Rapper T.I. came under criticism last week after admitting in an interview that he takes his 18-year-old daughter to an annual gynecological exam to determine if she’s still a virgin.
T.I. – whose legal name is Clifford Joseph Harris Jr. – said he makes his daughter, Deyjah Harris, undergo a pelvic exam to see if ‘her hymen is still intact.’
The medical community has slammed so-called ‘virginity tests’ as sham exams that violate women’s rights and do not have any scientific evidence to back them up.
Doctors and nurses spoke with DailyMail.com about why these exams are unreliable and the unnecessary pain and ‘humiliation’ for the women forced to undergo these tests, which are often required by certain religions before marriage.
‘An exam will not tell me if you or your teenager is sexually active,’ Jennifer Pierce-Weeks, a registered nurse and the CEO of the International Association of Forensic Nurses, told DailyMail.com.
‘Parents will sometimes say: “I want you to check and tell me whether or not my daughter has been having sex.”
‘And we have to explain to them: “You cannot examine someone and unequivocally determine whether or not sex has been taking place”.’
So-called ‘virginity testing’ is conducted in one of two ways, one of which is a doctor’s examination of the hymen.
The hymen is a very small and thin piece of tissue that partially covers the opening of the vagina, forming part of the external genitalia.
Historically, it was believed that during a woman’s first time having sex, the hymen would ‘break’ or tear and cause bleeding.
But sometimes the hymen does not tear during intercourse. It can also be torn in other ways.
Dr Mark Werner, an OBGYN at Beaumont Hospital in West Bloomfield, Missouri, told DailyMail.com.
‘Using a bicycle is another means to tear the hymen, someone using their own fingers [during masturbation].’
T.I. said, during the interview, that his daughter’s gynecologist has told him this as well, but he dismissed it.
‘…I say: “Look doc, she doesn’t ride no horses, or bike, she doesn’t play no sports. Just check the hymen please and give me back my results expeditiously”,’ he told the podcast’s hosts.
Health experts say, however, that the hymen doesn’t ‘disappear’ after a women has sex for the first time.
‘Women vaginally give birth to children and still have hymenal tissue,’ said Pierce-Weeks. ‘Older women still have hymenal tissue.’
The other ‘virginity test’ is the two-finger test, in which a clinician will stick his or her fingers into a woman’s vaginal canal to see how stretchy it is.
‘As you can imagine, it can be an incredibly humiliating process for a woman or a girl,’ Dr. Ranit Mishori, a professor of family medicine at Georgetown University and a senior medical adviser at Physicians for Human Rights, told DailyMail.com.
‘It’s not just the humiliating aspect, but it can be physically painful and harmful.’