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Real Talk: Take Responsibility for Your Daughter

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Teen Girl
Weeks ago, I wrote about a 14-year-old girl in Baltimore who was unknowingly recorded while performing oral sex on another teenager. The video was posted online by another teen, and resulted in what's been called the widest distribution of child pornography on record.
 
Many of you wondered, “Where are her parents?” (Some of you rightly asked about the parents of the young men, too.) The young girl’s father, who didn’t give his name, spoke to Baltimore news station WJZ. “She was forced to do this. She was bullied, harassed into doing this,” he said.
 
Her father added that he was “furious. I mean, any parent would be,” especially since the video depicting his daughter engaging in underage sex remained on popular social networking sites for up to four days.
 
He also wanted the videographer arrested. “I hope he’s incarcerated,” the father said. “I’m hoping he gets some serious time out of this.”
 
Other men who have no relation whatsoever to the young woman also spoke out about the incident, lending an unexpected male voice to the conversation about where the young woman and young men involved went wrong.
 
In “I am [redacted name]’s Father,” author and father Jimi Izreal also defends fathers from those who have speculated about and blamed the young girl’s father for her behavior and speaks of the challenges of raising children. (You’ll also notice the sly way he throws the mother of his daughter under the bus, as part of his argument.)
 
“You say what you would do, what you would say, but you have no idea,” Izreal writes. “We are all great parents with other people’s children… I need the help of a partner who at times seems to be modeling the kind of behavior I am discouraging. We are fighting. Pushing and pulling, in no one’s best interest.”

In “[redacted name] is My Daughter,” Mark Anthony Neal, Professor of Black Popular at Duke University wrote, “There are some who will claim that the girl's behavior is the product of slack parenting, single-parent households and the continued erosion of values within Black families. Still others, part-time psycho-analysts, will suggest that her behavior is a cry for the kind of attention that only a (presumably missing) father can provide… It all sounds correct in a society that cares little about Black girls and even less about what motivates them to do the things that they do.”
 
Neal, a father of two girls, suggests that if the young woman were his daughter, instead of shaming her acts, he would speak to her about her sexual desires and help her discover “pleasurable and age appropriate activities” that teenagers can engage in to “safely express their sexual attraction.”
 
He adds, “We would also discuss that it is never appropriate for such acts to be recorded and circulated, unless agreed upon by consenting adults.”

If you were the father or mother of the young teens -- the girl and boys -- involved in this incident, how would you address the issue?
 
Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk
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