Young Girls Need
Universal Press Syndicate
their daddies. My father was there to mend my broken
dolls, photograph me in bows and bonnet on Easter Sundays,
and chase away my suitors at promptly 10 p.m. So I have
long understood the crucial role fathers play in their
wrenching case in New York state underscores the desperate
need that girls have for attention from men. The arrest of
20-year-old Nushawn Williams - suspected of infecting with
HIV many female sexual partners, including young girls -
has uncovered a sad and sordid tale of adolescent girls
thrilled to be in the company Of this sexual predator, who
lavished attention on his young lovers even as he passed
on a deadly virus.
quote several of his young victims saying that Williams
cooked for them and took them shopping. The friend of one
15-year-old victim told The New York Times that he
treated her like Princess Di. The comparison is sobering.
It is hard to imagine the circumstances girls who would
see royal treatment in the affections of Williams, a
violent small-time drug dealer who was practically
homeless. But the lure of Williams' dangerous attention
serves as a pointed reminder that girls desperate for the
approval of men will take it wherever they find it.
conventional wisdom takes into account the statistics that
show boys who grow up without loving and responsible
fathers are more likely to go astray. (Count Williams
among those cursed with two negligent parents: His father
apparently abandoned him to the care of his drug-addicted
mother.) But there has been less attention given to the
lives of young women who grow up without the loving
guidance of good fathers. Nicky Marone, author of
"How to Father a Successful Daughter," is among
those who believe the :father-daughter relationship
deserves more attention. She recommends that fathers
praise their daughters' achievements and their
attractiveness. Fathers are invaluable, she says, in
developing their daughters'
Ambassador Andrew Young, father of three grown daughters
as well as a son, believes attentive fathers can keep
their daughters from becoming sexually active too soon.
"I always told my daughters they were pretty, so they
weren't desperate to hear it from the first boy who came
along," he has said.
neglectful fathers are not a problem just for the poor.
Indeed, there are unexpected lessons in the family lessons
in the family life of Bill McCartney, founder of
Promise Keepers, which preaches that men should treasure
their families. McCartney's wife has recounted the
isolation she and her children felt in the years in which
her husband was obsessively building his football coaching
career. It was during that time that McCartney's unmarried
daughter bore two children with football players on
McCartney's University of Colorado team.
there is no guarantee that Kristyn McCartney would have
avoided those relationships had her father been more
attentive. And there may be girls among Nushawn Williams'
victims whose fathers tried to teach them Values and show
But the odds
that a girl will grow up into an emotionally healthy young
woman are better when she has a loving and attentive
father in her life.