T.I. Takes Daughter To Doctor For 'Hymen Checks;' Internet Explodes In Outrage

Photo: Instagram
Who Is T.I.'s Daughter? New Details On The Rapper's Claims He Does 'Hymen Checks' On Her

Rapper TI seems to be trying to get an award for Patriarch of the Year. No, not Father of the Year. Patriarch, as in representative of the patriarchy, a term feminists use to describe men who demand control over women. 

TI is taking the idea of an overbearing father to a ridiculous extreme by accompanying his teenage daughter to the gynecologist every year and demanding the doctor share whether or not the 18-year-old has an intact hymen. TI thinks this is evidence that she is preserving her virginity, something he seems to be expecting of his legally-an-adult child. Never mind the established medical fact that a ruptured hymen isn't proof positive of sexual activity, the whole story is so invasive and creepy that huge swaths of the internet are up in arms about this example of extreme parenting. 

Who is TI's daughter and why is he dragging her to the gynecologist for so-called virginity checks? Read on for all the stunning details. 

1. TI and his family

TI is a well-known rapper who has been recording music since the late 1990s. He has 10 studio albums and has also appeared in multiple films and television shows, including the Ant-Man movies. He has been married to Tameka "Tiny" Cottle since 2010, though they began their relationship in 2001. They have two sons and a daughter together. Cottle has a daughter from a previous relationship and TI has two sons with Lashon Dixon and a daughter from a relationship with R&B singer Ms. Niko. Cottle and TI were separated in 2016 but have since reconciled. The daughter making headlines this week is Deyjah, who recently turned 18. She is a college freshman, model and social media influencer.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Deyjah Harris (@princess_of_da_south) on Jun 20, 2019 at 1:00pm PDT

Deyja is 18 years old. 

2. Checking his daughter's virginity

Madame Noir reports that TI recently went on the podcast Ladies Like Us to talk about his family and being a parent. When the subject having the sex talk with kids came up, he said that not only had he had the talk with his oldest daughter, he has made a habit of taking her to the doctor once a year to check the status of her hymen, looking for proof of virginity. 

"This is the thing. Deyjah’s 18, just graduated high school now and she’s attending her first year of college, figuring it out for herself,” he said. “And yes, not only have we had the conversation, we have yearly trips to the gynecologist to check her hymen.”

He went on to describe how the doctor, who obeys common rules of medical ethics, told Deyjah that he can't share her medical data without her written consent. TI had no problem barreling over standard medical privacy practices and demanding his daughter sign off on letting him see the results of her exam. "So we’ll go and sit down and the doctor will come and talk and the doctor’s maintaining a high level of professionalism," TI recalls. "He’s like, ‘You know sir, I have to, in order 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? No problem.’"

After bullying the teen into signing away her right to privacy, TI asks the doctor to confirm anatomical details about his daughter that are really none of his business and are not indicative of the information he wants anyway. "And so then they come and say, ‘Well I just want you to know that there are other ways besides sex that the hymen can be broken like bike riding, athletics, horseback riding and just other forms of athletic physical activity.’ So I say, ‘Look doc, she don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bike, she don’t play no sports,'" he tells the podcast hosts.  "Just check the hymen please and give me back my results expeditiously.'”

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3. Planned Parenthood weighs in

There are about a million things wrong with this scenario but let's start with the basic physiological fact that the presence or absence of a hymen inside the vagina is not indicative of anything other than the presence or absence of a hymen. Planned Parenthood took to Twitter yesterday to share some facts about the anatomy of the vagina, including what a hymen is and how it changes over the course of a person's lifetime. Basically, it's a membrane that partially covers the vaginal opening. They vary widely and no two hymens are the same. They seldom cover the entire opening because the vagina needs to allow menstrual fluid to leave the body. The hymen is easily damaged and can be ruptured by all kinds of activities including sports and other physical exertions or through penetration of the vagina by a foreign object such as a finger or penis or vibrator. They're not meant to be permanent fixtures in any vagina and they can be eliminated pretty easily.

A broken hymen doesn't mean you've had intercourse.

4. Virginity is a social construct

While a lot of people like TI want to believe that a hymen is absolute proof of virginity, that's not really the case. As Planned Parenthood will tell you, virginity is a social construct that is generally accepted to mean someone who has not had sex. But even that isn't a black and white situation. Sex doesn't always entail penetration of the vagina with a penis and some people can go their whole lives without ever having that kind of sex while still considering themselves not virgins. Furthermore, people who never had a vagina or a hymen to begin with can be considered virgins. So the notion of a hymen check as evidence of virginity is so flawed as to be laughable. 

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5. Virginity checks are unethical

If you think the outrage over a man checking his daughter's virginity is some kind of manufactured feminist outrage, slow down. The medical and human rights establishment isn't a fan of the process either. In 2018, the World Health Organization and the United Nations called for the end of virginity testing, saying "In a global call to eliminate violence against women and girls everywhere, this medically unnecessary, and often times painful, humiliating and traumatic practice must end."

"These examinations are not only a violation of women’s and girls’ human rights, but in cases of rape can cause additional pain and mimic the original act of sexual violence, leading to re-experience, re-traumatization and re-victimization. Many women suffer from adverse short- and long-term physical, psychological and social consequences of this practice. This includes anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress. In extreme cases, women or girls may attempt suicide or be killed in the name of 'honor'," the statement continues. "Performing this medically unnecessary and harmful test violates several human rights and ethical standards including the fundamental principle in medicine to ‘do no harm’. WHO recommends that this test should not be performed under any circumstances."

6. The right to bodily autonomy

Even if hymens were worth checking, it still doesn't excuse TI's attitude that his daughter's sexual choices and the results of her gynecological exams are any of his business. While it is true that parents usually have to sign off on medical treatment for children under the age of 18, there have been special exceptions made for reproductive health services. According to the Guttmacher Institute, all states now allow people under 18 to get reproductive health and STI services without parental consent or notification. "This trend reflects the recognition that, while involving parents or guardians in young people’s health care decisions is desirable, many young people will not avail themselves of important services if they are forced to involve their parents. With regard to sexual and reproductive health care, many states explicitly permit all or some people younger than 18 to obtain contraceptive, prenatal and STI services without parental involvement," they state.

As the doctor in TI's story made very clear, sharing medical data should only happen with the consent of the patient. TI took advantage of his power over his child to force her to waive her privacy rights and allow her doctor to share her medical exam results with her father.

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It's possible that she is all in on this dynamic and enjoys letting her father know all about the state of her vagina and who is allowed to access it, but if she's not, what TI is doing is manipulative and disturbing. 

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7. But wait there's more

This isn't the first time TI has talked about someone else's vagina as if he owns it. The Grio notes that during a recent podcast, he told his wife that their marriage meant that half of everything she owns is his, including her vagina and she shouldn't consider not letting him have sex with her when he wants it. "See, you can’t be rationing out stuff, talking about what you’re going to give nobody because what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is yours," he said. "That means that little thing you got, that little sex box you got is half mine. So you pick which side you want, and that’s yours. The rest of it is mine. We can split it right down the middle of the…What do they call it? The, the, the, is it the ‘Uvula’."

He meant vulva, of course. A uvula is part of the human throat. 

This 50-50 division of genitals raises some interesting questions like what would happen in the event of a divorce: would his wife be entitled to one of his testicles? 

8. The internet is not amused

On Twitter, people have been criticizing TI non-stop. A user with the handle TheBlackLayers says, "What TI has done to us daughter is rape culture. it’s the beginning of teaching black girls that they do not have agency over their own bodies. It’s also teaching sexual shame and repressing desire. Now all her sexual engagements must be secretive. Shame + secrecy is violent."

Twitter user NnajiJuliet17 said, "What TI is doing to his daughter, is something to be ashamed of. First, he is continuously trying to instill in her Your body is not your own You are not free You are merely an object."

And OB/GYN and author Jen Gunter share one last medical fact, saying "The hymen is no virginity indicator, 50% of sexually active teens do not have a disrupted hymen. The hymen is often very flexible."

9. Deyjah's response

Before Deyja said anything about the situation she hit "like" on three social media posts criticizing her dad for his overbearing ways. One of those tweets said: "That is just beyond possessive,’ the second said: ‘This is disgusting, possessive and controlling *whew*,’ and the third said: "‘give me my results' first of all mf, those are HER results!! Like WTF."

Then Deyjah tweeted simply: "i loveeeeeee yalllllll" and inserted a rolling eyes emoji after the text.

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.