Tag Archives: Entertainment Tonight

Time For An Age Of National Consent— Not So Fast— A Critique

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

It’s one of those things that looks good on paper but turns out disastrous in practice here’s why… Because unfortunately what Salon’s author fails to realize is, in addition to multitudes of the stories we are just hearing now about Moore, Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and others being decades upon decades old, situations that would not take place in America today, probably not within the last 15 years, a national age of consent wouldn’t have stopped Roy Moore. Any more than it would have helped the journalist’s son assaulted by Kevin Spacey devastatingly traumatized by what was done to him or the despicable described scenario with Anthony Rapp. Not singularly highlighting stopping them had to involve the victims coming forward, making reports to authorities, alerting law enforcement to what was happening; the missing link to their downfall at the time not laws on the books or gaps in the legal code. Consent law, dealing primarily with legal age to sign documents, live independently absent being considered a runaway, juvenile delinquent, and yes have sex with another person discarding fear of being charged with rape or child molestation, wouldn’t have protected the majority of Bill Cosby’s victims realizing they were mostly of age, stopped the U.S. gymnastics doctor, a gymnastics doctor who played off what he was doing as medical massage, treatment. Why, of either set that weren’t of age by the guidelines across most of the country, they both had plausible reasons for their, even intimate looking, contact with minors. Bill Cosby was mentoring both of and underage aspiring actors, models, writers, could have easily told police parents had given verbal guardianship to him for the duration of an event, trip or job, which it appears for all intents and purposes they did; enough under the law through the 1960’s 70’s and early 80’s, especially to stave off curious questions of rarely inquiring police officers. Larry Nassar was USA gymnastics team doctor and massage is a legitimate medical treatment for athletes; parents of underage gymnasts not accompanying their children on such trips had signed release and guardianship forms congruent with state laws and years of tradition in the sport rendering the age of consent issue null and void related to what he did. Then to be exceedingly graphic, there’s the type of assault he used fondling and fingering these girls penetrating their anus or vagina via his fingers leaving no detectable evidence; further his victims were too ashamed, worried for their careers, sacrifices they and their parents had made to reach this far, to remotely consider speaking out, confused by his doctor status and was could and couldn’t be deemed medical treatment to ask questions outside their own heads. Consent that wouldn’t have hampered Jared Fogle in the slightest owing to his willingness to break the law from the outset, charged with possessing volumes of child porn tacked onto his egregious crossing state lines to have sex with a 17 year old prostitute; breaking the law herself by exchanging sex for money, fitting the pattern of focus on society’s undesirables to engage in sexual criminality. Consent ages not a preventive to both headline making high school student teacher ‘romantic’ relationships, never mind before they ran off with their students; teens invested in keeping them secret. Victim reluctance to come forward, to report lingering number 2 problem today in managing sexual abuse, assault, harassment and rape cases behind the sheer numbers of perpetrators, instances taking place; chronicling said abuse continues to be vastly underreported almost 20 years into the 21st century due to persistent social factors essentially both Moore and Spacey’s accusers, accusers of any prominent figure, local celebrity or known name come up against…. Though Amanda Marcotte makes clear what she thinks the age of consent should be (18) as well as the underage relationships we shouldn’t interfere with, sexual activity, exploration of similarly aged teenagers; she again naively misses the mark, that’s exactly what it has been used for in the past, continues to be used for at present and will be used for in the future by those crafting such laws, voting for local officials who support such measures under the misguided heading moral fiber. Conveniently forgetting too aid to dependent children being cut off at 17 throughout several states, which can result in teens thrown out of their homes at that time; how often America’s justice system rushes to charge teens as adults in violent crime, crimes particularly offensive to old fuddy-duddy politicians’ sensibilities. Namely ones entailing sex with each other, sex with someone they label their boyfriend, girlfriend that falls under fornication, AKA premarital sex; the shocking reality, to many of the same people, teens actually do willingly have sex comparatively age appropriately absent any abuse, predation or ‘older guy manipulation.’ Making a national age of consent markedly more complicated than first glance thoughts indicate, statements taking on exponential new meaning as you read her article comparing it to what is actually happening; she enfolded comments about writing consent laws to avoid punishing and prosecuting teens for ‘sending dirty pictures to each other’ because that’s precisely what district attorneys and state prosecutors were doing for years right up to present day penning of her missive. Cases this blog has reported on like Phillip Alpert who got angry at his girlfriend in the middle of the night and sent a naked photo she had given him to her entire e-mail list (by accident), not even remembering he had done so, but because he was 18 and his girlfriend was 16 he was charged with possession of child pornography. Convicted, despite both teens’ parents confirming their ongoing relationship and forced to register as a sex offender, attend classes with ‘fellow’ sex offenders, listening to topics like ‘why it’s bad to rape someone.’ Citizens willing to say that was 8 to 10 years ago things have changed, read the story of Zach Anderson (going viral in 2015) who used the dating app Hot or Not, known as a meeting space for hook-ups by persons seeking sex, sexual encounters with no strings attached to find a date, connected with a girl who stated she was 17; Anderson 19 having graduated high school the year before thinking little of the age difference. They chatted, swapped nude photos, agreed to meet; he picked her up at her house, went to a convenience store to buy condoms, went to a place to have sex, had sex, he hugged her and took her home. Only for police to show up at his work roughly 2 months later ultimately charging him with statutory rape and a slew of related charges, pleading guilty to 4th degree criminal sexual conduct; why, she was actually 14 not 17, lying about her age to register a profile on the adult portion of the site, lying to him to in order to meet up with him and have sex. Forcing him to serve 90 days in jail, go onto the sex offender registry, move out of his parent’s home because it’s 800 feet not 1,000 from a public boat access, forfeit his chosen career in IT because he was no longer allowed to use a computer or smartphone, barred from the local skate park due to it being a public place where children might be…. already starting 2018 brought with it a host of new laws taking effect, bringing us to Colorado whose legislature passed tougher penalties on what, teen sexting; a step backwards if there ever was one. Going an added step in the wrong direction ganging public reaction to a 2016 proposal that would reduce sexting to a misdemeanor offense, parents and teen advocates worried it would lead to more charges, precisely because it was no longer a devastating blotch on young criminal records…. Zach Anderson’s story hardly over seeing as he was rearrested for a probation violation after a lie detector and subsequent confession done to end his 2 year probation revealed he sat in a room with his brother’s 17 year old friend eating pizza and volunteered at a church function where a 17 year old girl also worked. Arrested by his Indiana probation officer under condition 20 stating incidental contact like being served at a McDonald’s by a server under age must reported within 24 hours, Zach did not; except his lawyer has found condition 20 is illegal, ruled unconstitutional siting precisely what the Reason blog author did, it turns mundane daily life into a legal minefield. That pitfall avoided in Indiana while his Michigan probation officer (he has 2 since his ‘crime’ crossed state lines between the 2 states and he resides in Indiana) was ready to release him slightly early him having been exceedingly compliant, going a step beyond in earning good grades; the judge said no, going as far as to give him another 6 months due back in court April of ‘18. Why, he violated the stipulation he only use the internet for school instead googling a filter for his fish tank and how to build a skateboard ramp, not to be confused with adult, legal porn, not horrifying child pornography, anything to do with children suggesting he has a budding pedophile problem, presents any danger whatsoever to society. Self-righteous adults who want to say well he can’t follow the rules, readers would doubtlessly heartily enjoy watching them try to live by his abbreviated yes, but still extensive list of restrictions, for 2 straight years having younger siblings who want friends over in what is their own house too, getting out of one’s own head and volunteering at church, looking up constructive things to do on the internet, opposite of getting into more trouble to have it bite them in the ass the way it has Zach Anderson… Pivoting back to adults bad, truthfully sexually predatory behavior exclusively, moreover it isn’t the age of consent that’s the largest problem with Moore and the #metoo celebrities exposed as sexual predators, sexual predators in general, throughout the broader public; instead the consent that was never given. Not only because the victim in question is a young child incapable of understanding what is happening, but older adolescents who maybe know just enough to know they don’t want it, grown men and women who know for sure they don’t want what their potential abuser has in mind and makes that abundantly clear… Applying additional needed perspective, his actions with Leigh Corfman amount to child molestation not singularly because of her age, but also because she gave no indication of consent to what he did, no sexually precocious ‘flirting’ often used as an excuse as to why teachers and other grown adults ‘couldn’t help themselves,’ claim they acted older than their age, a warning sign in and of itself if present there is much more going on with that child; thoroughly shocked by what was happening, telling him she was uncomfortable. Him still not getting the message of her disinterest, forget trauma, repeatedly trying to ask her out on subsequently desired ‘dates’ she never went to. That ‘forceful,’ unwanted kiss he suddenly planted on Gena Richardson constitutes sexual misconduct/assault, and provided descriptions of what he did to Beverly Young-Nelson is nothing short of attempted rape, pure and simple; behaviors every one against the law be you 6, 16 or 60, anywhere along said age line, or exceeding it. One social, societal game changer to come out of cases like Steubenville, the conviction of teens involved, backlash toward extraordinarily light sentences given for convictions related to rape/sexual assault where the perpetrators were in high school or college, think Brock Turner and the high school basketball player where the judge commented a harsh sentence would ruin his life, is a shift in how we talk about consent, in depth conversations on how we present consent to young people, productive discussions on adding it to comprehensive sexual education curriculum. Scrapping the overly simplistic no means no we grew up with to telling hormone filled youngsters they must secure an enthusiastic yes to sex before going ahead with intercourse; because, as this blog pointed out Steubenville convicted rapist Ma’Lik Richmond said he didn’t see a rape, had he seen one he would have stopped it, that Massachusetts basketball player point blank told the judge since she didn’t say no, when he started to finger her, he thought it was ok. Indicating a drastic gap in legal definitions of concepts like consent, rape and public general knowledge definitions; our kids are falling victim to poor information, poor definitions and no preparation for the scenarios they face navigating their world like the ‘everybody falling down drunk at parities, games, concerts’ Richmond told the ABC news interviewer about as well as what he thought rape was, jumping out of an ally somewhere and attacking a girl. Connecting that to Roy Moore and conversations around age of consent, the national age of consent Salon’s author insists we need, contrast the evolving approach to teaching consent, the idea of receiving an enthusiastic yes to sex before continuing with sexual advances to the enthusiastic NO he kept getting from local teens. Enthusiastic no’s he paid no heed to and neither did anyone else from store managers to local police who only put him on a ‘watch’ list, resolving to keep a better eye on him; never mind stalking and harassment are real crimes, offenses prosecutable under the law, actions for which you can be arrested/jailed and apply whether you are 8, 18 or 80 again anywhere along that age line or outliving it. Yet it doesn’t just boil down to a person’s age, questions on dubious consent to a sexual encounter, high school and college parties where nearly everyone has ingested alcohol, are varying degrees of drunk, where you’re clearly operating in a gray area, it’s the consent never sought out nor asked for. Surpassing the ruffies rewind used by Bill Cosby to get women to willingly down pills by telling them they were something benign, dropping them in women’s drinks or setting it up to make it appear an established addict had a relapse, abusing medical authority over patients in your care the way Dr. Nassar did in order to get Maroney alone in a hotel room to abuse her on a trip, taking away their ability to consent legally or otherwise by introducing multiple mind altering substances. Tina Johnson was never asked if she wanted to date Roy Moore, unaware until later he was married a huge no go zone for her, never asked if she liked/appreciated the flirty attention he was giving to her, in fact freaked out by it; if ever having tried a case in a courtroom, indications he should have been able to pick up on, sneakily grabbing her buttocks she states scarred her for life, a whole different level of brazenly not ok….Zero consent, permission sought in what happened to Terry Crews at a party where a Hollywood talent agent sort started out leering at him and sticking his tongue out at him in an overtly sexual way; confused, trying to understand if this was an icebreaker or what, Crews goes over to shake his hand. And while he puts his hand out to be shaken in the standard, especially male, professional business greeting, said agent reaches under his hand to grope him causing Crews to jump back vehemently objecting; body language/facial expression showing shock, his assaulter continuing with ‘the tongue move’ this time with added grunting noises. Coming back again to do the same thing prompting Crews to slap his hand away, shove him backwards with more force than the last time and outraged, ask what he was doing; whole scene happening in front of his wife who confirmed the account to ABC news. Crews left reeling from the absurdity of the situation, questioning still a year later as of interview footage, if it really happened; almost identical descriptions of what happened to Kevin Sorbo at the hands of now deceased Gianni Versace. Who graduated from verbal sexual harassment to running his hand up the actor’s leg; whose purported response to Sorbo’s assertion he was straight was to say “that’s why I like you, you’re not a girly man you’re a man’s man… adding an all too familiar element virtually dangling a modeling job in front of him if he would engage in a sexual encounter/relationship. Sounding all too much like the women describing assaults by now president Donald Trump his hands suddenly everywhere on a plain, at a bar he reaches up a woman’s skirt sitting in the next seat, making crude comments about a woman to a group he was out with one night walking in front of a building/on the sidewalk in front of it, woman waiting for her cab/car to be chatted up then have her beast groped. Sounding all too much exactly like what Mr. Trump said on the found Access Hollywood tape candidly depicting how he just starts kissing women, doesn’t wait for permission, simply does it and how being a star means he can get away with it, even to the point of grabbing her genitals. A county board member arrested after hallway building surveillance caught him in similar actions with a female colleague shortly after Trump’s election; sickeningly claiming said election meant he didn’t have to be worried about political correctness, which to him included the freedom to grab random women’s private parts. Louis CK was randomly masturbating in front of women while on the set of his many comedy productions without a thought they might be uncomfortable, uninterested in seeing his genitals, admitting the allegations against him were in fact true. Creating a 3 fold vice grip, vicious cycle of seemingly endless and next to unstoppable sexual misconduct, assault, emotionally scarring abuse, full on rape systematically unreported are those who use their power; paralleling what happened to Sorbo, Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey plus virtually every one of the #metoo exposed persons used their status as directors, movie makers, it actors, people with business currency to get aspiring talent jobs to gain sexual favors, elicit their silence about sexual propositions, harassment, forced sex acts. Even insidiously making it seem like part of the job; if you want the movie role, the connections I have access to, you must in return sleep with me… Moving away from celebrities and expanding out into the general public’s sexual abuse, predation problem carried out by ordinary citizens with no national recognition/status, there are those who use the social etiquette of tight, crowded spaces to perpetrate their abuse while putting themselves in places people either have to go or are commonly likely to be; hash tags like its not ok and tweet me your first assault unveiling creepy to abjectly terrifying encounters that have nothing to do with the age of consent so much as stopping pedophile predators, educating citizens on the legal parameters of consent correlating to real world, modern day scenarios. Making it clear to cat-callers what they’re doing is not complementary, polar opposite degrading, humiliating and profoundly unwanted; demonstrating the invariable fact that woman you may think looks hot and are giving her suggestive compliments accordingly may be an underage teen who’s highly developed for her age, a tween who is tall, again well developed for her age, reason 5,002 to knock it off. Social media experience recounts including the author who started the sharing movement telling her story “old man on city bus grabs my p**sy and smiles at me, I’m 12;” her far from the only one who couldn’t get on a bus or walk through a store being a kid without being used: 11 year old in a store, mother shopping the next aisle, man touches her a few times tries to take her. Women for years have told stories of not wearing makeup on the subway to avoid harassment, assault and rape on their way to work, shopping, business meetings, you name it. Exacerbating how young it starts, how young boys are when they get the idea they own a girl’s body not herself, “boy grabbed my chest in 4th grade when I yelled at him to stop, he punched me so hard in the stomach I doubled over,”14 year old grabbed from behind thought it was her fault she was wearing a dress, never told a soul; prime examples of the importance of teaching our kids what consent and respect are related to their own bodies and that of the opposite sex, speaking up when something uncomfortable, possibly criminal happens. Is how the utterly mundane basics of earning a living in a regular job can spell sexual danger for women, 19 year old first day in an office job, she said hello to male coworker, he kissed her full on the lips, a sneaky engineer who used to rub his arm into one woman’s breast reviewing projects with her; going through, getting higher education can also mean being raped: 18 assaulted in her college dorm by guy she went on 1 date with. Not having your own transportation, your own car can translate into attacks getting out of cabs, people of all ages being rubbed up against in a sexual manner on busses, trains, subways by all ages of men, boys, child sex abuse to full on rape; particularly alarming in the era of Uber and Lyft, popularity of the ride sharing apps and service among millennials uninterested in drivers licenses, getting their own vehicles or as yet unable to afford them just starting out in their careers, battling student loan debts and basic expenses. Actual Uber drivers using it for sexual assaults, usually of teens and college students, tired or drunk individuals; while fake Uber divers using similar looking cars and knock off logos proceed to kidnap, sexually assault women throughout every major city in the country. One woman writing a blog titled ‘my disposable body’ chronicling child sex abuse and later surviving rape, being in a crowd and finding someone’s hand inside your shirt, guy exposing himself to her on a kayaking trip with friends, being looked at like she was crazy by police when reporting anything short of full blown rape visited upon her via random guys who felt perfectly free to do these things with impunity. Then there are abusers who put themselves in their respective positions seemingly to find victims; teachers, coaches, youth program mentors all ones we know about. Jerry Sandusky seems to have built Second Mile exclusively for that purpose; Dennis Hastert before he came within miles of the U.S. congress was a high school wrestling coach who took boys on mentoring trips again using his title as wrestling coach and things he told students were to help their muscles exc. as a means to abuse boys. NBC news tracking down the woman whose Twitter recount assault story involved a camp counselor who reaches into her pocket and touches her vagina during a hug. Holders of career professions paralleling the gymnastics doctor, sometimes molesting girls with their parents’ right there in the room, spouting medical sounding jargon neither party could understand. From the tweet me your first assaults initiative: “Optician fitting me for my first contact lenses “drops” one down my blouse, grabs, strokes my breast as he “saves” it. I’m 14.” “My 3rd assault was by dermatologist made me undress in his office closet. Age14.” Currently there is a backlash against so called helicopter parenting supposedly bubble wrapping our children making them totally unprepared for adulthood which they appear to be reaching later and later according to college presidents and experts; well here is why we helicopter parent, no longer let our kids go into an exam room alone, push back against them having frank, open, solo conversations even with a trusted pediatrician about typical teen sexuality and sexual health. Because, we can’t so much as drop off our kids to be fitted for contacts, be a single dad and wait in the waiting room of a dermatologists office for our daughter to come out after an acne checkup appointment without finding stories like these; so, we will be in the room. Realizing in the room or not there is no guarantee of safety for kids so we will at least be present and available ask questions, report doctors that make us our kids uncomfortable. Prior to #metoo and #It’s not ok revelations came multi-media journalistic investigations revealing doctors abusing their patients fondling, forcing patients to fondle them as they were coming out of in office procedure anesthetic; complaints against doctors treated reminiscent to accusations in the priesthood about sexual abuse of children primarily, young boys, when not largely dismissed, explained away as a confused patient coming out of sedation, innocent removal of a contact or other dropped medical equipment, device, the dermatologist undressing contorted to legitimate viewing and touching of effected areas to devise treatment, doctors were shuttled to other practices out of town, state based on the premise it’s so expensive to train a doctor. Not sure what the excuse was for the pattern of doing like musical chairs with teachers known as passing the trash easily removing problem, sexual assaulting teachers only as far as a different school district, a different state via confidentiality agreements and glowing recommendations; this blog inclined to concur with the interviewed prosecutor calling it the easy way out, calling it the quickest, most efficient solution to get rid of a dangerous teacher… At the same time encompassing conversations illuminate it isn’t just ideas on a sane, universal age of consent, 18 being the obvious choice lining up with when you can vote, when you can legally sign documents, think apartment lease, open a bank account, it’s the glaring age difference between these predators and their victims when the younger is under 21, let alone 18, sending up giant red flags….this is about pedophilia and true sexual perversion of primarily men seeking young girls, men seeking young boys. Repeating scenario with the teacher pleading guilty to active pursuing a relationship with a teen in his school, having been employed at a different school where he made proposition promises of sex when she was at the age of consent to a prior student seeking algebra tutoring (another 16 state) while she was currently merely 11, the police officer arrested in a sting operation for soliciting who he thought was a 14 year old girl unveiled to be an undercover sting to catch persons precisely like himself. Anthony Weiner sits in a jail cell not for being a congressman and posting suggestive pictures of himself online, offering himself to women who were staffers but free to say no, he sits in a jail cell because he knew the girl he was sending lewd texts to was in high school while Mr. Weiner easily well into his 40’s and knowingly violating the law to boot; once out of prison he will probably never get past, at best supervised visitation with his now young son because he knew this girl was in high school, knew he was violating the law and still proceeded to stage a pic of him in his underwear laying next to the minor child then send it to her or post it online. Patrick Meehan’s staffer according to friends and associates was decades younger than he was and here he’s upset because she dares date someone age appropriate rather than respond to his love sick affections. Discussing exclusively the underage, jaw-droppingly low ages of legal marriage aspect, it isn’t limited to how young, usually the female side of the ‘partnership’ is when coming before a judge, but completing a pattern, the age disparity between the 2 persons being married; teens and tweens as young as 12 being married off to middle aged men by parents and/or judges signing off. 100% make the age for marriage 18, her preferred 21 if we are going to say you must be 21 to drink, vote or use legalized recreational marijuana; consent being nuancedly different than marriage as Marcotte illustrates. Close in age teens can consent to sex, sexual experimentation with each other, age appropriate relationships are natural and healthy even if the couple has yet to reach 18 and no one should be jailing, more importantly slapping a pedophile, child molester, sex offender label on a teen for continuing to date his high school girlfriend, sexting dirty words or pictures to his girlfriend, forwarding a willingly given picture to friends of his latest hookup, as much as we adults don’t like it. Marriage is markedly different usually binding the younger, more vulnerable half of the union, almost always the girl, to her partner financially, cutting off her means to higher education, career opportunities above medial employment, setting herself up to be trapped if the relationship is violent, turns violent at any time over the course of the marriage. What the Nepal and related investigations into American forced marriage, child marriage highlights is that only of age adults can file for divorce, even in the case of domestic violence, battered spouses; advocacy and rescue groups’ hands tied when they receive pleas from minors wanting out of said marriages apparently because the marriage makes this teen’s ‘husband’ her legal guardian and police are relegated to treating her as a runaway thus returning her to her toxic situation. Wait we’re confused, false imprisonment laws don’t apply because the person you don’t let go anywhere, constantly stalk while they leave the house is your wife; you claim this person as your spouse, petitioned a judge and/or her parents, if not both, to marry her at such a young age, then you beat and abuse her? Domestic violence, battered spouse laws don’t apply because the marriage was to a minor in a state, city, county that legally allows it with parent and/or judge permission, you can’t thus prosecute these abusers with physical evidence of beatings, abuse under simpler assault? Because they are a minor, or since guardianship seems to be why these ‘runaways’ are returned to their abusive ‘husbands,’ in a child marriage situation, why not slap them with child abuse charges? Effective legal maneuvering ways to combat such scenarios either while educating congressional members, facets of the legal community including ruling judges or without directly attacking the no minimum ‘age a girl can marry’ legal gap in some states, the low minimum ages in others; likewise avoiding sticky religious freedom and states rights’ arguments bound to come up local citizens will really behind if the federal government tries to step in. Step 2 then is to emancipate these ‘married’ minors, since a judge signed off on thinking they were adult enough to get married in the first place, making them legally adults and able to file for divorce; also, allowing advocacy and rescue agencies to intervene uninhibited and remove them from their abuser, a marriage they never truly wanted, setting the youngest sometimes (gag) 12 up in assisted living group/home type facilities meeting their financial needs until old enough to work. Legal adult status permitting them access to their official and identity documents birth certificate, social security card, obtain copies of same, file for lost/replacement card; documents allowing them to enroll, reenroll, maintain enrollment in K-12 public school, apply to colleges and access Pell grants, scholarships and other financial aid sources when the time comes, get a job. All a clarion call for shoring up domestic violence laws, spousal abuse statutes, strengthening parameters of basic assault charges; perhaps another angle to tackle the child marriage conundrum isn’t to mandate an age, isn’t to wade into the quagmire of religion, the fundamental basis for underage marriage of teens, tweens to much older men, choosing preemptive attack from the perspective of child abuse before her husband is beating her, as it pertains to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, possible sex abuse on the part of parents who want her married so young. It should be a sweeping red flag to a judge when he sees a teen wanting to marry anyone especially over the age of 20, never mind 30, 40 and above, it should be a bigger red flag when the parents too are eager for their daughter to be married to a middle aged person… Returning to child marriage solutions under child abuse statutes, laying out cases minus consent proving how marrying her off to a man at that young an age is harmful to her development, robs her of fundamental, legally mandated education, opens her up to marital violence, in the youngest cases the physically harmful effects of having sex, penitential pregnancy, her flagging ability to emotionally, developmentally care for a child; bullet points every one used to compel states to take custody of children born to teen mothers, petition the state teen mother’s rights be terminated, a child the product of a teen mother be placed for adoption, permit adoption proceedings of a long-term care foster family, so why not here? Side note there are often what used to be thought of as dowries exchanged, monies, goods exchanged for marriage agreements like the 2009 man who literally sold his 14 year old daughter to an 18 year old bridegroom for thousands in case 100 cases of beer, and 100 cases of meat calling police when the bridegroom failed to deliver on payment. Police promptly arresting the man on the grounds you can’t sell people period, per the state of California law he could not sell a minor into the situation the arranged marriage would put her in and their consent laws said she also could not be legally married. Link below that older story is a 2016 case chronicling a mother’s sentencing for among a litany of other charges encompassing forcing her 11 year old daughter to do drugs selling her for access to sex and heroine. Why can’t we apprehend, legally punish so called parents getting up to this negligent, dangerous crap on periphery charges if it is indeed that hard to convince judges, push politicians to change legislation, bring up wanted changes for a vote; none of it should be happening to children, let’s stop it all, not one aspect. Yes a long and arduous process yet far better than the defeatist tone taken by the child marriage awareness advocate essentially throwing up her hands saying there’s nothing we can do short of, while in the process of changing marriage laws across all 50 states, establishing minimum ages, raising existing minimum ages—not true or it shouldn’t be….So if a nationwide age of consent won’t work for anything except perhaps handling the creepy child marriage problem, what would have stopped Roy Moore and mirroring individuals; moving beyond Barbara Bowman being laughed out of a lawyer’s office, listening, acting on reports of harassment, misconduct, unwanted advances/pursuits, never mind assault or rape. Roy Moore should have been stopped when repeated complaints about unwanted pursuit, constant seeking of phone numbers prompted police to school him on harassment; while he likely would have had a plausible excuse for accumulating phone numbers, today his calling a high school and being able to bring a potential ‘date’ to the phone would not happen, they should have said to him he couldn’t continue to come to the mall to leer at teen girls, start random conversations that have nothing to do with products being sold, things he wants to buy making them exceedingly uncomfortable, he couldn’t continue causing girls to flee into bathrooms, hiding from him. If he was going to continue patronizing, using the YMCA, he was going to have to confine himself to the adult sections and refrain from speaking to teenagers, in eating establishments his leering at teen wait staff and pulling teen girls’ long hair was no longer going to be tolerated; if he was going to remain in attendance at local ballgames he was going to be required to steer clear of cheerleaders or be faced with trespassing charges, dido the dance recital where he first saw he wife. Along with helping the teens achieve restraining orders and protection orders against Mr. Moore barring him from coming within X feet of them so that they could work after school/weekend jobs in peace, absent fear of what he might do or what he wanted from them. When he kept doing it, he should have been charged and jailed, put on trial, before a bench to answer for his actions, facing potential disbarment from the American bar association for his conduct; not exactly an open and shut case, but close enough…Read More

Anger At Jesse Williams’ BET Awards Speech And Outcry Over Political Comedy Betrays An Anxiety Around Discomfort— A Critique

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

To many he blew the doors off the house with said speech upon accepting a humanitarian award, applauded for taking the opportunity to make meaningful public commentary on something as impactful and profound as the devolving state of continued police brutality on minority communities, particularly the black community. Being a member of the black community, doing it as well as the Harvard graduation speech also going viral online earlier this summer, graduation speeches earning standing ovations, national recognition, and for good reason. This of course brought out the haters who thought he should be fired from his gig on Grey’s Anatomy for being anti-white, circulating a petition to that effect; basis of the petition seeming to be, had a white person said the same things about African Americans they would have been globally chastised and expediently Fed- Xed to the unemployment line, relegated to answering want ads, virtually black listed and rightly so. Especially considering the fickle nature of his profession and that one little wrong move can derail your career in Hollywood, being deemed difficult to work with or one big movie flop, one lack luster performance, suddenly no one wants you. In this case citing precedent on the Grey’s set, who could forget of course, Isiah Washington’s very public firing and removal of character Preston Burke after Washington made a homophobic slur to fellow cast member, at the time, TR Knight referring to his as faggot. Orientation of Shonda Rhimes, Grey’s Anatomy creator’s politics aside, never mind what Williams said about race and police while being ‘anti-white and anti-law enforcement’ was 99% true and needed to be said; what he said wasn’t a slur of any kind rather a frank, blistering assessment of the way things still are, an example of the work still needing to be done, how far we still have to go…Few however alighting on what the true firestorm should have been about: the redundant, unhelpful indictment of his own community taking on a new face; the hypocritical indictment of white people willing, trying to help after seeing with their own eyes videos describing, detailing what minorities have said for years, having had the scales taken form their eyes, so to speak, finally beginning to think what if that was me, my child, my sister, my brother, aunt, uncle, friend. And he repays them with that speech, after years of begging, pleading, imploring whites to find their conscience, see blacks, other ethnicities as human beings, as equals, not animals, chattel, see and acknowledge the injustices visited upon blacks by police, employers, those who should be their fellow citizens, they start to and he rewards their effort with that speech….How is it that someone did not stand up from the BET awards audience and tell him just as ‘eloquently’ where he could stick his thoughts on the ‘right’ way and the ‘wrong’ way to wear ‘black identity,’ the ‘right’ way and the ‘wrong’ way to represent ‘black’ identity,’ represent the African in African American, grabbing that award trophy away and breaking it over his obviously too thick, fame inflated head or at his feet, whichever is non-lethal while imparting the same powerful lesson. There isn’t just one way to encapsulate a culture, an ethnicity, a community, and if you have to start your commentary, your work telling whomever it is you’re endeavoring to help to look more like this, don’t do that and start doing this, you are precisely the wrong person to be receiving a humanitarian award, the wrong person to be speaking to, or on behalf of, ethnicity issues, regardless of your skin color, if your skin color matches those you’re trying to reach, make understood to the rest of the world… the problem with Jesse Williams’ speech isn’t that I have heard spoken word poetry done better, though I have; my skinny, white high school writing teacher read Sekou Sundiata’s Space to classes year after year with more great oratory befitting a single, underrepresented ethnicity, in literature or elsewhere, than any aspect of Mr. Williams’ delivery that night. Nor that there is a palpable anxiety around discomfort in our supposedly increasingly coddled culture of safe spaces; though I have no idea if that’s the core reason their named conservative targeted him or attacked comedy ‘because it was no longer fitting into the mold of almost totally white and acceptable excluding all previously fringe portions of society.’ And the reason I don’t care about either 2 items is because there is so much more to care about; the bright red bullseye problem with what Jesse Williams said in his BET acceptance speech is it’s the same old repackaging of black respectability politics that never really went away in the first place…. It smacks too much of Bill Cosby shouting down the kids who weren’t getting shot down for political reasons, but got shot for stealing pound cake when we knew it was about so much more than pound cake, Coca Cola; asking where parents crying at their child in an orange jumpsuit were at 2, 12 and 18, how they missed their child had a pistol, when he should have been asking why trained police felt it ok to shoot anyone in the back of the head for suspicion of petty crime. Knowing full well a staggering percentage encompassing those absentee, clueless parents were probably incarcerated on varying degrees of legitimate charges, virtually assassinated in the street not by thugs, bangers, gang members committing drivebys, rather by police before we knew names like Eric Garner—Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, the newest names added to the carnage since Jesse Williams decided to channel Cosby in front of a microphone trying to tell it like it is… Mr. Jell-O…Irony of a man telling kids to pull up their pants who couldn’t keep his zipped and needed to drug women to get them into bed despite his celebrity status, probably committed the far greater crime, than expecting things handed to you, sagging your pants or blaming ‘the system’ for your own failures—rape, fathering at least one child out of wedlock while bashing women for having 8 kids by 8 different fathers simultaneously amassing 20 mistresses, paying hush money to protect his stellar image was lost on all of no one… No, Jesse Williams shouldn’t be fired for his provocative poetry, neither should he be lauded for it, but like Bob Costas, Lawrence O’Donnell and Ed Shultz in late 2012 emphatically insisting if Jovan Belcher had not owned a gun, i.e. had guns not been so easy to get, he and Kasandra Perkins would still be alive, he deserves to be called out for getting it horribly wrong in crucial ways, for too quickly jumping on the bandwagon of respectability politics run by those who came before him to the same disastrous results, resorting to discussions on pound cake, sneakers, vernacular instead of the issue…Or in Williams’ case, why name brand clothes are bad for blacks and blacks alone: because slavery… How easily he dismisses for all the “Burying black people out of sight and out of mind, while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil—black gold. Ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them.” Those who happily line up to be ‘stolen from’ ‘exploited,’ who don’t see it as exploitation and shouldn’t; to make money and do well showcasing your culture all of it, the good, the bad, the ugly, the raw, real places people come from, come up from and come out of informing people and creating a good life for you and yours, fluffing the economic 11th commandment: giving your children better than you had, the 11th commandment for the impoverished: get the heck out of the projects. The ‘white’ people who work at record labels, similar venues who aren’t racist or exploitive making the same money helping back people tell their stories through their music, their clothing, their business venture, and what pray tell is wrong with that again, other than you don’t like it… . It reminds me of a white college English professor I had who told the story of her little boy also ethnically completely white (no more than 8) who liked talking in black vernacular was very free in church, things she tried to discourage him out of lest he be called a racist, accused of the same, wrong, bad form, exploitive cultural appropriation; let’s make that sit down and for good measure shut up… Jesse Williams is the type of person, at least in his identity politics, who makes people feel they aren’t black enough, loyal to the cause enough if you don’t do certain things, arrange their life a certain way, accused of cozying up too closely to oppression otherwise…deemed uneducated fools in the streets who will never reach their full potential thanks to their habits. And if this is not Jesse Williams, if this was not his message, why did he give that speech and give it that way; if I’m reading this wrong and his not touting respectability politics with a side note or 2 on other issues, then why give that speech, why the lines about brands on our bodies, why the lines about gentrifying genius, extracting dollars like oil, black gold? If it meant something else, other than telling black people the evils of money, to focus on something else, never saying what, acting like we should all be in sack cloth and ashes until such a time as what, he never clarified either, then why did it hit my ears and so many others that way, why engage the argument that way at all, why not the line about Tamir Rice and stop, giving people more to think about on top of it?Read More

Women Getting Thus Giving the Wrong Message

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

Want to make things better for everyone across all walks of life, all sections of society, all workplaces, stop blaming gender pay gap disparities on women as failed negotiators instead of the negotiation payment structure itself… stop telling women to do it like a man, engage in the same brash decision making, demanding instant gratification type results. Stop making negotiation the cornerstone of how people get paid discounting skills, tangible measurements oriented evaluation…Stop setting women in management up to fail by handing them train wrecks and expecting miracles, firing them when they can’t deliver; end making them tokens in the management hierarchy only to use them as scapegoats for something already failing before they came aboard, exactly what happened in all the women CEO cases now causing second thoughts. Read More

Who Is the Truly Entitled Generation- A Look at the Origins of the ‘Me’ Culture

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

…summing up the me culture and ‘New Left McCarthyism’ coddled, infantilized college student driven witch hunts bordering on the absurd into the neat little packages actually wanted by their generational predecessors… oh heaven forbid our young people display sensitivity enough to recognize that whole camel, hump day incident could be offensive to someone from the middle east regardless of what funny commercial they haven’t seen. Maybe if we demonstrated that level of sensitivity in assessing how we are perceived by other parts, that part of the world, they would have less reason to call is the great satan, if they didn’t believe we were all MTV, Girls Gone Wild; understood is, reasoning with extremists is as bad as people think using logic on millennials is, but why give them justifiable ammunition….Addressing broader comedy issues popping up on college campuses…the hallmark of their non-coddled, non-selfish, bigger ambition for a better beyond themselves stance, “These young people have decided that some subjects—among them rape and race—are so serious that they shouldn’t be fodder for comics. They want a world that’s less cruel; they want to play a game that isn’t rigged in favor of the powerful. And it’s their student-activities money…” Shouldn’t that be what we all want….The loudest whiners have a lot of nerve yammering about who wants to be coddled when it’s secretly them not their kids… Read More

Hey Don Lemmon Did You Go to the Todd Akin School of Sex Ed.?

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

…hey Don instead of rallying behind Cosby in the pull up your pants debate someone should have been telling him to keep his on and zipped then he could talk to the rest of us about our deplorable fashion choices. Read More