Why it’s a Father’s Duty to Protect his Daughters

Photo by Caitlin Chrisenee Photography (www.caitlinchrisenee.com)

Our culture is promoting two very contradictory messages.

On one hand the Me Too Movement is highlighting and confronting the hidden abuse women have been experiencing by men in positions of power.

On the other hand popular writers mock and denigrate any attempt by a father to protect his daughter from predatory men.

This has left many confused wondering, does a father have a unique obligation to protect his daughter?

In one of the most popular articles from The New Yorker in recent years entitled, “If You Ever Hurt My Daughter, I Swear to God I’ll Let Her Navigate Her Own Emotional Growth,” Sophie Kohn writes in the voice of a woke father, “I am watching myself and actively resisting my ingrained urge to infantilize my daughter and deny her a normal and healthy evolution into mature adulthood.”

Then Kohn says something many today now believe about fatherhood but few are openly stating (again in the voice of a father), “The minute Raina was born, she was Daddy’s little girl. However, I mean that only literally: she was a physically small human and her DNA strongly suggested that she was my kid. It still does. But, after a point, that mentality is weird and gross…”

The feeling of fatherhood, the feeling that you are uniquely responsible to love and protect your own daughter because she is your own flesh and blood, is “weird and gross?”

Our culture believes the solution to the vulnerability of women is for women to be left alone to fend for themselves in private, even at a young age, against predatory men.

So if men feel justified in using all of their power to take advantage of women in any way their flesh desires, and if another man attempts to confront the predator, he, this protective father-figure, is the one considered sexist.

We used to understand that it was not primarily the job of women to confront predatory men, but it was the job of other men.

Our culture cannot bear this traditional arrangement because it leaves women dependent on men. In our drive to erase all gender distinctions we have left women terribly vulnerable, and our daughters will pay the price. 

One person commented to the author of the New Yorker article, “Nothing is patronizing about a father’s love for his children… It’s just foreign to you.”

This lack of experience of being well-fathered is too often the case. It’s true that most women today have been let down by their fathers, and they feel the need to find ways of protecting women that don’t depend on men. 

But in a fallen world full of powerful, predatory men the best way to ensure women are protected is for godly men to fully embrace the protective heart of a father.

Not just for our own daughters but for everyone who comes under our care.

We see this in the story of Boaz, one of the most honorable men in Scripture. He says to Ruth when he barely knew her, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here…I have told the men not to lay a hand on you.” Ruth 2:8-9

Paul tells all men in the church to “treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.” 1 Timothy 5:2

The reason a father meets a young man who wants to date his daughter is to let him know that she is not alone. This does not infantilize her, this scares the wolves away.

Abuse leaves permanent scars.

There will always be those men who prey on the vulnerable.

And it will always be the job of fathers to do what they can to stop them.


P.S. If you like essays like this, I’ve written a whole book of them called A Father’s Compass. You can get it at Amazon, Audible or over at FamilyTeams.com.

This entry is a part of Jeremy’s Journal, a newsletter Jeremy sends out every Wednesday morning to encourage you on your parenting journey. You can sign up to get them every Wednesday here.

Latest Episode

Listen To Our Latest Podcast



Start Building a
Multigenerational Family Team

Live events







Family scouting report