“You have been through a lot, but you are still standing for a reason.” – Pastor Nikia Smith
The dictionary holds that “integrity” is the quality of being honest and having robust moral principles. However, the concept of integrity is subjective so, what does integrity mean to you? For some it means doing the “right” thing when nobody is watching. For others, it means participating in any activity that is legal and ethical.
Ethics and integrity imply good conduct as determined by the values and customs of society. Several of our social morals are non-functional from most of humanity’s viewpoint as a result of being primarily based upon controlling people to serve a selected group’s needs. Our morals need not be focused on the heart or produce a loving action or outcome. Our morals should not be based upon the impulses of a group of people, a religious opinion or a particular culture. Nonetheless, this is how humanity has invariably set its moral principles.
In a country like ours, where losing virginity before marriage is made into a big deal, then yes, remaining untouched is something to be proud of, however, it cannot be appointed as the sole factor determining a person’s value.
Despite an outsized portion of the population being educated, the utter talk of sexuality is still a taboo for most people, being a topic of conversation that is steered away from. Chastity is being deemed a desirable quality amongst grooms searching for brides, regardless of how progressive a man’s mind may be, it still lags behind concerning an individual’s worth and value. This article is not intended to lay focus on the male community, but for how long are we to ignore the prevailing double-standards of society between men and women?
For years, society has deemed a woman who has lost her virginity before marriage, as “impure” and having lost her “integrity”. Apparently, this societal norm does not apply to men. As a matter of fact, it is a source of pride, and showcases his “manliness”; implying that virginity is not associated with integrity once it involves men.
A man’s integrity is not judged by his pre-marital acts, but a woman’s unchastity is ought to have shame and costs her a lot more than matrimonial prospects. A woman’s character and integrity is judged strictly by this standing. So what does integrity mean for women?
As for virginity; as we have seen repeatedly as shown by media lately, there are countless predators who make it their mission to abuse and take this valuable gift from as many innocents as possible. Many of these innocents never get to make the decision of when, where, and to whom to lost their virginity.
The sole item over which we have total and complete control is our integrity, that is the power to do the right thing even when its difficult and no one is watching, and this has little to do with losing your virginity.
A person’s virginity may be one factor to understand their values and what they prioritise in life, but to judge and evaluate a person’s entire character based on a single act would not be justified. Virginity is not a virtue (Ethic. ii, 1). Virginity is innate, and since all are virgins since birth, virginity is not a virtue. Virtues are qualities that we acquire through the passage of time.
It is understandably a proven fact that a young woman’s virginity is considered with esteem and respect, additionally it is generally highly honored in women than in men. Chastity or virginity is given more attention in the case of women than of men, and therefore the term, is rarely utilised in reference to a man. Dating back hundreds of years, a young woman’s virginity is deemed as a symbol of freshness and purity; and was required for particular rituals and magical rites.
As for physical integrity, it is the absence of all voluntary and complete venereal pleasure in the past, and therefore the determination to abstain from such pleasure in the future. This determination, is the formal element of virginity. So as to exalt and applaud virginity, certain teachings show a tendency to cheapen sexual activity and to exaggerate the nuisance and inconveniences of marriage. The practice and the guarding of virginity require careful abstinence.
It can be stated that a sane and balanced state of mind is needed for virginity to be chosen and accepted in its full light, not as timidity and repression but as the opening up of a generous love and of affections. Even so, integrity encompasses a universal definition and it should mean exactly for women what it means to every human being (men and women alike). Integrity is honesty and truthfulness in one’s actions; it is empathy and respect to fellow humans and strong virtue and courage to stand up against hypocrisies. Women ought to be defined by their true integrity of honesty, courage, and empathy and not myths surrounding virginity.