A young teenager has earned the backing of the internet after refusing to submit to a paternity test.
Though it might seem like the kind of thing reserved for daytime talk shows, paternity tests are more common in the U.S. than many realize.
The National Library of Medicine estimated as many as 300,000 paternity tests are performed in the U.S. annually to include or exclude a male as the biological father of a child.
According to Jared Rosenthal, the CEO and founder of Health Street, “up to 1 in 3 dads who suspect that they are not the father are right” while around 3 percent of all dads in the US are raising children that are not their own.
Rosenthal says that, in many cases, these men have fallen victim to something called “paternity fraud.” “Paternity fraud is when a woman intentionally tricks a man into thinking that he is the father of her child, when in fact she knows that he is not,” he said.
In a post shared to Reddit’s “Am I The A**hole” subreddit, a 16-year-old girl described the circumstances that have led her father to become “convinced” she is “not his real daughter.”
“My mum ran away to another country with some guy when I was 8 years old and lately my dad’s gotten really sure she was cheating on him long before that and I’m actually someone else’s baby,” she wrote.
“He keeps talking about how paternity fraud is a big issue and he needs a paternity test to be sure he’s not getting suckered into raising another man’s kid.”
The girl said his newfound suspicions have really hurt her feelings, noting that she is not a “difficult kid” and gets “good grades” while avoiding the other temptations of young adult life. “Why does it feel like he’s so desperate for me to not be his?” she wrote. “Does he hate being my dad that much?”
Though she said she is “pretty sure” she is his daughter as they look “similar” she admitted to being “scared” of what might happen if she is not and has so far refused to submit to the testing. “Would he stop caring about me? Would he kick me out? I have nowhere to go,” she said.
When she told him she would not submit to the testing he got “mad about it” and demanded she do it “right now.” But despite his hardline stance on the subject, many have urged the young woman to stand firm on the issue.
AosothSammy commented: “Dad had his chance 8 years ago to test for paternity, when he had reason to believe she might not be his. He decided not to and continued raising her as his child, be she his child or not. The boat for this has long set sail.”
BootsEx was in agreement. “What kind of monster would raise an actual person from a baby to 16 years of age, find out there isn’t a biological connection and then just dump them?” they asked. “I’ve only known my youngest for two years (she’s 2) and no matter what you told me about her she is still an actual human being that I love and care about and she loves me.”
SnipesCC said: “If your love of a kid is based on your DNA being in them, then you never actually loved that child. You just loved the idea of passing on your genes.”
IssysWe warned that even if the tests proved he was her father, that might not be enough.”He might be so vested in a particular outcome, that he might say that the test wasn’t legit or make up some other excuse,” they wrote.
Holalesamigos, meanwhile, suggested that regardless of the outcome, the damage may have already been done. “Even if she is her dad’s biological daughter, it is still an extremely s****y thing to do,” they wrote. “He basically told her that he wouldn’t hesitate to kick her out if she wasn’t his and doesn’t value her as a person or the connection they have.”
Newsweek has contacted the original poster for comment.
Family matters have made for engaging content on social media of late.
One woman recently went viral after kicking her father and his wife out of her home when the couple announced they planned to name their future twins after her deceased siblings.
By contrast, one man earned the backing of the internet after refusing to allow his mom and dad to move into his house, years after they kicked him out of the family home.