There are certain subjects in well-mannered and proper society that you do not discuss unless you wish to draw the ire of shrill women, dorky religionists, and otherwise stick-up-the ass uptight folks of all sociopolitical stripes.
One such topic that must never cross our lips (or fingertips) are legitimate observations regarding the sexuality of females under the age of the most almighty civilized marker of 18. You can make all the jailbait jokes with your closest circle of friends you want, but let’s say you’re among a group of loose acquaintances or co-workers (say Facebook). You don’t know most of them very well so you desist from remarking on such unpopular notions for fear of being ostracized. We live in such a whitewashed, neo-puritanical culture that any frank discussion of pre-18 sexuality is confronted with horror and shame. In fact, there is a pernicious culture of shame (mostly bolstered by the feminine elements) that tramples all over the ostensible freedoms of expression we “enjoy” in this country. On paper, yes, we are free talk about these things, but in practice we risk our reputation and physical well-being for speaking of such 21st Century taboos.
Robert Lindsay, much to his credit, occasionally dares to venture into the unchartered Bermuda Triangular waters of “pre-legal” female sexuality. He posted a dubiously-named, hilariously-titled piece yesterday, “In Praise of 12-14 Year Old Girls.” Before you get your bloomers up in a bunch, please read the article and realize this is an honest and open assessment of the life attitude of females who are entering child-bearing physiology in their young teen years. The great majority of females in this age group are technically fertile but lacking many of the emotional and physical characteristics which appeal to most mature men. Nature’s own clock obeys no etiquette or laws, which is fine, but how does having such a conversation elicit so much curious anger from people? Why does making neutral observations lead so many to assume there are unspoken carnal motives for merely noting how 14-year-old girls are? Can’t we have frank, insightful conversations about the subject without being typecast as lechers?
The phrase statutory rape is stupid. Traditionalists justify the use of “rape” because they allege the “victim” is legally deemed unqualified to enter into contracts or agreements, and thus, also incapable of being responsible for his or her actions.
The essence of human biology is that many of our sexual behaviors and reactions are inherent to our physiology and thus unavoidable. Once a woman enters puberty and reaches child-bearing age, she begins to display secondary sex characteristics which are the “tip off,” in the primitive sense, that she is ready to breed. As physiological males, our body reacts to such female signals in spite of cultural mores. How we handle these natural physical reactions is a manifestation of self-control and latent mental pathology, if any. I don’t care if you’re a respected Southern Baptist preacher from Biloxi. Your hormonal body will react favorably to the sight of a decidedly curvy 15 1/2 year-old girl. Are you going to throw your testosterone in jail? Religion, laws, all designed to suppress our wanton primal lusts. Most of us are wise enough to stay out such situations because the penalties aren’t worth it. There are idiots, however, and perhaps it can be argued that the awareness of such looming punishment should be enough to dissuade anyone from hooking up with a minor so standard punishment is suitable. But of course, men are not reasonable, and neither are the laws. Prison for chrissakes?
This is how I think Statutory Rape laws should read in every state. I don’t like these laws to vary from state to state like they do now. I think punishment for having sex with minors should parallel punishment for traffic violations.
If the victim is
17 1/2 – 18 : punishment should equal the same you would receive for talking on the cell phone while driving. A fine, an inconvenient trip to the courthouse or the post office, done. A symbolic and hollow castigation, the state makes its money and you return to the car and promptly do it again, a little more carefully now.
17 – 17 1/2 : punishment equal to a speeding ticket of 5 miles per hour over the posted highway speed limit. Technically a traffic violation which you must expend time and money to repair, but not terribly expensive. Mostly an inconvenience. Can be cleared by participating in the civic moneymaking enterprise of “awareness classes” which benefit no one except the school and government bureaucracy. You pay your fines and fees, put in the requisite time, meet new people, wipe the slate clean. As with traffic school, you can only do this once every 18 months.
16 1/4 – 17 : punishment equal to driving through a red light. Horrendously expensive but subject to the same judicial remedies that repair the penalty for engaging in sexual activities with a 17-17 1/2 year-old.
15 1/4-16 1/4 : punishment equal to a first DUI offense with a BAL of less than 0.05% above the legal limit. Horrendously expensive and a multi-pronged judicial attack on your legal record and comfort level. Jail is theoretically possible but not likely. Fines must be paid with the possibility of community service. An expensive specialized offender school must be attended for a period of months at a cost much greater than normal traffic school. Once the mandated requirements are fulfilled, the offense stays on your record for 10 years.
14 – 15 1/4 : punishment equal to a repeat DUI within the span of a year. Similar to the previous age segment’s punishment but with larger fines, a longer period of time spent attending the special class and community service or fines, and likely a short time spent in county jail. Loss of certain privileges (to be defined still) for up to 1 year.
Less than 14 years of age : existing punishments are invoked. Generally such behavior is not sexual in nature because the victims are usually of childish physique and thus the offender’s actions deviate from natural urges and may be precursors to erratic and dangerous cognitive functions.