There’s a special bond a father and daughter share, much the same way a mother and son share.  Being a dad of a 16 year-old comes with a whole new set of worries.  However, there has to be a new level of trust, honesty, and responsibility.  I’ll explain…

I find it difficult to watch all that is going on with the sexual harassment claims and lawsuits.  What’s worse is having to swallow the idea or the thought of how I would react if it were my child, my daughter involved.

I read an article today about Larry Nassar and how he sexually molested McKayla Maroney from the time she was thirteen years old.

Before I delve any further, the Olympic Training facility and U.S. Gymnastics did not allow the parents to stay with, room with, or be with their daughters while they were training, claiming  that they take great care of them and “it was safer than being President of the United States.”  That would have been my first red flag…having grown men around a bunch of young girls and not allowing the parents to be around.  Her father did question it, but I would have found a different way for my daughter to train.

I can’t (and won’t) judge him for his decision and his wife’s decision to allow her to train without their supervision, despite the rules.  They are barely teenagers and you are not going to tell me I can’t be present.  I can only say that I would not have been comfortable at all with it.  What that poor girl must have been thinking and feeling is mind-numbing and it breaks my heart.

Then you have all the Entertainers, Hollywood Producers and Directors, big political pundits, news anchors, executives, etc.  Ugh!

I can’t watch or listen to it anymore.  My heart breaks for these women, how they must have felt, helpless and scared.

I got into a FB war, with a female friend.  She was defending the accused claiming how they have the freedom in this country to “remain innocent until proven guilty…and we have no right to implicate them based on said accusations.”

Here’s my take on this – I find it profoundly impossible that several women got together and decided over coffee how they were going to ruin the careers of several of these men. It just doesn’t work that way.

It all started with the mouth-agape look of shock when America’s favorite dad – Bill Cosby – was accused.  But after one woman, it was another.  And another.  And another.  And another.  Next thing you know, this man that the world looked up to suddenly became America’s most hated.

It’s not about money.  It’s about self-respect.  It’s not about notoriety or fame.  It’s about closure.  It’s knowing the feelings and secrets they withheld for so long are finally – FINALLY  – able to come to fruition.  It’s the long awaited sigh of relief that these women are able to come forward and release this monumental amount of angst in order for a chance at a little reprieve.

I’m not saying that every single woman experienced it.  There are conditions at work where people joke, say things, play around, etc.  Some of them may have been taken the wrong way.  Sometimes you work with people so much and for so long that you get comfortable.  But there is a line you can’t cross.  Having a button under you desk when you invite a female into your office so they can’t leave unless they get naked for you or have sex with you (Matt Lauer) is WAY beyond imagination.

All of this is sickening, grueling, disgusting.

*****************

As I’m driving my daughter home from school two days ago, I turned to her and told her she needed to get to college, secure a solid career, and make her way to the top.

“You see all this that is going on with these so-called men of power, right?”

“Yes Dad.  It’s very sad, actually.”

“Yes it is. But it sort of makes me happy, to some extent.”

“Why is that, Dad?”

“Because, so much policy is going to change.  If you are working your way to the top of a corporate chain and some dim-witted, bumbling excuse of a male decides to use his penis to coerce you into promotions via sexual favors, I would hope you destroy his whole world.  Because if not, I will!  Corporate policies are going to change.  Company policies will be rewritten.  This behavior and acceptance of it will not be tolerated.”

“It was tolerated before,” she asked.

I pondered that for a moment.  In my several years of working, and working in management, I witnessed behaviors…some definitely inappropriate.  It was a position of power.  And shame on me for not confronting it at the moment, but I had the fears of retaliation all the same.  Mind you, this was years ago when I first entered into management.  My attitude and work ethic has drastically changed since then and I work with a fearless nature because I’m always going to protect my people.  But it took time for me to develop that way.

“No, honey.  It was not supposed to be tolerated before.”

“So it was already in the company policy?”

“Yes.”

“Then how come they didn’t do something before?”

This is when I had to explain job threats, retaliation, fear, nervousness, anxiety…all the thoughts and feelings that overcome an employee if they are put into that particular position by a person of power.

“Sweetheart, the bottom line is that no job is worth it.  If you ever feel threatened or in a position like any of these…and I hope you never will…then I should hope you take immediate action.  You can always call me and I will help you figure it out if necessary.”

She smiled because she knows I will always have her back.

She asked to have a young man pick her up tonight and take her out to get ice cream, someone who is 19 years old, whom she met two weeks ago on Instagram.

Her mother was not OK with her being picked up by a 19 year-old she just met, has only known two weeks, and wanted to pick her up to take her out for ice cream.  Turns out they met a couple years ago at a get together and have a bunch of mutual friends.  Naturally, I was not keen on the idea either.

While her mother was gung-ho against this and they were going back and forth, they wanted my opinion.  I always weigh out the options:

  1.  My daughter will be 17 in 2 months.
  2. In eight months from now, she will be off to college on her own and making her own decisions.
  3. She has never done anything against the will of her mother or me (other than the brief rebellion she went on in 9th grade but has rebounded tremendously well).
  4. I have to believe that her mother and I have raised a young lady, smart enough to make sound decisions while allowing us to still guide her without immediately jumping the gun.

So it was simple:

“Ashley, you are still 16 years old and he is 19.  If he wants to take you out for ice cream, he can.  However, I will be there when he arrives and he has to come to the door, introduce himself to me, and I will have a conversation with him.  If he cannot do that, you cannot go with him.  Fair?”

“That’s fair.”

“Any young boy/young man that cannot knowingly meet your father if he wants to take my daughter out is bad news…and you need to know that.”

We have an amazing relationship.  Always have.  My heart breaks for these women that have suffered so at the hands of these monsters.  My one goal in life above all others is to make sure that the bond between me and my daughter stays strong, that she can talk to me about anything at any moment in time.  And that she will never have to succumb to the whims of scumbags and should she ever come across such gross immoral characteristics (because I’m not ignorant to the possibility), then she will reach out to me immediately to help her take further action.

There are many instances we have shared together to create the bond.  If any of these women have fathers they are close to, then I can only imagine how they must feel, especially if they are close to them.  It’s just another concern to carry, having a daughter.  I have to feel that her mother and I raised her well enough to know that she will always be honest with us, make good decisions, and will act responsibly.  The slack on the rope has definitely loosened, but we are not ready to cut it just yet.  It’s our job to have faith and hope that she will do right by us…and by her.

Whether a beautiful young girl or a beautiful grown woman, she will always be daddy’s girl and I will always be there for her because that’s the power of the father-daughter bond.  And one that I’m thoroughly blessed to have with her!

 

 

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