Controversy and backlash has erupted after Rapper T.I said he takes his teenage daughter to the gynecologist each year to check if her hymen is “still intact,” during a podcast released Tuesday.
T.I spoke on parenting and “the sex talk, when he revealed that he has been taking his 18 year old daughter, Deyjah Harris, who is in her first year at college, to a gynecologist to check if her hymen is intact.
“Right after her birthday, we celebrate, then usually like the day after the party, she’s enjoying the gifts, I put a sticky note on the door: ‘Tomorrow. 9:30,’ ” he said.
Harris’s annual trips to the gynecologist to “check her hymen” began after her 16th birthday, he said. Some people believe that the hymen, a thin membrane located at the opening of the vagina, remains intact until a woman has sex. This false indicator of virginity has been debunked by medical experts, and human rights organizations have called “virginity testing” both unnecessary and harmful for women.
Continuing his story, T.I. said his daughter’s doctor requires her to sign a waiver allowing him to see the results of her examination.
“So we’ll go and sit down and the doctor will come and talk, and the doctor’s maintaining a high level of professionalism,” T.I. said. “He’s like, ‘Well you know, sir, I have to, to share information’ — I’m like, ‘Deyjah, they want you to sign this so we can share information. Is there anything you would not want me to know? See, Doc? Ain’t no problem.’
Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA, a doctor may discuss a patient’s health status or treatment “if the patient agrees, or when given the opportunity, does not object.”
The rapper indicated his daughter’s gynecologist also explained other ways a hymen can become stretched open, such as riding a bike, horseback riding or other physical activities.
“I say, ‘Look doc — she don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bikes, she don’t play no sports, man — just check the hymen, please, and give me back my results expeditiously.” He added: “I will say, as of her 18th birthday, her hymen is still intact.”
The hosts of the podcast laughed throughout the segment, and at one point, one of the hosts quipped, “Somebody check on Deyjah, she’s a prisoner in her home.” T.I.’s remarks went viral Wednesday, as many expressed concern over the examination and controlling nature of his comments.
BuzzFeed News observed that Harris liked several tweetsWednesday criticizing her father, one of which labeled the situation “disgusting, possessive and controlling.”
Responding to the story on Twitter, California OB/GYN Jen Gunter said it was “horrible” and provided an in-depth explanation of why the hymen is not a valid way to gauge a woman’s virginity.
“The hymen is no virginity indicator, 50% of sexually active teens do not have a disrupted hymen,” she wrote. “The hymen is often very flexible.”