Women Have Surgery to Avoid Honor Killings
Wednesday, May 25, 2005 9:10 AM

Gynecologists and plastic surgeons report that an increasing number of women are seeking out hymenoplasty, a surgery to repair a broken hymen. Doctors often perform the surgery at night and women give false names, arrive in disguise and pay in cash to ensure secrecy that will save the woman's life. The surgery is performed for various reasons on women, including many who are undergoing the surgery to stay alive. Many of these women live in the United States, but they have the surgery before returning to their home country to get married.

A virginity test is often conducted on women who are engaged to be married. A woman, who is not a virgin, can be in danger of being killed by family members in an attempt to restore the family's honor. Hymenoplasty reestablishes the appearance of virginity, thereby preventing family violence that may otherwise result. However, having the surgery, if discovered, also puts the woman's life in jeopardy. Doctors who advertise the procedure are receiving death threats but they continue to offer the surgery to save the lives of these women.

Compiled from: Kobrin, Sandy. "Restoring Virginity Becomes Risky Business." Womens eNews. 22 May 2005.