This post has been mentioned by more than one person in the past week. And yes, I have an opinion on this. But, I’ve been miserably ill, so I’m just now getting to it. Because this is a topic that deserves my full attention and effort to do justice.
Seriously, this, this is not justice.
I know. As a parent-of three young girls, I might add-I have the same tendency to scream “Do what you have to do to keep the perverts away from my kids and damn the consequences.”
But…What if one of these boys was your child?
I knew a man once. When he was 17, he had a girlfriend who was 15. They had a sexual relationship. They were both in high school. They were even in the same grade. Her father didn’t like him. So, when he turned 18 -and she was weeks from 16 by this point- her father had him arrested.
He went to jail. For five years. For statutory rape.
Where he was subsequently stabbed on more than one occasion and even raped himself.
Needless to say, when he came out, he was changed. I’m told he was kind of a “bad boy” to begin with. Not a rapist or pedophile, mind you, just a rambunctious teenage boy. When I met him he was a mess. A scary mess. He will never be the same, and if anything is much more likely to be dangerous now than he ever was as a sexually curious teen.
So, how exactly did sending him to jail help things for anyone?
I haven’t a fucking clue. The only “victim” here that I can see is this man. He never forced himself on this girl. Their relationship was consensual. She even testified that it was consensual. The only one who had a problem with the relationship was her father. And seriously? Would I be pissed if my kid was having sex at 15 or 16? Absolutely. Would I send the other kid to jail? Why???
People: I know we may not want to think about this, but sexuality is a part of growing up.
(And you people who keep trying to say kids are becoming sexual at a younger and younger age and blah blah- Bullshit. We used to marry our daughters off at age twelve or so, so they could start having babies. )
As parents, we may not like the idea of our kids having sexual contact with other kids, but it’s something that’s inevitable. Not criminal.
We teach them as best we can we hope they will wait as long as possible, knowing that they are going to eventually do it anyway. (Hopefully we also teach them about safe sex as well for this very reason.) Sure, we want them to be 35 and married before they do so, and not 15 and under the tree in the backyard, but the fact is, at some point, it’s going to happen. Our kids will probably also play doctor, masturbate, and look at porn a time or too as well.
Like it or not, sexuality is a part of life. A normal part of life. A part of life that shouldn’t be criminalized.
Now I fully understand these laws were originally intended to protect children from the likes of scary, candy-brandishing pedophiles.
(And I am all for the maximum punishment for adults who impose themselves on children, have no doubt about that.)
But who is protecting our children from these laws?
Obviously something needs to be changed if all these kids- and they are just kids– are slipping through the cracks and being destroyed by a system that’s supposed intent is to protect them.
Do I have to supplement the sex-ed scare tactics where they vividly illustrate genital oozing by teaching my son that not only will thinking about sex make his junk fall off, but if he makes out with his girlfriend he could go to jail?
Or remind him that streaking at a sporting event is a sex offense? Gods forbid he pees on a wall in front of the wrong person.
That’s just insane. And sad.