“Doc, I want you to check her down there to see if she has ever had sex before. You can do that, can’t you?” He spoke to me outside the exam room. His almost whispered words down there signaled his extreme discomfort with the subject matter, his 14 year old daughter’s lady parts.

“Ugh. Well.” I sighed. “Yes and no. Yes, I can look at her vagina and see if she has a hymen. But its presence or absence alone cannot determine virginity.” I went on to explain why absence of the hymen could occur from active sports, use of a tampon… Hell, she could have even been born that way.

“But we caught a boy in the house when no one else was home. I just need to know I can trust her.”

“I understand, but what if a hymen isn’t there?”

“I’ll kill her!” I could see he was speaking in the metaphorical sense, though still clearly angry.

Did you hear anything I said?

“No you won’t. You will still love her because she is still your little girl.” 

His face softened a bit. “I still want to know.”

“Look, it’s her body. Forcing her to undergo an exam of this nature is akin to rape, even if she is a minor, and it sends the wrong message to her about who is is control of her body. I won’t be the one to do it.”

I always hate being asked to do these things. It makes me feel dirty and ill and twists my insides up into knots.

He couldn’t see it quite yet, but this was not about a boy. Not really. It was so much more…

Your relationship with your daughter is jacked up and you both are lost. You don’t know your way back anymore.

Typically, I get a belligerent verbal attack or threats of leaving my practice if I don’t do what is asked, maybe a report against me to the state medical board. This time, though, he took my offered list of family counselors and actually looked at the names listed there.

Maybe there is hope for these two?


119 thoughts on “Spread

      • I respectfully disagree with that statement and the notion that anything but healthy education and rational thinking regarding sex will do anything to prevent the potential negative consequences of it. Making excuses for the failure of parents to put their emotions aside when dealing with sex is part of why kids sneak around and aren’t as responsible as they could be.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Except that every culture in where it is acceptable for a parent to take their child’s sexual development as an insult to them has so many more problems in that area verses those where it isn’t. An example is Nordic countries verses us, or Islamic countries. Look at the frequencies of horrific things related to sex that take place in each. The second we perpetuate the belief that parents need to treat the fact that their children are having sex or at least sexual feelings as something wrong with them, the more we perpetuate the justification for “virginity tests” and some of the crimes committed in the name of some bullshit “moral” idea that sex is wrong and so is anyone who wants to experience it. I wonder if the father would have had the same reaction if the child in question was a boy? Can’t “test” for that. He probably would have high-fived his kid if it was a girl he found alone with his son.

        Liked by 3 people

      • This is why I blog about it. To bring it out in the open. This is not an isolated instance. It occurs all across America every day. Even so called “enlightened” countries have their subtle forms of abuse.

        Liked by 5 people

      • Yeah, I am not trying to debate in your comments. But I have seen so many people suffer because of our ridiculous ideas about sex, that I just can’t help but get a little angry at people like that father for the damage they are doing. Father or not.

        Liked by 3 people

  1. Your bravery to speak up and speak the truth about women’s/girls’ bodies, their rights, and who has control is enough to make this survivor get weepy. I wish the general public understood this nuance. I wish there were more professionals speaking up like this, about this. Thank you, just thank you.

    P.S. Did you talk to the girl at all about control over her own body? Just wondering if that is something that is considered acceptable in a situation like this.

    Liked by 7 people

      • Thank you for her sake then as well.

        I am dedicated to helping our society understand consent, sexual power, ownership of our own sexuality, the difference between those and abuse. Too often our society does not see the differences between all these things, and because sex and female consent makes us so uncomfortable, the society clouds all the issues with fear. I am a survivor, I enjoy sex, my body is mine, my choices are mine…even if they make others uncomfortable….and I am teaching my daughter the same things. Adult, consensual, safe sex is a powerful wonderful thing, however it is explored. Awareness of our own body, power, and sexuality are key. These things are not contradictory…they are crucially linked. And they deserve open discussion. Until we are unashamed of bodies and sex…I fear the silence around these perpetuates and makes invisible the abuse.

        Ok, stepping off my soapbox.

        Liked by 5 people

  2. Thank you, for respecting her and speaking out for her rights to body safety and privacy. Much more I want to say about ownership, both the personal as well as that perceived to be rational and appropriate by specific societal norms…however I won’t. I too hope that the ending was more positive than indicated and that education played a key role for both of them.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. People are so strange. We’re willing to believe someone we met in a bar, but not a medical professional. We form opinions from partial evidence, or simply because we want it to be that way. So glad you explained the truth, and appear to have made some headway too.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Wow, that’s a tough situation. It is so hard to let go of the assumed control we have of our kids. I am so glad my 18 year old is denying any sex experience when we talk… but I fully expect that years from now she will tell me about it…. when I can handle it. I’ve done my best to educate on HPV, HIV, and all the other diseases and to instill the fear of god about how easy it is to get pregnant…. and she also knows how to be safe, best I can do. Nice title… I cringed a little πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. this dad seems like he will buy that fake red ink thing in the middle ages for brides on their wedding night that weren’t um- made of stone. ugh if only there was some sort of check for a boy’s body. oh wait, society has unfair double standards when it comes to this subject- never mind…..

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I understand that it’s also true that the presence of a hymen is no sure-fire indicator of virginity. In some women, they never break. But no father can stop their daughter from having sex. What they can do is prompt them into being sneaky, or into being educated.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The time to build trust – mutual trust – with a child is when they are small … not try to patch something into place when they’re 14.
    Demanding *proof* is not trust. I agree that this relationship is broken and has nothing to do with a boy in their house.

    I really liked your comment “Forcing her to undergo an exam of this nature is akin to rape, even if she is a minor, and it sends the wrong message to her about who is is control of her body. I won’t be the one to do it.” That message is really powerful.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. What a tough conversation, handled very well. The stresses of your job are so much more than people ever imagine. As the wife of a primary care doc who often comes home pretty beaten down, I thank you for offering readers such a wonderful opportunity to peak behind the white coat.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. that poor girl… in some countries, he would have been allowed this intrusion and then they would have stoned her for tainting the family reputation. I love his line :I need to know if I can trust her” Too late, you don’t!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I respect your defense of the integrity of her body and I think you’re right when you say that the issue goes beyond his need to be protective. I was going to be flip and say that Father’s worry like this about their daughters because they know how awful males are–but it also occurs to me that there is a territorial imperative at work here.

    If he is the kind of man who sees his daughter as something he owns then the boy may have trespassed on his property and he needs to know who to punish.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I’m so glad you said no to him.

    I especially liked how you said it’s akin to rape, since it’s forced penetration with an object or fingers, yes.

    I hope he won’t look for another GP who’d be willing to ignore consent and do the exam.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It has happened in the past, leaving to find someone else. At least my objection hopefully makes those people think. Technically there would only be looking in this type of situation, no penetration. But then you don’t need penetration to have rape as far as I am concerned. If rape is about power, so is this type of exam. Equally damaging.

      Liked by 3 people

    • The damage was done a long time before. I hate giving up on people. I know it can get better for them if they are willing to do the work. But dad has to start the process and that means swallowing his pride. Very hard to do.


  12. Tragically, there are Dad’s that controlling and obsessed which hints reallllly strongly at a very twisted relationship. Anyone that ‘protective’ wants them for themselves, even if only in thought/ subconsciously. That’s my 5 years of psychology coming at you! lol

    Liked by 1 person

  13. My daughter is 14 so you can imagine how this made me feel. My God, they’re not ready for sex at 14. I barely figured the whole thing out until I was in my mid-20’s. And I don’t mean how to do it. That’s the easy part. The part a 14-year old can figure out. I mean the implications and how it affects the other person. I’m hoping my daughter hasn’t even been kissed yet but I know she’s been to boy/girl parties. Ugh.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Made me think of my own mother and the threats, hatred, and insults I received. It made me hate her and feel guilty at the same time, and to think I was 20 years old and living on a dorm at a city 1hr away by plane from home. She still never forgets and never forgives and I try to understand so hard but sometimes I just can’t. My relationship with her is too strained.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: Spread | momkirby

  16. My compliments on saying no.
    There are boundaries not to be crossed.
    (Thumbs-up emoticon)
    On an aside note: I hope your monday meeting has gone well and you haven’t “killed” anybody yet on the staff. Be good Victoire.
    (Pic: Paris from Montmartre, right side of the stairs, SacrΓ© coeur behind you)

    Liked by 1 person

      • Glad about the rise of non-violence. About the pic, I know that place well. Climb up to Montmartre every year. And isn’t it wonderful how eyes and brain (and feet) connect in such a way that you remember where you were standing. Close to the statue of the Chevalier de la Barre. πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  17. You showed remarkable wisdom and compassion in dealing with this man. This was a very troubling post, but this man may seek the counseling he needs, and hopefully there is hope for him and his daughter–not the end I expected at all when I started reading this post.

    Liked by 1 person

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