NPR: Janks, you talked about a lot of relationships, girls who never knew their fathers. There are young women whose fathers were in and out of their lives. Did you notice a difference in the stories that the girls told of what those different scenarios and what they meant?
MORTON: What I saw, it doesn’t matter. The deserter, deceased, the disenfranchised, the whatever the circumstance, it doesn’t matter. The trauma that these girls – these 1.8 million, 18 to 24-year-old black girls, 1.8 million – are carrying on their heart, it’s not been given a voice. And what I found is that this arc, it goes through a woman’s life. It just manifests itself in all these different ways that I think, that if we can get this generation, you know, an opportunity to purge themselves of this trauma, I think there are some greatness that can begin to happen in the relationship dynamic in blacks.
NPR: But could part of the reason be that – and I just have to be, trying to be sensitive here – is part of the issue here that black women are the ones who perpetuate this by continuing to and choosing to – in some cases choosing to -have children without fathers who are reliable, without men who they know they can rely upon? And I have to ask if that’s part of the issue?
BARRAS: Well, I have to look at my own self. I’ve been married twice. I had a child out of wedlock before I was married the first time. And I think that part of the problem is that you develop these kind of, I call them symptoms – the fatherless woman syndrome – you develop these handicaps based on the absence of your father. So you don’t believe that you’re lovable or worthy of love. You suffered the triple fear factor – fear of rejection, fear of commitment, fear of abandonment. You actually get involved with sexual activity because you’re looking for someone to love you. You have rage, anger and depression issues, and then you overcompensate, either using drugs, using work. And so these things come out in your life in ways that, kind of, alienates you in relationships.This is a very important issue and we want you to discuss it! Can we solve the “fatherlessness epidemic”? How can women who have already experienced the impact of being without their fathers move on and heal from their experience? How can men who don’t know their own fathers be better fathers to their daughters? How can women make better choices about who they let into their bodies to ensure the fathers of their children will be there for them? What’s been your experience? Do you have a relationship with your father? Have you tried to repair a fractured relationship?