Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Temptation

I’m a little uncomfortable writing about this, but then again, it bugs me, so I must. Last week the ladies on “The View” were ranting about it and I agree with most of what they said, but there’s a part of me who can’t ignore the fact that one must also be responsible for their actions. Self-responsibility is very important and so easily dismissed. It’s much easier to blame someone else than to take accountability for our own actions, or lack thereof.

As I watched an episode of “Lie to Me” (I just love this show, especially when they show photos of current liars) where they talked about statutory rape. The scenario was about this college guy, twenty-two years old and a sixteen years old girl who had sex at a Frat Party.

According to Wikipedia
“The phrase statutory rape is a term used in some legal jurisdictions to describe sexual relations that occur when one participant is below the age required to legally consent to the behavior.[1] Although it usually refers to adults engaging in sex with minors under the age of consent,[1] the age at which individuals are considered competent to give consent to sexual conduct, it is a generic term, and very few jurisdictions use the actual term "statutory rape" in the language of statutes.”
Something about this disturbed me. In the show, the girl wanted to have sex with a college boy. It was her choice; she went to the party and came on to him. The guy didn’t know she was only sixteen.

I think it’s the word “rape” that disturbs me here. To me, a rape is what Wikipedia describe it by:
“Rape, also referred to as sexual assault, is an assault by a person involving sexual intercourse with or without sexual penetration of another person without that person's consent.”
– the consent aspect is important as well as the assault.

In the show there was no assault as such and the girl consented to it (and did enjoy it). Granted she was underage, but she was old enough to know what she was doing. I remember being sixteen and flirting with older boys. I even remember my father threatening a guy, who was a good five years older than I was, about me being a minor. I did look older than I was; which is also the case of many teens today. I knew what I was doing and more so what I wanted to do. I was playing with fire. I know that now. I think I knew it as well back then, but wouldn’t admit to it, because I wanted it.

I feel that often we dismiss certain facts and simply choose to blame the horny old men, those bastards who will abuse the poor innocent girls. I hate that. It’s not always the case. We are too quick to judge and often forget that it takes two to do whatever.

I’m not talking about sexual abuser who gets their kicks on children; I’m talking about teens having sex before they are of legal age. I think it’s strange that they’re not old enough to consent to sex and yet they are (old enough) to drive or marry… Don’t we need as much judgement to be a safe driver?

If we were to arrest or prosecute all guys who impregnate a teenager, the prisons would be even more overflowing, because let’s face it, not all teens got pregnant by boys in their own age group. Also, I’m trying to remember how often I’ve been asked how old I was… or even myself, I don’t think I’ve ever asked a guy his age, because let’s be honest, my hormones and I didn’t care.

Being with an older guy was a thrill. I thought they would have more “experience” and they sure knew how to talk to me. Looking back, I don’t feel as if I was rape (in anyway), but I was pressured that’s for sure. But I also wanted “it”. That’s the confusing area… I might have been “of age” and I can say without a doubt in my mind, that I was naïve and succumbed to flattery and their experience. The temptation, or anticipation of it all was bigger than reason.

What about the parents in all of this? In the show the father of the girl was all upset and screamed murder. I’m sorry but to me it showed poor parenting. He didn’t know where his girl went nor what she did. It was all the guy's fault, he was twenty-two and should have known better. I don't think that's fair.

That’s one thing that didn’t happen with me, my parents watched me like hawks. I was on a very short leash and most likely that is why I never got into troubles. I also knew that if I did (get in troubles), I would have serious consequences at home, and that was incentive enough to “behave”, trust me. When I turned eighteen (our legal age here) I ventured a little more, and “experienced” life, but I guess having been brought up a certain way kept me on the right track. Funny what fear will make you do. Or not do, huh.

9 comments:

Monkey said...

I am not sure I fully agree with this. I see what you are saying, but these laws are not there to protect the 16 year old who is looking for a partner at a frat party. This is to protect minors from being in relationships with older men who tell them they "love" them. A 14 year old can consent to sex, and think she is in love, but she is not capable to handle the emotional baggage that goes with sex and certainly not able to had with the financial implications.

If society indicates that the law must be involved in consensual sex of a teen (I cannot be convinced that you can really consent to sex as a 12 year old) how about fining the parents for being really bad at their first job- to protect their offspring?

Stinkypaw said...

Monkey: I'm not debating the laws, I agree with them. I didn't agree with what the show was showing and how all the blame was on the guy because he was of age. I think it's hypocretical to do that. You know, I think in many cases age has nothing to do with it, because I know (too)many women who think they are in love and also can't handle all the implications.

I totally agree with you about consenting to something at 12, but then the parents should be there and protecting their kids - I fully agree that parents should be fine, that might help. Last night, I kept asking Hubby "where were the parents in all of this?"

kara said...

i actually share your opinion on this. "rape" is definitely a different crime than "underage consensual sex". there's so much grey area here that i'm sure the number of young lives ruined by the legal system is extraordinary.

Barb said...

I'm with Monkey on this, but parents can't always be there to protect their kids. What if the situation involved a 16-year-old and her 40-year-old teacher, someone who the parents trust? I don't know that the 16-year-old would have the maturity to realize that the teacher is not really in love with her and going to leave his wife as soon as the student turns 18. She may be old enough to consent to the sex, but I think there's move involved than just sex. There really is a lot of gray area here.

Stinkypaw said...

kara: Two different things indeed, and one big grey mess!

Barb: Agreed parents can't always be there, but what about their parenting skills (or lack thereof?) I also agree with a teen not being mature enough to tell what's a lie, etc. but that's why the laws are there, to protect her (if she's not playing with fire...), It is a very grey area for sure!

cinnamon girl said...

I kind of have a different take on this.

What bothers me here (haven't seen this episode btw) is that this sounds like yet another tv show which chooses to focus on the murky grey area and the extreme case in a way which leaves people thinking 'well it's not fair that the guy was blamed'. Because there are so many shows which do this in regards to rape, and it does have an impact on the way people think about rape. This is important because over and over in real life that's what rape victims hear. And the whole 'says it's rape when clearly she wanted it' line is another tired old ploy as far as I'm concerned - again, it's something that rape victims often hear.

And so I have to ask why they chose this particular story. There are so many lies surrounding rape. There are so many lies told by rapists. There are so many situations they could have portrayed - and yet they chose to show a situation that leaves people in the end saying 'well clearly she wanted it and he shouldn't get the blame'. Those are words I for one am thoroughly sick of hearing in regards to rape, and yet this show has wedded them together.

Why? Why do that? It seems like just another little bit of 'rape culture', just another tiny tiny piece in the 'blame the victim' game. And all those tiny tiny pieces add up, and they lead to this: "because girls are giving in to pressures (from either friends, teachers, men, etc.) we automatically blame the other parties." (from your next post). In real life I haven't ever seen that happen - only on tv, yet these shows give the impression that this is what's happening in the real world when girls report rape - when actually what is happening is the opposite.

One of the reasons I get so pissed at shows like this is because I, like you, do believe in personal responsibility - and more often than not in cases of rape, the rapist doesn't take responsibility. He (and unfortunately many, many other people who speak to the rape victim) will say stuff like 'she wanted it, she enjoyed it, it's not his fault there are arbitrary rules of consent' etc etc ad nauseum.

Having said all that, I do agree with you that the age of consent is arbitrarily drawn and it's nigh on impossible to pin-point exactly when someone is emotionally ready for sex. And this: "I think it’s strange that they’re not old enough to consent to sex and yet they are (old enough) to drive or marry…" I totally agree with.

greenduckiesgirl said...

When I was 24, I was dating a 17 year old. He was fantastic and very mature for his age. We had sex. I used to freak out about the thought of this being statutory rape. It drove me crazy. The relationship didn't work out but I've always considered myself lucky that I didn't get arrested.

I think the laws are out there for a reason but sometimes, really, don't we have to look at the situation? In this case, is the guy to blame? No, I don't think so. Yeah, maybe he should have checked to see her age but do you start carding your dates like people do for cigarettes?

However, I think there's a lot of guys that will take advantage of younger girls and tell them they love them. That's why the laws are out there. I knew a guy who despaired over the fact that his girlfriend's dad wouldn't let her see him. She was 16. He was 30. Um, excuse me? What do you possibly have in common with a 16 year old?

Meg said...

I definitely agree with what you're saying about personal accountability. In today's society it's much easier for a girl to cry rape than it is for her to accept responsibility for her actions.

Stinkypaw said...

cinn: I agree with you that case was an exception (I'm sure), and rape, as Kara mentionned, is a totally other thing...

greenduckies: I must say I'm a little surprise that you would have dated a 17 years old at 24 and yet can't understand the guy of 30 with a 16... that's just strange to me. I'm just saying.

Meg: It is, but responsibility should be on both sides, for everyone and in everything!