Chapter 8: Our Need for Intimacy

The part the struck me most in chapter eight, was Oscar Mendoza’s confession scene. He explains to Father Arguedas that he is having violent dreams about killing boys. When he returns after being freed or escaping these boys are all over his home and his presence does not alarm them. Mendoza becomes enraged of what they are doing to his daughters and wakes up hoping they “are safe and unmolested in their home”. I began to wonder how the loss of a father or rather, the loss of his presence affects a daughter, emotionally, psychologically, and sexually.

Maslow explains that love and belonging is in the middle of our hierarchy of needs pyramid. I find it interesting that the subcategories in the section, love and belonging, are “friendship, family, and sexual intimacy”. This begins to suggest my idea of the correlation between losing the male figure in a daughter’s life and the need to fill that void. I argue, a father can be both family and friend therefore, when a big part of this basic need is taken away their sexual intimacy need rises. I wanted to research more on daughters’ need for their father and what happens when a father is not present. According to Getting Men Involved: The Newsletter of the Bay Area Male Involvement Network, (Spring 1997): (girls who grew up fatherless vs. those with both parents)

53% more likely to marry as teenagers
111% more likely to have children as teenagers
164% more likely to be a single parent
92% more likely to divorce if they marry

These statistics give me insight to the psychological effects on a young girl who is without a father and how it affects her sexually and emotionally. Females without father figures often become desperate for male attention (Grimm-Wassil, 1994). This attention can lead to the statistics above such as marrying earlier or becoming a parent at an early age. Daughters need the example of what a man is, how one is supposed to act, what a man needs and how he thinks (Griffin, 1998, p. 29). A key to teaching daughters about men are their fathers, without this male figure, young women can be misled or confused about relationships.

Responding back to Mendoza’s dream some of the girls were laughing while others were crying I began to wonder the correlation between our need for intimacy with incidents of sexual assaults. From birth we desire to connect and through important developmental months children become attached to their caregivers. We begin life with this basic need for intimacy, but what happens when it is taken away? After researching intimacy and learning how our brains are wired to connect with people, I followed with this question, does our need to love and be loved lead to incidents of sexual assault? I started by researching the side we are less accepting to, the offenders.

Violent offenders use threat, intimidation, and physical force. This type of interaction occurs in 10%-15% of sex offenses against children (Barnard 41). This leaves many cases of nonviolent offenses. The nonviolent offenders coax or pressure children into sexual activity, for example the child gives sex for attention, acceptance, recognition, or material gain. Since it has been studied that fatherless-daughters become anxious for male attention we can reason that they become victim to sexual assault by their basic need for love and belonging. 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes (Criminal Justice & Behavior). This statistic really brings to the foreground the affect fathers have on both sides of this argument. Not only do fathers make daughters more vulnerable to sexual assault but their absence also correlates to perpetrator. While we are unsure the ages or gender of this statistic it allows us to understand the deeper psychologically affect absent fathers can have on both sides of sexual assault.

I understand that daughters who lose their fathers in different ways will be effected differently. For example, a daughter whose father dies suddenly vs. a daughter whose father was absent since birth could have different psychological reactions. Researching the different instances of fatherless daughters and explaining in depth the mental affects could be another avenue of research. Another option I believe would be, broadening this topic to fatherless children, whether son or daughter and how this effects their development. I would like to research this topic in further detail because I believe it would create a voice and a better understanding of those affected. This is a really deep research topic and will take research from psychology, case studies, and personal stories to make a strong and valuable argument. Week by week I have become interested in how we subconsciously are manipulated by our life, through events and decisions.

Sources:
Barnard, George. Child Molestor: An Intergrated Approach to Evaluation and Treatment. Brunner/Mazel, 1989. Print.

Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26, 1978.

Griffin, D. (1998). Fatherless women. Los Angeles, California: Milligan Books.

Grimm-Wassil, C., (1994). Where’s daddy: how divorced, single and widowed mothers can provide what’s missing when dad’s missing.

Getting Men involved: The Newsletter of the Bay Area Male Involvement Network. (1997). Statistics on fatherless homes.

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3 thoughts on “Chapter 8: Our Need for Intimacy

  1. ballen68 says:

    Hi Katelyn, your posting this week was pretty thought provoking, and I enjoyed speaking with you in class about your research topic. I think you did a great job of laying out the foundations of psychology behind the issue of molestation and other sexual assaults. I couldn’t believe how high the statistics were for the girls that grew up without a father, it was so shocking, yet makes complete sense when you think about it. The area of study I am curious about is the absence of mothers and its effects on children, boys in particular. Would guys have a similar reaction to not having a mom as girls do to not having a dad? I wonder if they would look for “extreme” qualities/characteristics of moms when looking for a female partner. Girls look for, or just find themselves with guys that have strong stereotypical dad characteristics. They play a role of authority and control that these girls have never had before, which makes them susceptible to molestation and other sexual harassment and assault. Also, as you mentioned, how does the reaction differ across different situations such as a sudden loss versus complete absence? One other question you may consider is if there is anything we can do about it. Are these girls just stuck with the fate of being more likely to be molested, and taken advantage of by men, or can we do something to change these statistics drastically? Overall I think you sparked a lot of great research questions that I think you can pursue. The only suggestion I have is to stay focused. It will be hard, but don’t veer of too far while you’re going through this process of compiling research on this topic, because there are many ways you could easily get into a totally different field of psychology before realizing what you have done.

    -Bryson

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  2. annawallace003 says:

    Katelyn,

    Your research this week posed a question that I found to be very interesting. As a child who grew up with both of my parents present, I have never really considered how I could of turned out differently without a father around.
    It is definitely something to think about because in the book, almost all of the hostages have family ties that are no longer present and the hostages have no clue about their families well being. As you mentioned, Maslow’s hierarchy justifies our need for love and belonging and this could also be part of the reasoning as to why Gen, Carmen, Roxanne, and Hosokawa have a need for each other. They could just be searching for that missing piece that is not longer with them.

    As for other directions you could take this research, I would be curious to know how boys are affected without a mother in the picture and whether or not they are affected in the same way. We have had a lot of previous discussion in class regarding gender so the previous blog posts may sever as a good guide.
    I think that it is important that you included the statistics about the decisions fatherless girls tending to make because it gave very specific effects instead of only including, “they strive male attention. I might also suggest looking into what can fill the absence of a male figure in a young females life, if there are any.
    Overall I really enjoyed reading about what you researched and I think there is a lot of potential to further expand on the topic.

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  3. hcelemen says:

    Losing a parent or growing up with only one parent can become a difficult thing for some people. It is interesting how you connected the need for intimacy to seeking attention in association to this lack of a parent. It is interesting how much influence father’s have because they have as much impact as mothers do in our development. Father’s have a perceived influence on their children, like building trust and discipline. For daughters, there is having a comparison for what she should expect from the opposite sex, whether men should be trusted or be feared. For sons, they set an example of what it means to be a man and how to act like one. Fathers can set a positive or negative influence on their children so I was really interested when you instead chose to do your study on the lack of one. It would be interesting to learn what it is in our psyche that subconsciously causes the negative outcomes that you’ve mentioned as a result of this circumstance. Furthermore, a part of me can’t help but wonder if these social-sexual issues are caused by what our society defines as “normal” therefore, those that are fatherless grow surrounded by such judgments, which then motivates them to fill the missing piece in their life. If the child grew up in a community of only single parents, would they still experience these sexual issues?

    I am also interested to hear about the varying differences, if any, the lack of father would have to a lack of mother because of the different roles they represent in a family. When I think solely of the father I imagine a protector while a mother is the nurturer. How are families coping with the lack of a protector? Are the mothers usually the ones to adopt this role or is there another partner or relative that takes on the role of the father? Were you able to find studies that would indicate that mothers in certain households have effectively filled this role and therefore such negative outcomes can be avoided?

    Overall, I thought this was a very interesting and informative piece about our society and family structures. It brings up issues and connections that I wasn’t consciously aware of. It is good to know that research and studies are being done about the sociological and psychological outcomes that result from the need of intimacy.

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