The country where men demand a certificate of virginity from women

  • Firouzeh Akbarian and Sofia Bettiza
  • BBC World Service

Illustration of a woman and a man in bed together.  The woman looks distressed, the man is yelling at her in anger.

Credit, Manuella Bonomi

In Iran, virginity before marriage is considered important to many girls and their families — a value deeply rooted in cultural conservatism.

Men sometimes demand a certificate of virginity — a practice that the World Health Organization (WHO) considers against human rights. But in the past year, more and more people have campaigned against it.

“You tricked me into marrying you because you’re not a virgin. No one would marry you if they knew the truth.”

That’s what Maryam’s husband told her after they had sex for the first time.

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