Lebanese Law on Rape & Virginity: The Hymen Criteria

As many of you know, I am currently pursuing a medical degree. And as part of our medical education, we get numerous anatomy lectures that cover every human body part in its dull details.

On Tuesday, we were being given a lecture about the female pelvis and perineum. Being a morning lecture, most of the class was asleep – that is until the discussion about hymens started.

For those of you who don’t know, the hymen is a thin epithelial perforated layer that serves as a “curtain” to the vagina. For many, it is considered as a sign of “virginity” although it isn’t a highly credible criteria: the hymen being as thin as it is can be broken off in many ways that do not include intercourse and can also be repaired through a procedure called hymenoplasty.

But in our parts of the world, this 2 cm layer of skin is the honor of a man, not knowing that true honor comes by not caring about such minute details in the first place. After all, men in our region are considered as “men” if they have had premarital sex and those same men condemn the women who do as if they’d be having sex alone.

But I digress. This is not a post to discuss our region’s sociological ways.

During that same lecture, the doctor giving the lecture opened up a discussion about one criteria of rape in Lebanese law. I know our law when it comes to rape is overly messed up. There’s nothing that works in it. But this part of it, which most people are often clueless about, is simply mind-blowlingly stupid.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of that law where if someone commits suicide and they happen to fall on your car then it’s automatically your fault? Well this its vagina-equivalence.

What’s the law? If a girl said she were raped but her hymen had not been torn off to the walls of the vagina, then it’s not considered rape.

Meaning, if it’s obvious the girl had intercourse but the intercourse had not caused her hymen to be torn off completely, then the examining physician cannot say she was raped.

In a part of our laws that is so absurd, this often goes unnoticed that even the doctor giving us the lecture was outraged at the number of times he had to dismiss women who were obviously violated just because Lebanese law does not allow him to say so.


Easy A – Movie Review

Easy A. The best comedy of the year, aka the best teen comedy in a long, long time.

The movie tells the story of Olive Penderghast, a high school girl who’s as off the radar as you can go. A rumor starts that she lost her virginity and soon enough, she becomes the most popular girl in school. Inspired by the novel “The Scarlet Letter” from where the letter “A” in the title comes from, it shows how the precocious teenager in Olive got turned due to word-of-mouth alone into something as close to a harlot as you can get – without the sex.

Her fictional one-night with her fictional college boyfriend soon becomes the introduction of many guys asking her to fake sleep with them to improve their reputation. A gay classmate comes up to her and in one hilarious scene, they fake sleeping with each other so well that your ribs would almost crack from laughing. But as with all comedies, soon enough Olive’s world will come crashing down as it all becomes unbearable and things she hasn’t even pretended to do are affixed to her…

Olive’s parents, played by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson, are hilarious. They excel at being the hippies, carefree parents. You can’t help but laugh everytime one of them tries to console or give guidance to Olive. They are so out of place that I thought Olive was adopted at first. They are still so taken by their long-ago sexual and chemical experimentation that they don’t even care about all the turmoil in their daughter’s life. Their advice: Oh but it’s fun! You can’t help but laugh.

You might think the plot is cliched and whatnot – after all, most high school comedies are. But what elevates this movie is the outstanding performance by Emma Stone, who, in my opinion, should have won her category at the Golden Globes. There is no other one who deserved the best actress in a comedy as she did. She spun this movie out of her likeability alone and made it into what it is. Like or hate the movie, you can’t but like her character. She shows such promising talent that how she was a relative unknown before this is mind-boggling.

The movie also stars Gossip Girl’s Penn Badgley as Olive’s love interest. Amanda Bynes returns into the movie business as the overzealous Christian who wants to stop all the “sinning” going on in her school. She is really good as well, especially when she’s in one of her prayer sessions.

Easy A may not be groundbreaking. But for once in a long while, Hollywood gives you a comedy that is refreshing, breezy and likeable without going into the comedy of shock-value. And for that, I love it.