Since medieval times, many Muslim communities have regarded the hymen, the tiny piece of skin known as the vaginal membrane, as proof of virginity and a woman’s moral virtue. Even today in the United Kingdom, girls and young women are being charged between £150 and £300 (about $200 to $400) for “certification of their purity,” and up to £3,000 ($4074) for “hymen reconstruction operations.”
The Origins of Hymen Testing
In the Middle Ages female virginity was the only sure fire way to make sure a child who would inherit property from his father was the legitimate heir from a virgin bride. The intact hymen, or virgo intacta, was also the only way to make sure kings didn’t catch nasty sexually transmitted diseases, making the intact state of the hymen was of great importance in the Middle Ages to the clergy, courts and crowns, as well as to future fathers.
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