The post-mortem virginity tests on the bodies of honour crime victims are just another kind of violation, methinks. It shouldn’t matter if a woman was having an affair or not. Her precious life was deemed worthless, and that’s the only thing that matters.
Jordanian society is lopsided to the point of deformity. Men have freedoms that women simply do not, and they act upon them with impunity. Even when they are at a disadvantage economically. I mean, how many Jordanian guys who sleep with sex-tourists in order to get by fear getting stabbed to death by their family members? No matter the guilt and shame that some of these guys obviously feel, their lives still hold fundamental value.
Women, on the other hand, are treated as walking support systems for hymens. After being violently purged from this world, their memories are further sullied by the “did she or didn’t she?” inquiries.
So what if she did? What if she even enjoyed it? She at least partly deserved it, right? Women should expect to be violently punished for acting upon their desires. They are not allowed to learn from experience.
It’s not a mentality confined to Jordan. Up until recently, it was the sexually active girl who was stabbed to death in horror films, while the virgin outwitted the serial killer (a stretched or broken hymen automatically renders one into a complete idiot who runs upstairs instead of out the front door, it’s practically a scientific fact, right?). Even rape victims are routinely expected to take “the honourable way out” and die.
In Jordan, there’s nothing abstract about these ideas. The violence is right there, in your local paper.
It was a huge wake-up call to me when I realized that the guys who sexually proposition me have nothing to fear. The conservatism of Jordanian society only extends in one direction. It doesn’t serve as any kind of deterrent, in this case. At most, they have something to fear from my male relatives (of course, being blond and foreign, you are assumed to be “of no tribe” and hence fair game).
For men, family serves a different function altogether. Family is their place of support. In most cases, their choices will be upheld or at least forgiven. Women often have to deal with an entirely different set-up.
Last year, I was in Amman, talking to a friend about how weird it was for him to have to run into the uncle of his ex-girlfriend.
(A vast amount of dirty language follows. Don’t read if you think you might be offended.)