virginity as a describing word, not a defining word

 

Hey-Hi-Hello

 

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There’s something I wanted to talk to you about today, and that is the subject of virginity, and what we may choose to do with it.

This post has sat in my drafts section since September, and not because I didn’t believe in it, because I did.. but I just wasn’t ready. But now, I want to share this with you because someone somewhere, likely someone you know, needs this. I know I needed it.

Being female myself, my point of view in this post is from a female perspective, but this honestly applies to all of us.

This isn’t a subject I would normally write about, but at this point in time, I think it’s good for me to be in a place where I feel comfortable enough to share things, to a reasonable degree.

What can I say really? We’re teenagers, adults, young adults. Sex is a normal, healthy part of growing up, and it’s an eventuality for a lot of us. There isn’t a need to feel unnecessary shame over it or constantly skirt around the topic.

That being said, if this post offends you, you do not have to keep reading 🙂

 

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Recently, I spent some time with a male friend. Just talking, nothing more.

But when I got home later on, and my dad found out, he didn’t take it very well. We’re an Islamic family, but my dad is really the only practicing one. In terms of religion at the moment, I honestly don’t know where I stand, but that’s something for another time.

We had a little chat, and he basically told me in so many words that anybody of the opposite gender was NOT my friend, and viewed me simply as a conquest to be won.

I wasn’t to have any male friends because they simply wanted one thing, and once they got it, they’d be off running to tell their friends everything.

That’s part one, and honestly, I find what he said to be very damaging. I guess this is also a bit of a feminist post.

Females of all races, all genders, all cultures- we’ve made LEAPS and BOUNDS in progress when it comes to our rights!

Males of all races, all genders, all cultures- they’ve also made LEAPS and BOUNDS in progress when it comes to rights!

But where is the demonstration of this in our day to day lives? Have we not become more free, more aware, more civilised and harmonious?

I’m not saying we live in a perfect world where these sorts of things do not happen- where women aren’t viewed sometimes as objects of desire rather than people. Honestly though, I believe we’re selling ourselves short. We can do so much better than this.

Part two is not entirely dissimilar to part one in the sense that my dad still didn’t have anything great to say.

He asked me if he needed to find me a husband as soon as I turned eighteen as I clearly couldn’t control myself for very long.

He also said this, and oh, did that make me angry- “Women are worthless without their honour. Men can sleep with a thousand women and then go and pray and they’ll be forgiven, but a woman is forever shamed, and in traditional cultures, they are killed.”

And then this- “But that’s not really how I like to do things.”

I wasn’t sure whether that statement warranted a sarcastic thank you or not. I do feel like it deserved one.

Just.. come on. This is 2018.

Why are some of us still so close minded? Why do we hold such degrading and limiting beliefs about ourselves and others?

I’ll start off by saying this: It is actually our birthright to be treated properly.

And this is where I’d like to talk about virginity- a very personal matter, but so often everybody else feels they have a say in our sexual choices.

Yes, we should most definitely be guided to make good decisions for ourselves and our futures, but the thing is this: virginity is a describing word, not a defining word.

Many people in our society these days seem laser focused on picking out the wrongs with both a choice of abstinence or engagement.

My religion tells me that without my virginity –honour- I am worth nothing. I am just something to be discarded.

Many others would say that choosing not to have sex makes you a prude.

They forget that what they believe isn’t the truth for every person, even if they follow the same religion, are in a place of power, or come from the same family.

These days, I see a psychologist who thinks I have self worth issues.

When I was younger, I was sent rape threats online through a kids game. However harmless it may seem, it was not.

I was twelve years old, and he was in his sixties. When it first started, he sent me a message, welcoming me to “my worst nightmare.”

At the time, this was nothing more than hacking my game account. It was a silly thing but it was the first time I ever properly felt unsafe. I realised later that he’d installed a key logger on my laptop, and that was how he always seemed to get into my account, no matter how many times I changed my password.

After a while, he stopped.

A year later, I’d made friends with another girl who played the same game. We’d share accounts with each other.

And then he came back. Although, he was always really there. He’d hacked into my webcam and audio system and watched and listened to me online for a year.

And then the threats started. I knew it was going to be more sinister this time around. My friend and I were both involved this time. He’d send her messages about me, and me messages about her. He’d sent us both messages, repeating back what we’d said. He’d play little games and challenge us, try to get us against each other. And then he told me he was watching me, and I started crying. I swore at him. Immediately, he sent me a message saying that he could almost feel my fear, and it was delicious. And then he told me off for swearing at him, and I lost it.

My friend and I couldn’t calm down.. and he thought it was so funny. And then he started, saying the strangest things- they weren’t crude as such, but so very calculated- he’d watched me for a year and now he knew exactly what to say to throw me off.

He told me that he’d make me do favours for him, dirty and clean, and that it’d hurt a lot, but I’d like it. He said he wanted to marry me.

He said he was so close to me.

This stranger who knew so much about me- my email address, full name, date of birth.. was close.

I told another friend of mine about this, and she encouraged me to check out my laptop. I was horrified to find that he’d installed a geolocation tracking device on it. All of this, happening right under my nose.

I honestly believe that if I hadn’t checked that, I may not be here right now.

Throughout this whole incident, nobody believed me. Not even the friend who experienced it with me. She told me it was probably just a teen boy. Was that meant to make it any better?

I was laughed at, many times. It was not okay, not at all.

How this relates to our topic is this- rape culture, the way girls are treated and thought about, female sexuality, virginity.. are all so closely intertwined.

Think about the mere concept of virginity- how bizarre is it that we consider the act of sex meaningful enough to supposedly change a person.

If girls were taught that their sexual choices were theirs only, and were to be celebrated, not shamed, then things would be so different.

If girls were taught of their worthiness of respect and decency, virgin or not, then things would be so different.

Rape is a hate crime- it’s only purpose is to exert power of another human being. It is a vile, selfish act that brings harm to both the perpetrator and the victim. There is no strength in a rapist.

Rape is the first horrible crime committed against a person, but then there is judgement and our own beliefs that cause deeper wounds. Rape will never be okay, but common reactions to victims afterwards are sometimes just as bad as the act itself.

The reason why rape is such an effective crime is because of the feeling of violation, the sense of having lost something. Your virginity.

Let me explain. Victims of rape have of course lost more than that. Virginity is a social/religious construct designed to shame people. But, you may also feel like you’ve lost yourself. I know that for me that was because I felt like I’d lost my honour, and therefore lost my entire self, because that was the only part of me that mattered. Because that’s what I’d been told, right?

I just think that it’s so important to remember that while bad things may happen to us, we do not embody them. We aren’t that thing. We are so much more than that.

I remember crying for a long time after that day. Even though nothing physical had ever happened, and I don’t mean to ever compare what happened to me with what has happened to others, it was so wrong, and I was so young.

 

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Thank you for sticking with me here, if you’ve gotten this far. You have no idea how much it means to me that you’ve read this, listened, and maybe taken something away with you.

 

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10 thoughts on “virginity as a describing word, not a defining word

  1. this was such an empowering post maryam! Like I’ve yild you many times before, you have a way with words. I think this is one of my favourite blog posts of yours to date ❤️❤️❤️

    Like

  2. This is my first time being back on wordpress in a long while and… wow. You are such a brave inspiring person, you write beautifully and we are all so blessed to have people like you sharing their opinions and trying to make a difference xx

    Like

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