Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Double Standard

I read two stories today on CNN.com that both grossed me out, but they raised the glaring double standard of how sexual assault is viewed in the U.S.

The first story described a 37-year-old woman who became pregnant by her, I guess you'd call him her boyfriend, who's 15-years-old. They live in Georgia, and the state law reads that people of any age may wed if one of the partners is pregnant. It was a law enacted in the 60's in efforts to prevent children born out of wedlock. The woman claims that she married him so the baby has his name, and because she wants to build a life with him. She was arrested on November 8th (after their wedding), with her pleading that he pursued HER, that he was not a victim in the situation, and that she typically prefers older men.

The second scenario is of a 22-year-old man who took his 14-year-old bride across Nebraska state lines into Kansas (where there is no minimum age to marry with parental consent) and married her. He'd apparently had a relationship with her since she was 12!! He was arrested and could get 50 years in prison.

The story about the woman in Georgia didn't say how much time she'd get, but it sounded like it was minimal...especially considering the man in NE could get 50 years. Mary Kay Latournou (if you check a past blog entry of mine, you'll see that she sickens me to my very core...and the idea that she got paid for an interview about her wedding about made me toss my Oreos...ah, Oreos) got probation, then only 7 years when she got pregnant by her junior high romeo a second time.

Not that I think either crime is worse, and I say crime whether the kids were consenting or not, because adults are suposed to make more mature decisions. Whether the kids thought it was a good idea or not, their judgement isn't fully developed and these adults have got to KNOW it's wrong to have sex with a 12-year-old. I'm wondering if men are penalized harsher because penetration is involved. The act of penetrating may seem more violating than an older woman coercing a child to penetrate her.

Why is it worse for men to have sex with kids. Either way, it's still about power...because I can't imagine what their conversations are like.

(As a side note, my little brother is 22-years-old and I couldn't POSSIBLY imagine having sex with someone even a couple years older than him. And that's legal.)

2 Comments:

Blogger Stephen (aka Q) said...

It's interesting to read a woman's perspective on this issue. I read the post yesterday, but I had to think it over before responding.

I think most men immediately flash back to when we were in high school. You're a 15-year-old virgin, and you have a crush on one of your teachers.

In my case, I can think of someone quite specific. She was soft-spoken, she made herself available after school any time I wanted just to shoot the breeze, and she was slightly built with tiny little hands. I often find hands erotic for some reason.

If she had offered to relieve me of my virginity, I would have jumped at the opportunity. And I don't see how I would have been a victim in that scenario. OK, I would have gotten my heart broken eventually, since there's no future in such a mismatched relationship. But we're dealing with a victimless crime — or so it seems to me.

On the other hand, I don't understand why a 35-year-old woman would want to have sex with a 15-year-old guy. So that part's a bit creepy, I grant you.

And it's a hundred times more suspicious when the older party is a man. Why? Because men have a well-deserved reputation for exploiting vulnerable women. There's a huge international trade in providing 12-year-old girls — even pre-pubescent girls — as prostitutes for creepy but wealthy Western men.

You just don't see women engaging in that kind of behaviour. You tend to assume that a 35-year-old woman really wants to mother the 15-year-old guy — that she intends (however misguidedly) to nurture him, not exploit him.

Usually we oppose double standards based on the sex of the people concerned. So, legally, maybe we have to treat both parties the same. But is the older woman / younger guy scenario as bad as the older man / younger gal scenario? That's the question in my mind.

Am I just being sexist? I find it interesting that you have such a profoundly negative response, and it's the same for both scenarios.
Q

10:44 AM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

Q,

Thank you for writing your thoughts on this topic.

I kind of figured men viewed it this way. I think that a young girl getting attention from a hot teacher feels similar to a young boy with his soft-spoken teacher with freakishly small hands (you didn't mention if your teacher's hands were freakishly small, but the freakish part applies to your hand fetish).

I can tell you that if Mr. Swords, my hot junior high history teacher had wanted to get it on, I probably would have...and felt traumatized about it later. I think something might seem ok, and then after the fact, you realize you weren't ready, or you were manipulated into it.

I feel like this teacher having sex with students trend is out of control, and how will it ever subside if there aren't any consequences for BOTH sexes?

11:08 AM  

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