Pre-marital sex is not discussed openly in South Asian / Muslim communities. However, sex before marriage is a reality. There is usually no sex education with children are often being withdrawn from lessons at school. It is not surprising then that in areas with high Asian / Muslim populations, the youth from these communities are reflected in statistics for abortions and sexually transmitted infections. The consequences for girls who decide to have 'sex before marriage' tend to be greater because Asian / Muslim men still want 'virgin' brides despite they themselves not living up to the same standards. Repercussions for having 'sex before marriage' can include honour crimes and forced marriages.
Girls are expected to remain virgins and given little sex education but as soon as they get married, are expected to start having sex immediately. This can be particularly traumatising for those who have been forced into marriage. Even during marriage, sex often remains a taboo subject. Many women do not even recognise marital rape as they are led to believe rape is not possible within marriage. They are also ashamed to talk about sexually transmitted infections given to them by their spouses.
The MWN Helpline is operated by Muslim Women's Network UK. We would like to thank all of our funders for supporting us to set of the MWN Helpline, one which is the Awards for All Big Lottery Fund. Not all of our funders wish to be promoted.
WE WILL BE IDENTIFYING AMBASSADORS IN THE NEAR FUTURE WHO CAN HELP TO PROMOTE THE MWN HELPLINE.