When Aisha Salim marries her fiance in Pakistan next March, it will be the wedding of her dreams.
Wearing a veil and gown, she will be every inch the fairytale virgin bride and as befits her strict Muslim religion, after the ceremony, she will hand her blooded wedding-night sheets to her in-laws as proof of her virginity.
But far from being the traditional untouched bride that many Muslim families demand, she is a modern-day university graduate who has smoked, drunk, made love to - and even lived with - a previous English boyfriend. To disguise the fact that she has had sex, she has paid for painful surgery to “restore” her virginity.
It is a drastic and costly measure but as she takes her husband’s hand in marriage, she knows it is one which may - quite literally - save her life. The horror and outrage that would ensue if it was discovered she had already slept with a man would be so damning that her own strictly religious relatives might kill her rather than face public shame.
Apparently the Pakistanis have not taken our school sex ed classes.