2019 American Music Awards

After T.I. Claimed He Takes His Daughter for Annual Virginity Checks, Experts Said That's Not a Thing

“A ‘virginity exam’ does not exist."

T.I. is no stranger to controversial comments. But the rapper/actor's recent revelation about his alleged annual trips to the Ob-GYN with his 18-year-old daughter Deyjah Harris raised some serious concerns about a practice that has been widely condemned.

“Not only have we had the conversation, we have yearly trips to the gynecologist to check her hymen," the rapper (born Clifford Harris Jr.) told the Ladies Like Us podcast in a Nov. 5 episode that appears to have been taken down. "Yes, I go with her … I will say, as of her 18th birthday, her hymen is still intact."

“A ‘virginity exam’ does not exist,” Maura Quinlan, M.D., an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University and legislative chair for the Illinois section of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, tells Billboard in a statement. “It’s a myth that any type of medical exam can prove if a woman is a virgin.”

In the FAQ section on the ACOG site, the organization explains that the thin membrane that partially covers the entrance to the vagina -- which some girls are not born with -- "sometimes can be torn or stretched during a woman’s first experience with sex (usually through sexual intercourse) or because of tampon use, sporting activities, or medical procedures. Not every girl is born with a hymen. The presence or absence of a hymen does not indicate ‘virginity.’”

The site notes that ACOG does not have guidance on any "so-called virginity testing" as a medical organization because it is "not medically indicated or a valid medical procedure." In the podcast, T.I. said Deyjah recently graduated from high school and is now in her first year of college, and though she's "figuring it out for herself," he's been accompanying her to her Ob-GYN appointments since she was 16. A spokesperson for T.I. could not be reached for comment at press time.

“There is no clinical basis for so-called ‘virginity tests,’ and they are not part of high-quality medical care. Having an intact hymen does not mean you haven’t had sex -- some people just naturally have hymens that are more open, and many other activities besides sex can stretch your hymen, such as riding a bike, doing sports, or putting a tampon or finger in your vagina," reads a statement to Billboard from Courtney Benedict, associate director of medical standards implementation at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "In fact, the idea of virginity is complicated because sex means different things to different people, and it’s ultimately up to each person to decide for themselves what virginity means to them. What’s clear, however, is that virginity can never be determined by a medical exam."

The father of six said doctors have tried to convince him that a woman's hymen can break from athletic activities such as biking or horseback riding, but T.I. insists that he still needs to see the results -- though he didn't seem to require the same standards for his sexually active 15-year-old son. "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,'" he said. "So I say, ‘Look, Doc, she don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bike, she don’t play no sports. Just check the hymen, please, and give me back my results expeditiously.'"

The practice does still take place in the United States and in other countries around the world -- including Afghanistan, where until last year a law made failure of a virginity test by women and girls punishable by up to three months in jail -- with a recent Marie Claire investigation deeming it a "global crisis" that affects women in nearly a dozen nations. In October 2018, the United Nations Human Rights commission, UN Women and World Health Organization urged a ban on the practice, calling it a "medically unnecessary, and often times painful, humiliating and traumatic practice."

Former T.I. collaborator Iggy Azalea chimed in to blast her former mentor in a since-deleted tweet. "I really wish the women who interviewed him would have said something to him," she wrote. "He has serious control issues with women in all aspects of his life & needs therapy."

Chrissy Teigen also had something to say about the claims, tweeting, "def did not think we would be talking about hymens today. or TI."

THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.