PODCAST: BYU-Idaho professor discusses role of fathers in disrupting porn industry, human sex trafficking

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — “If you don’t love them, they will find somebody else that will.”

That’s what my friend told me she’d told her husband and they held their newborns, especially the girls. There seemed to be an absolute resolve, a firmness in her voice as she told me this story that echoed a similar sentiment I’d heard from a BYU-Idaho professor.

“As I started looking in the research of the unique impact fathers have on daughters just as mothers do on sons and mothers on daughter and father’s on sons, but I looked at father daughter relationship,” Dr. Timothy Rarick, a marriage and family professor at Brigham Young University – Idaho, said. “How do we empower from within?”

A fatherless home is not an uncommon scenario in many of America’s homes. According to the National Center for Fathering, 20 million children grow up in fatherless homes. A reality, Rarick says, that can be linked to many problems society sees today, including the prevalence of pornography.

“I started looking at stories of women who are in the porn industry that got out and looked at their story of how they got in and how they got out,” Rarick said. I found that almost every single one of them said, ‘I didn’t have an involved father or my father was abusive or I never knew him, I always wanted a dad and when these men at this age came and give me attention, I became sexually active at very young and then in my teen years, and late years in early twenties, I could get money and attention and loved.’ In fact, some of them would say, ‘I got the love that I always wanted, but it wasn’t a love I needed.”

Rarick is quick to note not every girl who comes from a fatherless home is destined to enter the pornography industry or become a victim of human sex trafficking. He also pointed out that not everyone who is involved in those industries comes from a fatherless home. But, the presence of a father does positively impact a young girls situation in many ways.

Girls who live in a father present home, Rarick said, find a delay in their sexual development and activity. The father is also the primary foundation for a girl’s future relationship with and perception of men.

“The foundation for all future male relationships in a girl is found in the father,” Rarick said. “He sets the tone whether for bad or for good, whether for healthy or unhealthy.”

Setting that tone involves helping a girl feel valued and of worth and does far more than just protect her, it can empower her to accomplish great things.

If we can help strengthen and everyone from within with good education, good therapeutic interventions, good tools, information, and cut through all the distractions and all of the threats that are undermining there that connection, that love, that bond that I talked about earlier, especially a father daughter relationship, if we can do that we are empowering and strengthening from the inside out,” Rarick said.

Knowing where to start can be tough though. Fathers who come from fatherless homes or didn’t have a role model to teach them how to be a good father means some men are trying to break the chain in their own family.

According to the National Center for Fathering, there are over 70 million fathers worldwide and Rarick says there are no perfect fathers. But, he adds, there are fathers who try.

“Connection and love is what it’s what it’s all about, within ourselves and then between each other,” Rarick said. “I’m not doing it perfectly, but I’m not going to quit trying.”

You can listen to Rarick’s full interview with KID Newsradio’s Sydney Jensen on the role fathers play in disrupting the human sex trafficking industry and pornography, and other interviews from this season of “Disruptors,” on Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes), Google Play, Stitcher or wherever you get podcasts.

KID Newsradio will be hosting a community conversation about disrupting human sex trafficking on Wednesday, March 14 at 7 p.m. at the Hillcrest Performing Arts Center in Ammon, Idaho.