do our level best to take them through therapy sessions to convince them that the hymen is not that important, but we fail due to the weight of tradition.
Afrik-news.com: How do the consultations go?
Dr. Ines Berrada *: The girls are mostly very distressed and operation determines their future… for us the operation is very simple. Usually they come with a girlfriend. Sometimes, mothers come along too, but this is rare.
Afrik-news.com: Is hymenoplasty legal in Morocco?
Dr. Ines Berrada *: Voluntary abortion is prohibited, and I do not think hymenoplasty falls into that category, as it is rather a perineal-plasty. But we do not scream from rooftops that we do this out of respect for our patients. In fact, many clearly make us know that they wish to keep it secret.
Afrik-news.com: Have you ever refused a hymenoplasty?
Dr. Ines Berrada *: Once a girl came to me for an operation. She had a median scar and stretch marks on her belly. I asked her what it was and she said that she had had an abortion when she was between 17 and 18 years after a three month pregnancy. I told her that a stomach is not opened at that stage (three months) and that her baby must have, in fact, been six or seven months old. When she confirmed this, I felt a surge of hate. I have never hated anyone like that. I refused to operate because I thought it was criminal. Moreover, ten years after aborting a grown baby she had decided to undergo a hymenoplasty to con someone else. I also refused to operate on a pregnant woman who wanted a hymenoplasty. What a nerve! Not only was she pregnant, but she also wanted us to believe she was a virgin!
* Her name has been changed