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'Virgin surgery' practised in Canada

Written by: Kris Sims, QMI Agency
Jul. 6, 2011

OTTAWA – They arrive at the clinic terrified, desperate and in secret – they need to be made virgins again.

Some Canadian women who are arranged to be married in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Egypt are getting their hymens surgically repaired at private clinics.

“Their husbands want their women to be virgins when they get married,” Dr. Dimitrois Giannoulias told QMI Agency.

Giannoulias is an OBGYN practising at Mount Sinai hospital in Toronto and teaching at the University of Toronto.

“You don't understand the fear and the pressure from the families, the brothers and the fathers. This is absolutely helping them, to get this surgery,” he said.

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In some parts of the Middle East, wedding-night rites require women to be virgins on their marriage beds, and they must bleed from their torn hymens. If they don't, they can be killed.

“They are very distraught and very fearful, and they want this surgery done, said Giannoulias.

Giannoulias said he repairs hymens twice a month at a Toronto clinic. “I can do this anytime, even after hours if that's what they need.”

American doctors have been threatened with death for performing hymenoplasty operations, and the surgery is now being offered in Europe.

Lina, 20, is originally from Afghanistan and isn't surprised the surgery is now available in Canada.

“My friend heard that it was going on in Saudi Arabia because people fear their husbands,” she said.

“If she doesn't get it done, then they are going to find out that she wasn't pure on the wedding night, but if she does get the surgery done, they could find out that she wasn't pure and got this surgery in secret, which would be very bad.”

Amanda Furelli is a westernized Muslim originally from Lebanon. She said these practises are not limited to those who practice Islam.

“I worked with a Jewish girl here in Ottawa whose family shows the sheets after the wedding night,” she said.

Fatma and Noor, both 19, are from Qatar and studying in Canada. They were shocked that unmarried sex is legal here.

“I have heard of these surgeries in Egypt where some impure girls go to fix their mistake,” said Noor. “She should have to marry the same man to correct herself.”

“If doctors did that in Qatar, they would be put in jail,” said Fatma. “Doctors should not do these surgeries in Canada because they just help girls be dishonest and escape punishment.”

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