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.
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.