It’s one of those things that looks good on paper but turns out disastrous in practice here’s why…
In light of what took place in Alabama, the revelations about Roy Moore and laws in that state seeming to enable the former state Supreme Court judge now former U.S. senate candidate during his prolonged predation of teenagers when he was in his 30’s, one nationwide, uniform age of consent is a tempting solution to gravitate toward understanding the age of consent throughout the southern state was 16 over the 1970’s, 1980’s era and still is to present day. Piled atop the #metoo movement, famous actors who got their start as children very open and honest about the sexual abuse danger for children working in the industry, think statements by Corey Feldman, Elijah Wood; more coming forward specifically under the #metoo banner, putting a glaringly different spotlight on just how many famous actors, directors, comedians are guilty of sexual misconduct on some level. Shaking many Americans to their core, how pervasive sexually inappropriate behavior is in the workplace, any workplace well beyond Hollywood’s spotlight, reputation for debauchery and depravity even sidestepping stereotypical tropes we know; sleeping with your boss, the office romance turned horrible breakup gone wrong spreading to unwanted, out of the blue sexual advances, contact across every career profession imaginable. TV news anchors, reporters, celebrity chefs, opera conductors, politicians to judges, who have been credibly accused of a gambit of inappropriate sexual behavior from harassment and oversexualized, unprofessional comments, to groping, forced kissing, touching, ratcheting all the way up to actual rape. Women who aren’t safe no matter their banal, boring workplace leagues from Hollywood or television either one; an older female professional describing leaning over a display on a desk to adjust something on said display only to turn around to find a guy pretending to perform a sex act, everyone else in the room, also male laughing; examples of other decidedly lower rungs on the employment market spectrum nod their heads yes, probably thinking it’s about time the elite/fortunately employed noticed. On one hand viewing adjacent exposés on child marriage both abroad and right here in America, while watching in horrified awe residents of Alabama and across the country support Roy Moore; backing explained as the allegations being a liberal democrat hoax, the women are being paid, to their reputations were questionable before they spoke out, because there were no charges filed innocent until proven guilty, that’s simply the way things were back then and not now. Focus group members whose grandparents were married in their teens, echoed parent attitude picked up in some of the Washington Post reporting appearing accurate, parents during those decades thrilled their daughters had garnered the attentions of an assistant DA, another woman dated an older man seeing little wrong with it factoring time period, adding they’d all likely as women been sexually harassed seeming to treat it with a shoulder shrug. A particular member thought because clothes were still on and it didn’t go beyond touching or kissing, graduate to actual rape, sure to make clear she didn’t believe Leigh Corfman anyway, and the moment they said they were uncomfortable he stopped, took her home both were to blame. Standing independently from the allegations against Moore, something political pundits are familiar with, tribalism; voting for him not because they like him, but owing to he is the republican available, tangible dislike for his opponent due to his democratic affiliation. Under that context it appears the right question to ask, curious why it wasn’t already implemented; or, rather how such a staggering low age of consent was adopted along with a low drinking age (19 not raised back to the national standard until 1986), remaining steadfastly in place through the modern era even for Alabama, the collective stereotypes that implies amplified by the focus group footage. FLDS cults are seized upon for precisely the kinds of things she (Salon’s author) wants to wholesale nationwide prevent, not their polygamy; but, marrying children off to middle aged men, the sexual child abuse next occurring directly justified by their ‘married’ status. Alcohol children are plied with during rituals including said abuse; false imprisonment when mothers of daughters don‘t want them to go through that thus desire to leave, taking their children with them and are locked away. Or, they can leave however; the children have to stay or risk a custody battle, where both parents could lose the child/children because their biological father is on the property and has a say in his child’s upbringing. Police then face next to insurmountable difficulty removing such children due to heavily populated FLDS and related belief system states passing ordnances of protection under their religious freedom. Teens who don’t want it and try to leave only to be threatened with bodily harm, threats leveled against parents, siblings then have their ‘marriage’ sped up; recognized both in their enclave and the lager community, or living in total isolation meaning no one knows. So considering leaders like Warren Jeffs are in jail and courts partially recognize the difference between him and the Browns of Sister Wives fame; living in the modern era, not cut off from technology, wearing up to date clothing, school age children enrolled in public school, women allowed to work, daughters encouraged in their careers, going to college, holding jobs, and none of the sexually abusive, exploitive elements. Allowing them to at least live as one whole family unit, why is Alabama a giant, shamefully obvious outlier to normalcy in something as important as consent; and, what do we effectively do about it? 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. Most prevalent, fear they won’t be believed, the shame produced as an organic response to this type of abuse, as children fear if they tell they will be in some kind of trouble, particularly if their parents told them not to go somewhere, told them they were too young to go somewhere alone, fear of getting a loved mentor in trouble. Concurrently being layman’s familiar criminal analysis, psychological profiling allows us to understand predators are expert manipulators instinctively going for the isolated, vulnerable, alone, marginalized, neglected, problem children, those with behavior or mental health problems; parameters often crossing over to abuses visited on grown men, women. Defaulting to threats they will kill them or members of their family if they alert others to the abuse; at the same time projecting a persona of at minimum well liked community leader, coach, beloved teacher forget star status. Teacher and coach elements using being in love, romance as way to normalize what is happening, male on male predators talking about ways boys can show love and affection, couched as admiration, hero worship, for their mentors, calling it special just between them; easier still if either happen to be gay, the predator can pretend to be gay to engender the trust of his victim. Offer to show the younger man the plethora of things he doesn’t know how to do being an inexperienced gay person; offer to give him his first, most wonderful homosexual experience, turning out to be anything but wonderful. Remembering regardless the age of consent, Roy Moore couldn’t wait for it (16) when targeted Leigh Corfman, already a child of a recently divorced, broken home, describing herself then as slightly lost and confused; convincing her to meet him, took her to his house, gave her alcohol and by her second trip there undressed her nearly naked touching her, guiding her to touch him at 14. Calculating she wouldn’t tell thanks to a predictably strained relationship with her mother, missing her father and him filling that void, fearing she would be blamed, pick your choice of social mores silencer; how these, predators, and make no mistake that’s what they are, think. He took 18 year old Gloria Thacker Deason on a ‘date’ that included Mateus Rosé wine, though he would have only had to wait another year, possibly only a few months depending on her birthdate, to give her wine legally; virtually knowing she wouldn’t tell about the alcohol not least because she would get in trouble too, likewise flattered by his attention, excited he thought her grown up enough, elated by how grown up it made her feel. More importantly Moore’s behavior was an open secret even towns over from Gadsden, everyone mall workers to the police knew Roy Moore had to be watched; workers at the mall told to let them know if he was seen, received complaints from the local YMCA about making girls there uncomfortable, were told to watch him at local basketball/sports games lest he hit on the cheerleaders. Predatory behavior graduating on to adult women in the relentless pursuit of Becky Gray, predators experts at going after the unseen, forgotten and unwanted people in society; prefect description of a woman signing over custody of her son to her mother facilitating the butt grabbing of Tina Johnson when Moore was an attorney, the latter after he was married. Bill Cosby, operating shortly before Moore began his predation in Alabama, used a combination of things including his TV persona as Dr. Huxtable and America’s dad to fool parents into allowing him around their daughters were they otherwise wouldn’t, used the cultural innocence of especially young women to manipulate them into sexual acts, holding their aspiring and existing careers over their heads. And we know, when all else failed, stooped to drugging his targets, passing off the pills he plied them with as aspirin, Midol, herbal remedies for ailments from the flu to anxiety; when he told them at all, many times opting to simply drop it in her drink sans her knowledge, giving them to addicts where it would be categorized common relapse. Nassar too implementing drugs on at least one victim, McKayla Maroney, giving her a sleeping pill for a long flight to get to Tokyo; her next waking up alone in his hotel room receiving what he called ‘treatment’, AKA another round of abuse. Public now made aware of the network of spies, prior foreign security agents, private detectives hired by Harvey Weinstein to discredit victims’ stories and shield him from prosecution; a step op from the gaggle of security guards, assistants who did the same for Cosby supplying everything from intimidation to hush money payments, potential child support fees elaborate efforts to protect his squeaky clean image. Story followers left to ponder if the double digit number of willing mistresses he also had, detailed through pages of his biography, Cosby known in certain circles to be a serial philanderer, bought for their silence, was a cover for all the drugged sexual encounters, undeniable rapes he engaged in. The tragic story of Autumn Jackson who for threatening to tell the world the truth she believed, had been passed down by her mother, that Bill Cosby was indeed her father; she was charged and subsequently convicted of extortion now understood to be possible if not plausible. Regardless of the additional women phoning Jackson’s public defender detailing their encounters with him easily substituted for Shawn Brown, Jackson’s mother, Jurors a New York Post author called slobbering fans, sticking by him; ignoring he admitted to the affair and paying the duo $100,000 over several years, during her trial. Even if found a lie, since no DNA test was done, DNA testing itself in it’s infancy in 1997, it doesn’t change her belief in the statement, yet she served jail time for floating merely the idea of telling her story to a tabloid; when what she truthfully wanted was an acknowledgement and relationship with the man she thought was her dad, him to see the children she thinks are his grandsons. That journalist’s son was already 18 when encountering Spacey, and though he lied about his age saying he was legally old enough to drink, running game as smooth as a film scene this time straight from the predators’ play book, the actor still got him on the edge of falling down drunk before shoving his hands down his pants; and, would have done more if a concerned citizen hadn’t seen the distraught, shocked teen telling him to run while Spacey was taking a trip to the bathroom. Spacey who purposefully on his latest job, the House of Cards set, and probably every job once achieving his powerful star status, chose to harass, pursue and bother the lowest young men on the totem pole, film crew; members of said crew saying themselves who’s going to believe film crew, fearing losing their jobs, in an industry where success is built almost exclusively by reputation even among technical staff, where the last thing you want to be pegged as is a problem, difficult to work with, keeping their mouths firmly closed. Things that have nothing to do with the age of consent engaging other parts of the penal code first; plus, owing to predators don’t, possess no interest in, following the rules, opting for finding ways to hide the fact they are breaking the rules, in these serious cases, the law. Roy Moore and his similarly abusing cohorts weren’t able to get away with what he did solely because of the state’s low age of consent rather other, too often recurring small town gaps, in enforcement of the law, a host of willing almost enablers whose thirst for power, recognition override morality or legality. Relevant or vastly ignorant cultural misunderstandings, prevalent even to 21st century today; unless fixed, that can’t feasibly be fixed with laws/legislation, will perpetuate allowing the predation of young people, women and an increasing number of men.
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. Consequences independent both the ‘victim,’ a label they disagree with, and her mother, telling the court she lied about her age, both of them didn’t want the severity of charges and judge ordered verdict restrictions placed on Anderson; judge concurrently ignoring a diversion, juvenile adjudication program for young, first time sex offenders found guilty of offenses identically matching his. Anderson’s family spending months and thousands of dollars on legal fees, a petition for his case to be reheard under the juvenile diversion available, a place for him to live, since he could no longer reside at home, before a different judge finally gave him the diversion program he should have had all along. If charged at all seeing as the girl was willing, did lie, admitting to doing so; striking him from the sex offender registry and removing the technology restrictions for school, but not forging for one second lecturing him about the bad thing he had done. Again sans any admonishment for the young woman for what she had done to another person’s life, sans so much as the suggestion that mother get her daughter some help, step up her parenting/monitoring of what her child was doing particularly online. Compounding the problem, the presiding judge in Zach’s original case didn’t necessary base his ruling on the law, rather his personal beliefs; engaging in a long winded rant during his rendering of judgement voicing his extreme disdain for hook up culture, excerpt as follows: “you went online, to use a fisherman’s expression trolling for women, to meet and have sex with. That seems to be part of our culture now. Meet, hook up, have sex, sayonara. Totally inappropriate behavior.” Leaving morning show legal analysts saying you can’t do that, base your ruling on your interpretations of what the culture should be rather than depending exclusively on the law. Same year (2015) saw 6 Massachusetts teens actually charged with felonies there over a sexting photo and dubious claims of alleged blackmail; 100 students in Colorado suspended from school over passing around sexting pictures of classmates “like trading cards,” some facing possible felonies. In New York select students were suspended for merely receiving sexting pictures on their phones; thankfully the police only targeted the 2 14 year old boys who began the photo’s dissemination, still up against antiquated felony statutes. But the take the cake story had to be North Carolina that charged a high school football player as an adult over sexting pictures exchanged exclusively between him and his girlfriend; again going easily on her thanks to both a plea deal and confusing laws in the tar heel state considering 16 year olds able to be defendants in terms of serious crimes and simultaneously victims in terms of exploitation, specifically sexual exploitation. Translation she received charges on 2 counts of exploitation of a minor, presented a deal resulting in charges dropped, while her boyfriend was charged on 5 counts exploitation, 4 of which were explicit photos he took of himself! The other count was connected to a lone photo of his girlfriend; each teen charged for, get this, exploiting themselves something CBS’ legal analyst called, and rightly so, preposterous. You know it’s bad when a television network’s legal analyst has to read reporting on the case nearly a half a dozen times to understand why the named young people are being charge, let alone what they are being charged with. How about the Arizona high school kid (2016) initially facing 70 charges related to exposing himself in a football team picture for his school’s year book, originally put on an ankle monitor due to the nature of the charges booked against him; that ultimately not happening but it certainly could if prosecutors chose to apply utterly archaic laws on the books they also have no incentive to remove. 2017 not without its sexting scandals featuring teens, 2 Nebraska middle school students awaiting investigation and word on whether or not they’ll be charged as of September story airing after a 13 year old girl sent nude photos to a 13 year old boy who sent it to 5 classmates. A Kentucky case investigated following a student complaint about numerous nude photos being circulated throughout the school where officers told local reporters they had no intent to charge the kids opting to arrange talks with the school’s student body; utter insanity in light of a band director fired and arrested for a relationship with a 16 year old student 4 years earlier. But once more they could have, doubtlessly will in select areas if local legislatures, ballot measures get their way and the wind is blowing in that direction, as it has been for years. Dispelling Marcotte’s pipe dream strengthening, standardizing these laws coupled with banning marriage before at least 18, her preference 21, would push religious conservatives to allow teens not only their age appropriate, sexually active relationships reaching a step farther to giving them unfettered access to contraception and abortion. Immediate response, lady who are you kidding; while the gay Christian movement is a thing, more churches are accepting of LGBT members, active clergy (relevant points to issues raised later in the paragraph), religious folks will never give up their stranglehold on the moral high ground of teen, premarital sex (that’s 3 strikes you’re out). Even if it perpetuates the marry your ‘baby-daddy’ or else marriage rules that end up masking child abuse done by people like Roy Moore and worse, those who’ve succeeded in impregnating their victim. Despite studies on teen sexuality, the phenomenon of sexting and what it really means among those teens— that its everything from A- routinely within the confines of a romantic relationship, B- a precursor to sex meaning they are serious about the person, others find the less explicit ones (remembering sexing covers a wide range of pics, not all nude, includes ‘pornographic’ language) fun and flirty, some are responding to pictures they were sent. Definitively not the portrait of a would be dangerous pedophile charges leveled against them suggest; psychologists boiling it down to they do it because they can, like dozens of other risky teen behaviors parents, mentors, society wishes they wouldn’t do, we know. 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. Why incarcerated individuals frequently prefer to serve out the entirety of their sentence than be placed on probation or parole, because the laundry list of restrictions, prohibitions, check-in’s curfews and arbitrary rules laid down by parole officers, huge swaths of which are that their lone discretion, make life untenable. Current case in point Meek Mill, at 19 convicted on an illegal weapons charge, given probation, has spent the interviewing years demonstrating he’s not a career criminal, was scared straight by his experience with the justice system since making and selling music, opening a business and being a model citizen; but, because of asinine probation violations regarding an unsubstantiated fight and literally, this blog kids you not, popping dirt bike wheelies Mill faces going back to prison for longer than his original sentence. Substantiating what Anderson’s father said about his son, fully aware of his missteps, what others would peg profoundly stupid behavior, saying they don’t want to let him go, implying once the system has you, it’s reluctant to turn you loose; Anderson because they genuinely believe him a sexual risk to teens, Mill because he’s young, black, fits the picture of a thug in their minds. Indiana home of vice president, once governor, Mike Pence whose state justice system persecuted the case of Purvi Patel an Indian American who had a miscarriage then was charged with feticide and neglect of a dependent after an anti-choice doctor called police and her fetus was found in a nearby dumpster, forgetting there was no abortifacient in her system; initially convicted on both crimes and sentenced to 20 years. Feticide charge dropped on appropriate appeals, neglect charge and sentence greatly reduced owing to the appeal judge finding the state proved their case on Patel knowing her baby was alive, not stillborn according to Salon, “despite the fact that Patel’s attorneys challenged the use of the controversial, and historically discredited, “lung float test” that prosecutors used to argue the infant was not stillborn.” Mike Pence’s Indiana where he voted to defund Planned Parenthood, signing a law preventing women seeking abortions of babies based on sex, race, disability and holding doctors liable if found performing abortions for any listed reason, prompting Salon to say the following, “These laws are targeted against women of color and result in mistrust and fear of the medical community. Purvi Patel expressed just this kind of fear and anxiety about going to the doctor, in numerous text exchanges with her friend, when she learned that she might be pregnant… It is this anti-science and anti-choice climate that has contributed to Purvi Patel’s terrible journey. Patel was working at her parent’s store in Mishawaka, Indiana when she learned she might be pregnant. Instead of feeling safe and supported enough to turn to a medical professional who could talk with her about her options, make sure she understood them, and provider her compassionate reproductive health care, she worried about what would happen if she went to the doctor. She worried what would happen to her if her parents found out. She turned to the internet and friends for information. And then, when she arrived at the hospital in distress, she was treated like a criminal, not a patient.” And we want more young people subjected to this when 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. Tennessee doing the same there earlier in the year; in their minds striking a compromise between laws targeting adults genuinely exploiting children and teens doing something stupid, sending a message it’s not ok. Cases exhibited here and dozens more besides spelling that school to prison pipeline criminal justice reformers keep mentioning; like Indie Music’s author said when she first reported on instances such as Phillip Alpert’s manufacturing criminals, when most of the negative consequences associated with sexting directly stem from bullying and body shamming from fellow classmates, viewers of the video/photos. Are engineered by adults in terms of legal woes, suspensions colleges then ask about, rejecting the applicant after hearing the phrase ‘for child pornography;’ incidents where the photo ends up on the whole internet seen by college admissions or employers, rejected over pics time and time again years upon years old. Pushing for a national age of consent would only multiply such stories seeing as the isolated half of the laws she’s proposing adults are really going to care about is the age of consent=18 part, not the leaving sexually willing and naturally/normally exploring teens alone part; Romeo and Juliet caveats exempting relationships between teens only 3-4 years in age difference discarded for simplicity. Granting greater license for, especially local, law enforcement to escalate bothering and harassment of teens, intensifying teen arrests for underage sexual activity among themselves, strengthening a tool for overly dramatic parents seeking to file court charges alleging sexual assault/rape of their child insisting they were taken advantage of by the ‘bad influence’ boy or girl in the interest of saving, usually her, reputation. It places one more target on the backs of the LGBT community under magnified assault after bathroom bill dust ups, Indiana’s religious freedom restoration act and profound uncertainty heralding the Trump administration, the president’s transgender military ban tweets, rollbacks of protections by the justice department, the supreme court slated to hear another bakery, same sex wedding cake discrimination case, forming a trend, again in Colorado. Scenario ripe to bring back so called sodomy, crimes against nature laws targeting teens originally because of language in state laws saying it didn’t apply to minors as well as narrow definitions of rape not specifying what to do about non-traditional forms of sex leading to stories mirroring the proceeding from 2011. “Being forced to register as a sex offender can have devastating, life-long consequences for those who are charged under “crime against nature” laws. Ian Doe, a Louisiana resident who was kicked out of his house at age 13 for being gay and turned to sex work in order to survive, explained how being labeled a sex offender has undermined his ability to find a job and secure medical care DOE: And because of this charge, I can’t get a decent job now. I can’t do anything because of the charge … I’ve been everywhere trying to get employment. I’ve been — the minute they find out that I’m a sex offender or I’m a registered sex offender, they tell me “no thank you” or they’ll call me back or they’ll get back with me, and they never do. … I don’t believe that I deserve this kind of — this kind of punishment. I did four years in prison for this. While I was in prison for this crime, for this crime that I didn’t even do that –all I said was “fifty dollars,” and they put me away for four years. And while I was in there, I was raped by an officer, a federal officer of the law that worked at the prison who was dealt with. I also was infected with HIV. I go into prison, and I get infected, and while — and now I’m out here dealing with my health. I’m dealing with trying to get a job. … I don’t believe I deserve to be punished like this. I believe that this should be changed for many reasons. But for one, we don’t deserve this. I mean, it’s because all the lack of a judgment of one police officer to do something, so if he wants to put a prostitution charge or if he wants to put a “crimes against nature” charge on you. There’s no crime committed.” Extrapolating beyond anything that should be criminal, would normally not be considered criminal 2 heterosexual people found fogging up the windows: they are told to go home, 2 homosexual people fogging up the windows: arrested, humiliated before a lawyer can get charges dropped; applying it to teens, 2 teens found fogging up windows, having sex it’ll be prove you’re 18, can’t, one of you isn’t bring out the cuffs, one of you is underage and engaged in ‘unnatural’ sex, sex acts bring on not just handcuffs, but a double blow of additional legal jeopardy. Is a national age of consent worth that Ms. Marcotte, most teens and parents, not to mention LGBT individuals would say no? Bigger question to staunch supporters of current law: which constitutes the elevated danger level, these high school sexting students, our yearbook prankster or long ago fully grown adults i.e. Missouri governor Eric Greitens? Segregating momentarily the extramarital affair and its hypocrisy coming via the family values party, that section’s irrelevance for our topic purposes, he also stands accused of tying his mistress up in his basement, snapping a photo, then proceeding to blackmail her with it to ensure her silence; most would deem that the larger threat, wouldn’t you? Who represents the bigger exploitation of gaps in the law, larger misuse of technology to harm someone, proof of an actual crime, the depicted teens or Greitens now being called on to step down by state members of his party; perhaps the congressman, Joe Barton, possible victim of revenge porn when the women he had a sexual relationship with, during a separation between him and his wife, posted a nude selfie of him and explicit texts sent to her. What were you doing old, fat, and gray headed with a nude photo of self; don’t you know better, shouldn’t you practice what we know you would preach to young people? Plainly needed instead of a national age of consent law is one that says sexting is not a crime, does not fit the criteria for exploitation, child pornography or misdemeanor legal charges unless it can be proven the person was forced, coerced, manipulated or threated into writing sexting language, taking sexing photos/video, photo or video was taken without their permission, knowledge. Head on addressing the Salon.com authors concerns, federal level law putting in clear language dating someone up to 5 years older or younger than yourself is not a crime, no prosecution shall occur solely on the mathematical cut offs by birthdates a few days or a few months over that line; that’s what must take place.
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. Teen mall workers regularly crossing paths with the Alabama DA, or assistant DA to be exact, were constantly saying no to his relentless advances, refusing him phone numbers, making up excuses about being in a relationship whether it was true or not, playing up strict parents, parent professions (a preacher), hiding from him in bathrooms or agreeing to go on dates with him just to shut him up, hoping he would get it out of his system and leave them alone. Of age store managers, only around 18 themselves, advising younger staff to be elsewhere when he came around, helping them hide, stay out of sight, out of his grasp. Things were so bad store workers, majority female, knew and were advised by coworkers not to make eye contact lest he take it as interest, an invitation, encouragement to continue his, let’s call it what it is, harassment; going a step past that, would draw straws as to who had to go down to the local government building, where they knew he would be, and drop off receipts, deal with bounced checks, certainly not a consensual environment. 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. There was no permission asked, by so much as body language, reading mutual attraction, turn on or interest when Kevin Spacey walked authoritatively into a bar barely said hello to the man on the next stool before grabbing his crotch hard enough he had to be in physical pain saying in his ear “this designates ownership;” neither party in the type of bar where it’s understood people come there to experience such aggressiveness, kink, fetish or other unusual sexual encounters. 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. Take now ‘retired’ congressmen Blake Farenthold originally known to the news media for doing a fundraiser in a onesie, a lingering reputation for drinking in excess and the sexually harassing comments made to a staffer he had sexual fantasies about all the way up to “wet dreams;” after rebuffing his widely inappropriate advances she alleged improper firing, hints the lawsuit also depicting a toxic work environment where fellow male staff were encouraged to make sexually charged comments and other female aides talked about his muted reactions to her wearing dubiously appropriate clothing for the office. Then it was sexist comments about dueling women if they were men related to some legislative battle, resurfacing in the media when, as part of the #metoo movement, it was exposed there is a congressional shush fund for paying out harassment settlements; Farenthold reportedly using $84,000 taxpayer dollars to pay the settlement to Ms. Lauren Greene. It wasn’t that congressman Trent Franks approached not 1 but 2 of his staff members about surrogacy for him and his wife to have another child; A- it was more like do me so you can have my baby, only phrased much cruder than this blog is going to articulate without using a direct quote from an offensive person. B-a totally inappropriate ask in such a disgusting manner considering the boss subordinate power dynamic in play, their jobs hanging in the balance. Same MO for governor Greitens who used his power as a public political figure to blackmail a woman over their consensual extramarital relationship ratcheting up the creepy factor serval notches with the blindfold in the basement stuff. Hot off the presses, once domestic violence crusader Pat Meehan has been accused of sexual harassment visited upon a staffer who viewed him as a father figure; becoming increasingly upset when she got involved in a serious relationship and escalating his hostility when she did not reciprocate his romantic overtures voiced and provided in a written letter. Leading the staffer to utilize the complaint process, work from home, then leave the job; majority of settlement money handed over to lawyers for her legal fees. Basic tips on workplace function 101, forget LGBT sensitivity, concepts too often labeled the wussification of America, you don’t out someone’s LGBT status to the office, to the board, to coworkers, let alone subordinates, even if you think you know it, because you could have heard wrong, be misreading so called cues, to say nothing of it’s none of your business, what Ellen Page credibly says Brett Ratner did to her; it doesn’t matter that your workplace is a movie set it still mandates a level of professionalism. Professionalism there are no indication Page lacked, failed to demonstrate for you, nor that she kept dropping hints as to her sexuality and you said it, made sure everyone could hear it to ‘put it out there’ unto the purpose of getting back to work, getting back to the task at hand, filming a movie. Unfortunately vocalized it seems to mock, poke fun at or humiliate Page about her sexuality, perhaps force her to be peppered with questions, comments she may or may not have been ready to answer, knowing what a delicate topic it is. Bringing us to the sticky conversations about workplace culture because, tied to what #metoo has brought to light about known names and the abuses they unleashed are recurring immovable questions about how it happened, how these, granted celebrities, were able to get away with it, keep it to the realm of merely rumor without anyone finding the true behind them; comprehension people had to know, thus who knew what and when, how much did any one person know at a time? What do we mean, leaving off the body guards, employees, lawyers, accountants of entertainers like Bill Cosby physically writing the checks to women, girls ‘for good grades in school,’ providing the intimidation to compel women into silence, completely separate from the investigators, spies and security personnel employed by Mr. Weinstein; there’s whose drafting employment contracts like those implemented by Harvey Weinstein’s company attempting to curb his sexually out of control ways. Laying out monetary value fines for varying levels of sexual harassment, assault yet never raising an eyebrow, standing up saying what he’s doing is illegal, for which he should go to jail his a predator; persons at his company who never found that strange. There are also the legions of maybe witting, maybe unwitting enablers who helped facilitate its happening and however inadvertently clean it up afterwards; the production assistants, set assistants, personal assistants, secretaries, receptionists leading women and girls, surely in some instances young men in and out of ‘meetings,’ conditioned to think nothing of informing persons looking for Harvey Weinstein he was in his hotel room; Russell Simmons invited a singer to his house where he also had a recording studio to do some aspect of work, where she asserts he raped her with famed director Brett Ratner looking on. Willfully looking the other way when disheveled, distraught streams of women doubtlessly came flying out of their rooms, apartments, fleeing ritzy hotels in haste; comprehending their behavior was largely an open secret throughout their industry, the backbone of professional scuttlebutt surrounding said person(s). Matt Lauer not only had a reputation as a philanderer who would have sex with anything that walked, known for lewd comments verbally and over text message, once gave a colleague a sex toy as a Christmas present and once summoned someone else to his office then dropped his plants; another woman details her summons turning into sexual assault where she passed out with her pants half way down, later waking up on the floor Lauer having an assistant take her to a nurse, for magazine features outing Lauer illegal sexscapades. But was an expert at making women feel their jobs were on the line, management turning a giant deaf ear to said complaints more interested in advertising dollars he could bring in; Ann Curry merely the latest talking about some aspect of sexual harassment, this time the pervasiveness of verbal sexual harassment at NBC, Katie Couric in 2012 remarking Lauer “pinches me on the ass a lot.” Coming back around full circle to the everybody who knew and the nothing that was done to remove Lauer, appearing to blow off his behaviors since he also had a button installed in his office allowing him to lock the door while sitting down; who signed off on the install, who actually put it in, why did they agree to do so surely knowing almost certainly what it was for or at least possessing an inkling of what it could be used for? The more victim impact statements we hear pertaining to former gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar the more implicated U.S. gymnastics the organization, USOC and MSU appear to be in the victimization of young girls; including the training camp ran by famed coach Béla Károlyi where contending Olympians’ every move was controlled when they ate, slept, how they trained, not really allowed to talk to each other. Where Nassar set about grooming his victims giving them food when their coaches didn’t want them to have it, framing himself as a ‘good guy, trusted person’ later bating a trap when ‘treatments’ doled out by Nassar became mandatory by his power over implementation and influence of ‘policy;’ gymnasts who complained they didn’t want treatments from him specifically weren’t further questioned to get to the bottom of why, on the contrary treated like spoiled brats, not hard to imagine threatened with termination of their spot or training. Local journalistic reporting finding again the pattern of people who knew; 14 Michigan State employees made aware over 20 years, the school still maintaining ignorance until much later. 20 years ago being the late 90’s meaning no one was that oblivious fueling the anger of people like Aly Raisman poignantly asking what kind of culture USA gymnastics created cowering these girls into silence. Mounting atop horrific stories about the underbelly of the sport, no one asked serious questions about why the Károlyi ranch was so isolated a gravely injured person would have to be helicoptered to the nearest hospital miles upon miles away, the nearest civilization according to impact testimony describing their ranch as the perfect place for abusers and predators, was a prison 30 miles away? Parents, others in these children’s lives outside gymnastics teachers, family friends, if not mom and dad didn’t question why, seeing as their dream was the Olympics they were terrified of their coaches; it didn’t raise alarm bells the Károlyi ranch mimicked more a concentration camp than a sports training camp of any kind? Nassar was able to endear himself to gymnasts with food rather than coaches, including Károlyi’s providing a varied, balanced diet to prevent something else one speaker talked about experiencing, an eating disorder; parents didn’t react oddly, question when gymnasts who made mistakes at matches, under pressure at the Olympics weren’t allowed to hug them until getting back to the states? The fellow trainers didn’t notice Larry Nassar’s abuse when statements convey their confusion about what he was doing, why they felt so bad about it if he was doing it in front of their friends; those trainers in a large room with couch, TV and treatment tables behind it, concluding they were the problem? Maybe it’s time we ditched the political rhetoric of immigrants taking all our jobs, the generational rhetoric about millennials and their entitlement, their ‘abysmal work ethic,’ what they have done to 21st century work environments; taking difficult stock of the existing workplaces and the horror it is to work there, predominately for women but not excluding especially young, attractive men perceived to be gay or bi-sexual. Talking well beyond gender pay gaps put down to poor negotiation and showcasing a total lack of safety for women from literal sexual predation; whether that’s the Today Show, House of Cards, your sexual orientation not being safe in the professional space of a movie set, not because you were caught physically doing something sexual with your same-sex co-star, fellow actor, but the director wants to make fun of you as an LGBT person. Larry Nassar, citing impact statements, was under investigation by the FBI for 2 years still treating teens at both MSU and welcomed with open arms at the Károlyi ranch; ‘treating’ teens there, no warning to gymnasts, their parents. Showing a clear progression from court cases ruling you can be blamed for your bosses’ infidelity, marriage problems and fired for it, based exclusively on how attractive he believes you look; Iowa’s state supreme court upholding that decision in 2012. In 2010 a bank teller filing a lawsuit alleging she was fired for dressing too sexy though she was popular with customs and brought business to the national bank conglomerate chain; one in a series of firings up to present day for things that have nothing to do with job performance, representing yet another facet under abuse of power. On the other hand there lies the victim blaming, reverse body shaming punishing women for their good looks, perceived health; Twitter erupted circa 2015 over selfies posted by a teacher asserting her dress was too tight for her 4th grade classroom, though local school administrators and parents had no problem with the teacher’s behavior or abilities to educate their children. And Inside Edition aired a story about one pro golfer’s tendency towards tight tops and short skirts would violate the newly instituted dress code; ignoring the tennis dust up less about the sexiness of uniforms and more about only women being asked to twirl at the Australian open, men not pressured to flex their muscles or women at Wimbledon complaining about Nike’s short skirts hampering their ability to play without giving spectators a view of their underwear. Proving you can’t you rule book your way out of sexual harassment in the workplace, in professional settings by coming down hard on what women are wearing, nor was the lack of material, skimpiness of gymnastic leotards the reason for Larry Nassar’s abuse. It’s about the difference between wanted and unwanted sexual attention, men being expected to control themselves, their actions; the profound difference between appropriate and inappropriate sexual behavior, whether that’s asking a coworker out versus abusing power against a subordinate to garner sex from them or sexual contact with children being rightly immoral and off limits not least of which calculating the lasting harm it does to them.
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. Conforming to an all too familiar pattern seen over the years in abuse cases, Mike McQueary knew, testified in court about what he physically witnessed, with his own eyes, Jerry Sandusky do, no amount of interpretation able to wash away the raw, overtly sexual nature of what he was doing to a teen/tween boy, people remember Dennis Hastert’s recliner in front of the boys shower, that a little more complicated to understand. No one wanted to believe passing the trash exposé students about the profiled 4th grade teacher, denials reaching all the way up to the principal going so far as to reprimand the class for making things up; mirroring another accusation of touching years ago, revealed as part of #tweet me your first assaults, student on student in elementary school, she slugs the offending boy who flipped up her skirt, male teacher tells her not to make things up. Principal in the passing the trash story parroting almost verbatim what one coach at MSU said “oh he’s my friend, I’ve known him for years, he would never do that.” Every year news reports expose a new cadre of teachers accused of sexual related conduct with students, seeking inappropriate relationships, setting up means to film, photograph student bathrooms, locker rooms; 2017/beginning 2018 no exception. Housing minimum 2 instances of bus aides molesting preschoolers, 2 occurrences of inappropriate pictures one set captured on a teachers cellphone hidden in the girls bathroom soap dish sent to his classroom computer, the other taken on a school issued i-pad, 3rd case combination of coerced nude pics from the student and molestation. A teacher’s aide leaving irrefutable evidence of his crime behind in the form of an STD; linked stories thoroughly investigated, leading to arrests, charges and court dates as they should, and these are just the ones found with a surface google/YouTube search. Using a consistent back of tricks as the 20/20 passing the trash story, brazen teachers who will molest kids while sitting in the desk next to them, in the middle of class; what administrators and the public stubbornly fail to grasp is these individuals get their job specifically to indulge their fantasies, supply satiation of their urges, requirements for bus aides in particular along with teachers’ aides and assistants minimal apart from a clean record and marginal facility with managing kids. Examining the collegiate arena, compartmentalizing the vast rapes on campus poorly handled, are the student professor relationships where technically the student is 18, of age, legally capable of consent, but carrying key factors found in the boss subordinate power dynamic where students may feel obligated to comply fearing ending of their tutoring allowing them to pass a difficult class, fear being flunked if they spurn their advances or break off a relationship that doesn’t feel right, suddenly involves sex. Refuse to come forward fearing being thrown out of school, if it’s a teacher directly associated with their major, a department head or chair for their desired area of study complicating issues to another level; things pure age of consent legislation won’t fix, however, legal statutes on workplace behavior for teachers in colligate, higher education venues would. Passing the trash not limited to doctors, teachers people in professions perceived as things society needs, it means an investment for society to get, produce, create when a Red Cross executive accused of sexual harassment of one subordinate and raping another, pushed out of the organization over the allegations received not a so called neutral recommendation, confirmation of employment dates, but redundancy upon redundancy, a glowing recommendation. Proffered by a friend who told members he was saddened about the man’s departure; undermining women in their origination making them feel expendable and not believed when divulging something so personal and traumatic. Again paralleling the ongoing layers coming to light about USAG, MSU and Larry Nassar internal investigators compiling evidence in the Red Cross case gave off the distinct impression their paramount concern was protecting the institution, organization than finding the truth; didn’t know how to or bother to dig deep enough in order to ascertain the validity of accusations presented, opting to do cursory inquiries smacking greatly of just enough to say we did an investigation. Massage Envy spa is facing allegations of rampant abuse by masseurs in their facilities harkening us back to the sexual harassment, sexual favors for promotions, transfers trade happening at Kay Jewelers; no possible way to mistake what this woman experienced for normal massage detailing his erect penis grinding into her hand, sliding his hands up her legs inserting his fingers repeatedly in and out of her vagina further insulting her injury by asking how her 55 year old body felt now. Investigative reporting finding close to 200 people subject to assault across the country while using their services in addition to the woman interviewed for Nightline; perpetuating future abuse, when she reported her violation to the manager, she said “I invite you in to talk about your services.” Unconcerned about her complaint prompting her to ask if the man was massaging another woman as they spoke; after the manager responded yes, she begged her to stop the appointment for the sake of the unsuspecting person, the manger refused. Victim goes to police, masseur arrested, in the long run pleading guilty to abusing 9 women; victim filing a lawsuit in conjunction with several others because she told the news magazine Massage Envy knew of at least one previous case to hers where a customer had come forward complaining about that identical massage professional. That was in Pennsylvania, a woman in Virginia confronted a facility manager to have her respond with shock promising an internal investigation, woman insisting they needed to call police because he could go to any massage company and continue his abuse unless arrested, charged, hopefully convicted and his massage therapist license revoked. Their own policy emphasizing investigation and removal of personnel involved in creditable claims, ineligible to work at any other company outlets, but nothing about notifying law enforcement to keep proven dangerous persons away from the ignorant public. Virginia massage client immediately calling police her ‘massage therapist’ arrested, charged and convicted on felony object sexual penetration and misdemeanor sexual battery. Couples massage not even safe for women subjected to a ‘therapist rubbing himself on her hand in Cedar Park Texas; other spa chains discovered hiring massage personnel with lengthy criminal histories branching off from sexual assault as Florida allows them to still work circa local 2016 news coverage. San Diego California exposing another serial assaulter victim too scared to scream for help because his hands were around her neck, thinking of her kids as she talked her way out of the room, later securing a conviction on sexual battery. The Kay story holding up a prime example workplace abuse of management structures, boss subordinate dynamics isn’t confined solely to the rich and the powerful, morning show faces and household names. Apart from Hollywood royalty, political figures enter stage right the casino mogul and RNC finance chairman Steve Wynn housing a long history of being unable to keep his hands to himself; pressuring employees to perform sex acts, exposing himself to a massage therapist in a room for that purpose, part of his office suite, forcing a manicurist to have sex in a different section of his opulent office structure. A witness recounting him once chasing a manager around an office where she wound up locking herself in a bathroom and wouldn’t come out, using his German shepherd pets to intimidate the poor women office staff, dogs taking commands in German alone. There was the lawyer convicted of hypnotizing his clients in order to molest them; sentenced to 12 years on 6 charges of kidnapping with a sexual motivation specification, which he plead guilty to, once released will be ordered to register on the sex offender rolls. America holding a persistent history of fake police officers using that ingrained authority to abuse citizens, whether it’s the decade long phone scam targeting fast food workers into sex acts over a phone directed by persons claiming to be some aspect of law enforcement or going out looking the part and victimizing the public. Who could forget real police officer Danial Holtzclaw raping and assaulting various Oklahoma city women, routinely poor blacks with criminal histories, prior drug charges until he literally assaulted the wrong grandmother while on patrol, who reported him and brought forth a cascade of victims; whatever their legal histories and personified moral failings didn’t deserve what he did to them for his own pleasure and power trip, pales in comparison to the breach of trust, betrayal he visited upon citizens he was meant to serve. It’s a sad reality when seeking professional psychological help for a disorder, aid in managing your life, dealing with trauma, or as a child/teen forced into it by parents who think they are doing what’s best for their son/daughter, entire family to be confronted with a manipulative therapist who’s using your family dysfunction, your past trauma to his own advantage, parlaying his position into a means to satisfy his pedophilic sexual compulsion, but there it is a throwback to heart-stoppingly unethical experiments performed circa the 1950’s without the remotely laudable goal of learning something. We have an opioid crisis and related addiction epidemic in this country the government has yet to do enough about as it is, treatment harder and harder to find merely accounting for bed space never mind cost for homeless, insurance-less, incomeless addicts; hard enough convincing any addict to even entertain the idea of long term 90 day to 1 year rehab stints. Absent taking that critical step to admit you need help, enter rehab means also opening yourself up to sexual assault/rape, repeated sexual abuse; and, double whammy, not from fellow patients possessing their own stack of problems, many self medicating mental health disorders, possible sexual perversions not out of the question, but therapists running what is supposed to be treatment, the founder of renowned program, complex X, but that’s exactly what it means. Enter less expensive in some cases, also more readily available outpatient care, so called sober living houses and famed for profit rehab doctor Chris Bathum, whose past as a convicted felon should have been a clue along with a fraud and sexual battery settlement case stemming from an earlier run rehab, he needed help, not to be running a help facility. Don’t let the luxuriousness and Malibu association fool you, 20/20’s profiled victim was offered a scholarship, a scholarship 16 year old Amanda Jester never should have gotten because, nearly effortless media investigation underscored the last place he should have been permitted to run is a rehab facility. Jester abused during a sweat lodge experience where he used his fingers to penetrate her vagina, 3 days later told a rehab van will take her to a shopping appointment with Bathum where he takes her to his car talking about having booked a hotel room; her freezing in panic at his first abuses, feeling like she had to. Already compelled by the fact he was the owner of the rehab center she initially thought was doing her so much good, was making her so much better; further influenced by a lack of money, credit card(s) or cellphone to get away from the surprise situation. In the hotel his increasingly bizarre behavior leads her to ask if he’s high, he admits yes, asks if he’s on meth he again admits yes; at which point she makes it clear she has no intention of doing drugs, likes her life sober and intends to stay that way however, he forces her into penetration and oral sex before allowing her to leave. Back at the center she begins feeling funny eventually piecing together he had meth on his fingers when he abused her, going to 2 staff members who advised her not to tell; choosing instead to alert her mother. Jester not the only rehab client divulging horrors inside his posh facility; on top of sexual abuses and assault accusations are instances detailing derailing attempts at sobriety by funneling patients drugs. Bathum arrested roughly 6 months after his 20/20 appearance for sexually assaulting multiple women, colleague also charged with insurance fraud alleging individuals were kept in a perpetual cycle of ‘treatment’ billing insurance companies millions upon millions of dollars. Proof positive once and for all it isn’t about age of consent; it’s about people in positions of authority robbing persons of consent, manipulating their position as teacher, doctor, therapist, mental health professional, addiction specialist purposely to abuse those in their care. It is dawning revelations, it isn’t the assault, their only assault, but their first assault, and once assaulted they face chances of multiple assaults in their lifetime. Knowing the habitual pattern of seeing abuse, hearing reports of abuse and doing nothing, those tapped as managers, organizers, school principals shocked when expected to notify police about criminal behavior they’ve been made aware of, repeated instances of children being dismissed sans a shred of investigation because the adult they told is their abuser’s friend, beloved community icon. To that end, understanding it’s largely not about consent, alternatively stopping pedophilia, predation mandatory training for administrative personnel having anything to do with children on steps to take when learning of allegations; too, maybe it’s time to focus not on consent law minimally capable of stopping a Roy Moore, Jerry Sandusky before him, a Larry Nassar, and start allocating research funds to the psychiatric community to develop/test a screening process bent on detecting pedophile tendencies, singling out traits of persons who are statistically, percentage wise prone to starting a student teacher ‘romance’ that’s regularly anything but and leaves students emotionally devastated for years to come. Since we currently have functional psychological checks for the military, exams that should have caught the zealotry/extremism of Edward Snowden, evaluations to weed out violent, dangerous future cops, begging the question how they missed a red flag like Daniel Holtzclaw; weekly, monthly headlines vibrantly prove we need the same for teachers, any person working on a consistent basis with kids, have needed it for decades yet we still don’t have it, opting for the Amanda Marcotte age of consent suggestion most Americans, until hearing about Roy Moore, assumed we had.
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. They were literally half his age, teens while he was in his 30’s yet Roy Moore dared call it dating; Joan Tarshis was a sheltered 19, Bill Cosby 30 something when he manipulated her into sex feigning innocence to this day defiant to what else we know, dismissing accusations he raped a 15 year old by staunchly ignoring the claim altogether. Harvey Weinstein denied anything non-consensual, notwithstanding progressive harassment fines built into his contract and testimonials he tried to ply a 17 year old actress with alcohol who promptly reminded him of her age, told him she had school then bolted from the room. Like a man of his stature carrying the name Weinstein, being the famed director he couldn’t find someone at minimum old enough to drink, to wine and dine let alone whatever else he had in mind; he couldn’t find a person in his own age group, an individual at least considered a mature adult to seduce, who would have, however sick, jumped at the chance solely to say they slept with Harvey Weinstein? Kevin Spacey couldn’t remember Anthony Rapp though he had to be in the neighborhood of his late 20’s when Rapp was 14; when the journalist’s son was 18 Spacey was approximately 57 being that was July 2016 and Spacey’s birthday is also in July rendering him currently 58. Not to mention, we have prosecuted every college student, high school football playing teen in the last 5 years for like behavior, the crux of the Steubenville case: having sex, sexual contact with a person who is drunk, partially drunk, semi-conscious or unconscious leading to the conclusion shouldn’t a well over middle age person, an actor no less used to fending off tabloid fodder and women dubiously claiming to have had their baby, know better? Worse he tried to excuse his behavior by coming out as bi-sexual or somewhere on the LGBT spectrum of differing sexuality, which in no way explains unwanted sexual contact, not knowing key facts about the partner/person you’re trying to have sex with, to know Rapp was a scant 14; unlike the girl who was with Zach Anderson, there’s no evidence he lied or even tried to conceal his age or that Spacey ever bothered to find out before putting him on that bed and making his move. Yes the journalist’s son indicated he was at least 21 and, as stated previously, was 18 when Spacey assaulted him exempting him in some respects from the larger conversation Amanda Marcotte wants to have with the American public, wants to begin throughout the American public, but 18 or 21, you Kevin Spacey can’t find someone your own age who would enjoy any kind of sexual encounter with you, gay or bisexual though you may be, solely because your name is Kevin Spacey, you are Kevin Spacey the famous actor? Or absolute least, a willing 18 to 21 year old who would welcome and relish a sexual experience with you because you are Kevin Spacey; you had to resort to plying a teenager with drinks until he was too drunk to think straight then rob him of both his dignity and manhood by fondling him, we can scarcely imagine what else you would have done had that concerned citizen not wisely told him to run? Redundant dynamic exposed by Eliza Dushku opening up about her molestation by a stuntman on the set of True Lies who won the trust of her parents telling them this particular time they were going out to dinner, she was going swimming with the other stunt people, actresses, plenty of other people would be around; in reality he took her to his house, disappeared into the bathroom, emerged naked, hand towel covering his junk, lays her down on the bed covering her with his “gigantic writhing body” and rubbed all over her. Admonishing her to stop pretending to be asleep as he rubbed harder and faster against her catatonic body; she was 12, he 36. And you can’t tell readers Joel Kramer couldn’t have told would-be dates, friends with benefits, potential hookups what he did for a living, thrilled already by hearing the words stuntman, standing in for actors afraid of being hurt, rattled off the movies he’d been associated with finding himself far from short of sexual partner candidates; no 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; one of the adjacent issues with Roy Moore that would have helped deflating his local status as a god-like celebrity, gave him the perception of a normal person subject to the law like everyone else and correctly categorizing his behavior as wrong is rudimentary oversite of his controversial rulings rendering him unfit for any judgeship at whatever level. Pertinent here documented judicial records, a case where he ruled in favor of a daycare worker who raped a 12 year old because he said there was no ‘implied threat of physical injury;’ not that anyone has ever heard his definition, reasoning being the standard to prove or disprove rape. The standard is did person X, the defendant brought up on charges, standing in the courtroom force the identified victim to have sex with them, attempt to force them to have sex with them, perform sex acts on them involving their mouth, objects, fingers making contact with genitals exc. Standard being statutory since the child’s 12, and even if she ‘seemed to be/behaved in a willing manner,’ has no legal capacity to consent; meaning having sex with a 12 year old is against the law, and if you prove that indeed did happen to the level accepted in a court of law, you’re guilty to be sentenced accordingly period. Further any pediatrician, let alone someone with half a brain, would disagree rape most certainly can and will cause harm to a child’s physical body just by the size difference of anatomy; size playing a role too in whether there is an implied physical threat when the person abusing you, in this case raping you, is 2, 3 or more times bigger than you in terms of actual stature, build debunking the argument behind his ‘legal finding.’ In a subsequent daycare case where a presumably male worker raped a 4 year old Moore said “sodomy is an abhorrent crime and should be strictly punished” but argued the evidence did not support a lower court’s finding that Higdon had assaulted a child using “forcible compulsion.” What do you mean forcible compulsion, remember the child is 4 and again is physically incapable of fighting back by the sheer stature of their abuser; considering his toddler age coercion is probably all he had to use until the boy was too trapped to get away, but under no circumstance is sex with a child potentially still in diapers acceptable, even thought about by someone who is not seriously mentally perverted. To say nothing of the psychological impact rape, whatever the specific/horrific details, has on a fully grown adult forget a child, unfathomable for one pre-school age still learning to form words, speak in complete, more complex sentences. Roy Moore who challenged his state’s rape shield law meant to protect victims of sexual violence, positing in his dissenting opinion offenders should be allowed to use parts of a victim’s past as evidence in their defense; as if bringing your rapist to justice wasn’t difficult enough emotionally, psychologically, system often seen as victimizing the victim multiple times over by the time a verdict is rendered. Nor was his opinion a rare one attached to individual cases where the victim had a history of false accusations, psychosis related mental health problems or other extenuating, mitigating circumstances where not lifting it in the prescribed instance would hinder the defendants’ opportunity for an adequate defense; The Guardian uncovered during his last 3 year stretch as Alabama’s chief justice of their state supreme court he cited similar thinking on 13 of 16 cases having to do with sex crimes, downright creepy all around when mulling over the accusations leveled against him. Frightening foreshadowing in play, there was his opinion on a case scarily parallel to his own interactions with young women, saying of a school police officer accused of having sex with a 17 year old student: “although I do not condone the behavior” of Bonds, the courts should consider the notion that Bonds was not technically an employee of the school, and therefore may have been wrongly prosecuted.” Rather than recognizing even though the age of consent remains 16, the unequal power dynamic and given authority makes it inappropriate enough to prosecute in a court of law. Unsurprisingly acquainted with his religious views, once decreeing during a lesbian woman’s child custody case she couldn’t see her child unsupervised or with her partner based on the harm homosexuality does to children. Never pondering also the psychological impact of barring a child from their mother, already processing the stress of a divorce, because of their romantic relationship, no evidence she’d done anything irresponsible in her parenting, was abusive, neglectful, exposed them to someone inappropriate, allowed the child to see them having sex, taken the child to rendezvous to have sex; just that she was getting a divorce, identified as a lesbian and judge Moore didn’t like that. Fitting the infuriating by now cycle of events, you can’t tell readers there weren’t appeals in the listed cases, fellow judges where he was part of a panel didn’t read his finding and should have reported his off the wall, possibly pointing to senility arguments; contrast that to the published dissenting opinion now deceased justice Antonin Scalia wrote decrying the courts’ ruling on Obamacare, announcing among his more coherent arguments, the court’s decision signals words no longer have meaning if “by the state” suddenly incorporates by the state and the federal government, going on to declare we should start calling it SCOTUS care. Among his more colorful, call them what they are, incoherent, nonsensical phases and reasons he is displeased with both the court and the decision, he references the court’s “twisting” of what the words literally say naming it jiggery-pokery and in this bit “The Court claims that the Act must equate federal and state establishment of Exchanges when it defines a qualified individual as someone who (among other things) lives in the ‘State that established the Exchange.’ … Otherwise, the Court says, there would be no qualified individuals on federal Exchanges, contradicting (for example) the provision requiring every Exchange to take the ‘”interests of qualified individuals” ‘into account when selecting health plans. …Pure applesauce.” Spurring questions about his mental state, his cognitive fitness to still be on the bench, trying to read that word salad; where was that at the state level with Roy Moore? Separating anything sexual, intertwining sexuality his public comments on NFL anthem protests, suddenly believing them against the law coupled with Muslims and Muslim congressman Keith Ellison demonstrate he doesn’t understand grade school basics of our constitution that have caused commentators to say president Trump, plus Mr. Moore should buy the DVD’s of School House Rock before opening his mouth; his NFL anthem comments stemming for a ‘U.S. code’ etiquette guide on how to conduct oneself i.e. during the playing of the anthem and not outlining penalties under law, Or his the only thing he knows about Islam came from 9/11 comment disqualifying opinions doled out on congressman Ellison’s ability to serve due to his religion, there being no religious test to hold office in America, suggests Donald Trump isn’t the only one who perhaps needs a full cognitive exam. 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. Recalling though Roy Moore didn’t try to marry any of his underage victims, waiting until his first seen when under age wife was of age and it wasn’t scandalous to actively pursue her; he didn’t even date, try to date all of his victims, Beverly Young-Nelson’s attempted rape began not with a solicitation for a date, but with an offer for a ride home when her boyfriend was like picking her up from work. Harvey Weinstein didn’t try to marry any of the women he assaulted, raped, exposed himself to or the minor he offered alcohol; Kevin Spacey, despite claims of bisexuality and recent rulings on same sex marriage, wasn’t looking to wed, even start a committed relationship toward that outcome, either with the journalist’s son (sorry it bears repeating, not covered under the Amanda Marcotte consent law revamp, still exceedingly traumatized by his unwanted, unlooked for experience) or the young men he harassed on the film crew at the House of Cards set or elsewhere, the man he grabbed in a bar, dido the assaulters of Terry Crews, Kevin Sorbo. Bill Cosby had a wife, a string of mistresses and still wasn’t satisfied. Confronting these predators takes a completely different approach.
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. As a follow up police should have asked any of the complaining teens about inappropriate, unwanted touching; certainly his asking them out on dates would be revealed as part of the harassment they wanted stopped, which should have raised red flags prompting in depth investigation leading them straight to his legal associates perplexed by his behavior, exposing him as a potential predator and the glaring problem with their low age of consent. But if Roy Moore’s story is anything it’s a case for strengthening and better enforcing harassment laws; consent isn’t the issue because they weren’t giving it, they were doing their level best to avoid him within the confines of work at least one of them probably needed, even in the 70’s and 80’s to help their family, compensate for an abusive/neglectful home, get out of one, for work experience moving ahead post high school. Read closely the story of the teacher’s inappropriate relationship facing a potential 52 years in prison linked just above this paragraph, he’s not staring down 52 years behind bars, which were he to get the maximum he would be in his 90’s upon parole or completion of sentence, because he had sex with her at only 16; Nebraska and Iowa 2 other states whose consent age matches Alabama’s, he’s looking at up to half a century’s incarceration because, like Roy Moore he couldn’t wait for her to be 16. He began his pursuit of her at 14 using a computer and related electronics to do it; found guilty of attempted visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct and enticement by electronic device. Proving a double edged sword of, periphery laws finally do work, whether applied to child marriage or dealing with someone like Roy Moore once thought merely a little hands-y; however had the detective interviewing that 11 year old filed charges after the first school district did the right thing in contacting child protective services, informing police the 14 year old would never have been a victim and they wouldn’t have been able to easily transfer him to another school holding no grounds to warn them, maligning his reputation seeing as police didn’t move ahead. A woman went to police about Harvey Weinstein, they apparently equipped her with a wire where he appears to not only admit to sexual assault by virtue of unsolicited touching of the woman’s breast, but attempt to explain it away; despite those realities and still available audio recording of the incident able to be played for jurors, law enforcement did nothing. Current investigations, aside from the 50, you didn’t read that wrong, odd women to come forward telling pattered stories of what happened to them at his hands, reports police now possess enough evidence to arrest, fate hasn’t seen Weinstein arrested, charged, subject to arraignment; instead being slapped in the face by a fellow restaurant goer finding him disgusting. Like rumors of Cosby and Weinstein, Matt Lauer accusations surrounding director James Toback persisted for years garnering media attention, but nothing substantive was done, apart from the media watering down what he’d done into the nomenclature of the cultural time period. Police sought to interview the journalist’s son assaulted by Kevin Spacey, no movement yet towards charges; now that may be an example of biding time, building a case against him, but as days tick by it becomes more and more unlikely either will face criminal consequences for their believably established conduct. Remembering too Cosby accuser Andrea Constand resorted to a civil suit only after police refused to file criminal charges; come to find out, it wasn’t that investigators didn’t believe her, it was they didn’t think they could sufficiently prove the case overcoming the added hurtle of star struck fans to boot, Cosby brought up on charges last year only for it to end in a mistrial. If these cases are cause for anything it’s reacquainting the public with the tactics used by child predators, serial sexual assaulters, serial sexual harassers not only to educate the vastly ignorant older public, but protect younger adults from newer threats like those presented by Uber and Lyft, online dating. Parents of Nassar victims say they felt stupid they didn’t see it beforehand though he was ‘treating’ young girls in front of their parents using an ungloved finger; we know fellow trainers didn’t catch on, independent the MSU coaches who either accused girls of lying or misunderstanding the treatment they were receiving, his plying them with candy, food and only paying attention to certain girls should have been noticed as classic grooming behavior. The Karolyi ranch should have been a warning sign, red flag to parents and outside persons hired to work there long before factoring it’s ideal conditions for a child predator in its isolation and difficulty getting injured gymnasts medical attention, lack of civilization surrounding it and the nearest thing being a prison. Comprehending it wasn’t a scared straight, troubled youth boot camp or a concentration camp, it should have been a huge tip off food was so restricted everything was so regimented, girls disallowed from talking to each other scared of their coaches and shamed and shunned by the Karolyi’s while there for making mistakes, psychologically damaging before you ever talk about sexual abuse. Mystifying is the sheer number of older people, 40 and above, flunking the basic tenets of personal safety as spectacularly as their younger counterparts, that we have to tell things like before climbing into your Uber ask who are you here for as opposed to are you here for and giving your name; a disturbing number of non-millennials who don’t do standard things like locking your car door, as illustrated by a Midwestern town’s rash of conceal and care gun thefts from vehicles. Grown, well over college age persons who don’t know to watch their drink poured at a bar/party and never leave it unattended, finish it if it was left unattended opting for a new one. Pre-internet, social media, i-phone/pod/pad adults who pay little attention to their surroundings, walking out of stores into parking lots don’t bother looking both ways for cars in busy complexes just expect them to stop. Improving workplaces in terms of sexual harassment, assault, abuses, from co-workers, bosses or managers, the power play dynamics leading to forced sex, daily degrading and humiliation it’s time for federal laws governing employer handling of sexual harassment, misconduct and rape claims mandating they either contact the police to investigate issues or hire an outside independent investigating firm to curtail scenarios like the Red Cross example; if it’s anything it’s time to eliminate non-disclosure agreements for sex crimes, sexual improprieties in the workplace, professional athlete space, whether it’s trapping names like Gretchen Carlson in her contract at Fox News, forcing victims into silence about prominent political figures inappropriate sexual exploits a-la John Conyers, Blake Farenhold, Patrick Meehan, whomever. Or leads to bribery offers for silence should victims dare petition derelict agencies to pay for things like ongoing psychotherapy to help them deal with abuse inflicted, what McKayla Maroney alleges happened to her in addition to the horrors of Larry Nassar. Helping teachers continue their predation of young people because administrators don’t have the will and the spine to fight sexually abusing teachers; laws that could be added to, drafted today better aiding in the protection of children, teens and potentially victimized adults crossing also gender and sexual orientation lines, giving the 2015 federal law meant to prohibit schools from doing exactly what they did in the passing the trash story the intended teeth, by mandating comprehensive background checks for teachers then giving them the funds to perform said checks. Next, prosecuting the cases and jailing any local officials, authorities, attorneys, prosecutors all the way up to states attorneys general who don’t. Removing honor codes at any and all schools, college campuses that singularly serve to repeatedly victimize victims, blame them for their assaults then dismiss them because they dressed ‘immodestly,’ according to wrinkled graying old men who possess their own problems with impure, creepy, pervy thoughts about largely young women and want to put that responsibility on the women not themselves. Ignoring rape, assault and harassment claims because they broke the code by going to a bar, drinking alcohol (even legally of age to drink), having a boyfriend/girlfriend, engaging in any physical activity with them i.e. as benign as kissing. Using honor codes to fixate on the moral failings, judgment missteps, mistakes of victims pertaining to minor preferences, things that aren’t even illegal instead of the bigger moral problem and law breaking connected to persistent harassment, assault or rape. Gay is something just not allowed under nearly always religious based honor codes at small, private higher educational institutions whose ‘faith’ is a selling point to draw students and their worldly nervous parents latched onto derailing any worthwhile investigation if you were so much as assaulted by a same gendered person, your sexual orientation notwithstanding; a common occurrence among supposedly “good Christian boys and girls” subjecting gay individuals, those thought or rumored to be gay to varying degrees of sexual assault/rape to prove their goodness, their heterosexuality, viewed as something the sinful, unnatural person deserves because of those 2 adjectives describing them, shrugging it off as something the assaulted party will like because they are gay. Serious consideration given to disbanding and dismantling all boarding schools, not singularly America-wide but across the globe, as they are dens, not for better education, but rampant abuse second only to scandals rocking the catholic church. Regarding Olympic gymnastics and Larry Nassar, legally making USA gymnastics and all related entities handling minor Olympians mandated reporters of suspected abuse (grown victims, forget their parents, couldn’t believe they weren’t already), stipulating in the law that all persons who employ a doctor, coach, other professional like Nassar must inform all of their respective employers immediately upon being notified of an allegation, none of this 42 days nonsense it took USAG to contact MSU, him still allowed at the Karolyi ranch. Prosecuting anyone found to have known and done nothing about allegations i.e. that specific coach at MSU; following through with the proposed bill making Massage Envy Spa and like facilities, any establishment, institution really coming into that kind of intimate contract with people, ripe for this kind of abuse mandated reporters along with schools, doctors, hospitals and mental health professionals. Permanently removing the licenses of all doctors, teachers, lawyers, massage therapists, masseurs and periphery such persons credibly accused or convicted of sexual misconduct, harassment, assault or rape, forever barring them from working in their, used for predatory purposes, profession again. In addition to teaching all people, particularly young people to stick up for themselves, trust their instincts and act when something doesn’t feel right, grooming our girls in a positive way it’s not rude to protect your body, rude is better than assaulted/abused, removing environments like those found at the Karolyi ranch, among MSU coaching staff business license contingent training for business owners and their management staff about how to handle harassment and assault claims including obligatory informing of law enforcement. Increased education campaigns to the general public about how to report sex harassment/assault claims in your workplace, what to do if you see something, tell your boss and they don’t seem phased, nothing appears to be done, one of the many Penn State problems was Mike McQueary also testified he told coach Joe Paterno, he told people and nothing happened; how to’s on finding your local chapter of the FBI, when it’s best to reach out to them because they possess the knowledge and expertise to get to the bottom of what’s going on. Consent or child marriage issues, ensuring sitting judges across all levels actually hold law degrees, understand how the law impacts the kinds of cases they will be presiding over on their benches rather than situations described by The New York Times and Pro Publica thus: “Some of the courtrooms are not even courtrooms: tiny offices or basement rooms without a judge’s bench or jury box. Sometimes the public is not admitted, witnesses are not sworn to tell the truth, and there is no word-for-word record of the proceedings. Nearly three-quarters of the judges are not lawyers, and many — truck drivers, sewer workers or laborers — have scant grasp of the most basic legal principles. Some never got through high school, and at least one went no further than grade school. But serious things happen in these little rooms all over New York State. People have been sent to jail without a guilty plea or a trial, or tossed from their homes without a proper proceeding. In violation of the law, defendants have been refused lawyers, or sentenced to weeks in jail because they cannot pay a fine. Frightened women have been denied protection from abuse. The examination found overwhelming evidence that decade after decade and up to this day, people have often been denied fundamental legal rights. Defendants have been jailed illegally. Others have been subjected to racial and sexual bigotry so explicit it seems to come from some other place and time. People have been denied the right to a trial, an impartial judge and the presumption of innocence …” And that was New York alone, similar circumstances found in Montana where it takes more hours to become a barber than a massage therapist and more time to become a massage therapist than a justice of the peace not only permitted to officiate marriages (important it a minute), but send defendants to jail; for that you need a 4 day certification course and the votes of citizens in your county. Imagine states across the heartland, the south, stereotypes we’ve heard for years merited or not; it doesn’t require vast amounts of deductive reasoning to them that the crux of America’s child marriage problem and to an extent consent issues stems from scenarios like those highlighted in New York, Montana the 7 other states where you find average Joe’s holding jobs as plumbers moonlighting as municipal judges. They know they can perform marriages, the parents want it, the teen seems fine with it, what’s the problem; parents assert religious tradition, they appear ‘foreigners,’ so to avoid what little they do understand of religious freedom arguments and racial discrimination pushback they marry them, to say nothing of when they’re white and aww how sweet nostalgically reminding them of stories they heard about their grand or great grandparents. Receiving a promotion in presiding judgeship, following the driver’s test retake instituted on older vehicle operators, you must retake and pass the bar sufficiently to move up, take a case sampling based practical exam garnered from cases heard by the court your moving to; tests Roy Moore could not have passed diminishing his local cultural status towards that of as normal person and stopping his predation