Legislators in the state of New York are planning to pass legislation to ban “virginity tests,” following the outcry over the rapper T.I.’s disclosure he takes his 18-year-old daughter to see a gynecologist every year to check she has not had sexual intercourse.
During a podcast interview last month, the rapper was asked whether he had ever discussed sex with his daughter Deyjah. He revealed he had done so regularly, even taking her for an annual “hymen check” to ensure she was still a virgin.
“Deyjah’s 18, just graduated high school now and she’s attending her first year of college, figuring it out for herself,” the Atlanta crooner explained. “And yes, not only have we had the conversation, we have yearly trips to the gynecologist to check her hymen.”
The remarks sparked outrage across social media, with opponents denouncing such checks as unscientific and a violation of women’s rights and privacy. In the state of New York, some legislators were so outraged that they have now introduced legislation to ban the practice.
“It made me angry and I was just very upset,” said Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages, the Democrat responsible for drawing up the legislation to ban the practice. “To use your platform to say that you did this is just misogynistic and it sets the women’s movement back.”
Under the new legislation, medical practitioners would be prohibited from performing virginity examinations, and those found guilty of such conduct would face penalties, including charges of sexual assault for those carrying it out without a medical license.
The legislation has already received three co-sponsors in the Assembly, while similar legislation is being written by Senator Roxanne J. Persaud (D) in the state senate.
“The invasive procedure of a virginity examination violates the sanctity and purity of a female,” said Persaud. “Whether a child or adult, this breaches not only moral grounds but also the privacy entitled to a female and their doctor.”
In a follow-up interview last week, the rapper, whose real name is Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., apologized for airing such sensitive information but argued his comments had been sensationalized and his daughter had never objected to the testing.
“I’m not there to protect necessarily virginity,” he told host Jada Pinkett Smith. “I just know that is a big move. Once you make that move, there are things that happen that follow.”
Follow Ben Kew on Facebook, Twitter at @ben_kew, or email him at [email protected]