New York state lawmakers are weighing a ban on “virginity testing” after American rapper T.I. sparked an uproar by announcing that he accompanied his teenage daughter to annual gynaecology appointments to check if her hymen was still intact.
As reported by The Sauce, T.I. made the remarks during an interview with the “Ladies Like Us” podcast, revealing that doctors have tried to explain to him why virginity testing is flawed. He said he insisted they perform the tests on his daughter, Deyjah Harris, anyway.
“I said, ‘Look doc, she don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bike, she don’t play no sports, man, just check the hymen please and give me back my results expeditiously,” he said, laughing. “But I will say, as of her 18th birthday, her hymen is still intact.”
Medical experts have debunked the longstanding myth that an intact hymen proves a woman’s virginity. A hymen can be broken in a number of ways besides intercourse, some girls are born without hymens, and hymens can even remain intact after intercourse.
US Lawmakers say they were ‘angry’ and ‘upset’ when they learned of T.I.’s comments. Now, some New York lawmakers say virginity testing should be banned altogether, and doctors should be penalized or even criminally charged for performing them. They also say it should be considered sexual assault if virginity tests are performed outside a medical setting.
“The invasive procedure of a virginity examination violates the sanctity and purity of a female,” state Sen. Roxanne Persaud told The New York Times. “Whether a child or adult, this breaches not only moral grounds but also the privacy entitled to a female and their doctor.”
The assemblywoman who introduced the bill, Michaelle Solages, told The Times she was “angry” and “just very upset” when she learned of T.I.’s remarks.
“To use your platform to say you did this is just misogynistic and it sets the women’s movement back,” she said.
In a later interview with Jada Pinkett-Smith on “Red Table Talk,” T.I. backtracked and said he hadn’t meant his comments about his daughter literally, and “began to embellish and exaggerate.”
He said he had accompanied her to the gynaecologist when she was 15 and 16, but not when she was 18.
Deyjah has stayed quiet on her father’s remarks and appears to have deactivated her social media accounts.