We get it, he is a dad… and she is his oldest baby girl.
Most relationships between fathers and their daughters are peculiarly complicated and obsessive. Obsessive in a dope way. Consider the concept of a “Daddy’s Girl,” and how daughters have a way of wrapping their daddies around their fingers. Think about the way culturally we are all ok with him to have a bat or a shotgun handy for a male (or female) suitor that comes to visit his “pumpkin.” Hell… we also have heard people say (or we have said), “better get your gun ready…” like that is normal. So, trust us Tip… We get it.
While we most certainly cringed when we heard that rapper T.I. asks his daughter’s gynecologist to check her hymen when she goes for her visit, we understand how that request is another example of how toxic masculinity not only violates a young woman’s personal space and inserts suspicion into the parental relationship, but puts the doctor in an ethical dilemma.
Does the Atlanta’s rapper action a) put the health professional in an unethical position or b) does he violate his daughter’s reproductive health rights?
There are certain rights that teens have under the law that are set to protect their privacy. These laws are particularly set up to ensure that teens (female, male, non-binary or questioning) make healthier choices with sex when parents disapprove of premarital sex.
Check out the laws in GA and judge for yourself.
According to Sex Etc., here are the rights T.I.’s daughter has as a teen in the state of GA.
She has the right to be taught sex education in her school (if she attends public school).
It is actually a law in Georgia for public schools to teach it. The state determines what grades are appropriate and the curriculum. Within the law, there is a clause that says that “emphasizes abstinence from sexual activity until marriage and fidelity in marriage as important personal goals.” Parents must be notified, but teens in Georgia do not need their parents’ permission to participate in sexuality education or HIV/AIDS education classes. Parents can take their children out of sex ed classes if they wish, though, by sending a notice to their child’s school. This is called an “opt-out” policy.
She is legal of age to participate in sexual activity in her state at 16.
The legal age of consent, where parents like this or not, in Georgia is 16 years old. Tip, don’t shoot us… y’all folk let this law pass. This is important to note: According to Ageofconsent.net, “Georgia does not have a close-in-age exemption. Close in age exemptions, commonly known as ‘Romeo and Juliet laws,’ are put in place to prevent the prosecution of individuals who engage in consensual sexual activity when both participants are significantly close in age to each other, and one or both partners are below the age of consent.”
She has the right to reproductive health services by a professional, without fear of retaliation from her parents.
The Guttmacher Institute reports:
“The ability of people younger than 18 (generally, the legal definition of a minor) to consent to a range of sensitive health care services—including sexual and reproductive health care, mental health services, and alcohol and drug abuse treatment—has expanded dramatically over the past several decades. 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. Moreover, nearly every state permits parents younger than 18 to make important decisions regarding their children. In sharp contrast, a majority of states require parental involvement before a legal minor can obtain an abortion.
Notably for access to contraceptives for those younger than 18, the U.S. Supreme Court specifically affirmed their right to access contraceptives in the 1977 decision Carey v. Population Services International. No state has enacted a blanket requirement that individuals must obtain parental consent for contraceptive services. For laws related to HIV and other STI services, pregnancy care, adoption or medical care for a child, state consent laws apply to all individuals aged 12 through 17. In some cases, however, states allow only certain groups of young people—such as those who are married, pregnant or already parents—to consent. Several states have no relevant policy or case law; in these states, physicians commonly provide medical care without parental consent to individuals younger than 18 they deem mature, particularly if the state allows minors to consent to related services.”
Now back to T.I. and his misguided thoughts on this hymen, his daughter’s body, and her sexuality.
While it is something worth noting, as a father (who pays the bills), he can with the cooperation of his child and medical professional do what he wants. However, there is a huge misconception that examining a person’s hymen can determine that a person’s sexual activity or virginity.
The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement in 2018 entitled Eliminating Virginity Testing to address this form of testing. The WHO reported revealed that a systematic review on “virginity testing” showed that such as examination “has no scientific merit or clinical indication.” This organization supports what many on social media have been saying. This practice is “a violation of the victim’s human rights and is associated with both immediate and long-term consequences that are detrimental to her physical, psychological and social well-being.”
According to Bruce Y. Lee, a health care senior contributor for Forbes.com, the test is not a valid way to determine sexual activity because of the way that the hymen is located on a born female.
He says, “Typically at birth or shortly after birth, the hymen does not cover the entire opening of one’s vagina but instead runs along the edges of or at most partially covers the opening.”
In fact, he goes on to note that if a hymen is covering the vagina opening that would cause problems.
“In rare cases, a newborn will have a hymen that continues to completely cover the opening of her vagina, a condition called an imperforate hymen. As a National Library of Medicine website describes, a female may not notice this condition until she gets to the age of having periods. With the hymen blocking the exit, the menstrual fluid then has no way of flowing out, leading to symptoms like abdominal and back pain, fullness in the belly, and interference with the two “p’s”: peeing and pooping. The treatment for an imperforate hymen is usually surgery, cutting and removing the extra hymen membrane. Thus, the belief that having sexual intercourse for the first time somehow “pops” open the vagina by breaking through the hymen is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong with an extra wrong added.
Additionally, many things besides sexual activity can stretch or tear one’s hymen. These include tampon use, horseback riding, doing splits, and other types of physical activity. Oh, and a vaginal exam itself can cause stretching and tears as well. So, the results of the so-called “virginity test” can actually be the result of so-called virginity testing. How;s that for making things even more confusing?
Plus, sexual activity may not even alter the appearance of one’s hymen. A study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics (which previously had the longer-to-write name Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine) revealed that 52% of females from 13 to 19 years of age who had had prior intercourse did not even have detectable changes in their hymens. That’s because the hymen can be quite elastic.”
So the question goes further, after reading all of this, why is the health professional agreeing to do this?
Hopefully, once educated, T.I. will come out of his cave and consider how this is a senseless violation… one perpetrated on his daughter for no reason at all.