Monday, July 8, 2013

Not all statutory rapists are pedophiles

Coffee and newspaper
Original Article

Neither are all ex-sex offenders. If people actually looked at the definition they would see that a vast majority of those on the sex offender registries are not pedophiles. But hey, ignorance is bliss, right?



By now the mug shot of eighteen-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt, who is currently facing a possible penalty of fifteen years in prison for lewd and lascivious battery on a minor, has circulated enough national headlines that her story is well-known.

Her apparent relationship with a 14-year-old girl has been the subject of many a debate, particularly within the gay community who maintain that the law is effectively punishing Hunt for her sexual orientation. Although police state that the same-sex relationship between the two has no bearing on her sentencing, there is still outrage that Hunt has been brought under such fire for her relationship.

While the fact that she is a lesbian adds enough interest to the story to land her in the news, the statutory rape charges brought against her are the more troubling issue here.

Rape, by definition, is when one party initiates sexual contact with someone without the latter's consent. Often this is accomplished via physical force, abuse of power, or coercion. It has been broadened to include sexual contact with anyone below the legal age of consent (defined as statutory rape), which leads to Miss Hunt's current legal nightmare.

While punishing those who are having sex with individuals younger than the legal age of consent may seem like a justifiable idea, in reality the gray area introduced by statutory rape is far less clear than one would expect.

It was not so long ago that I was an 18-year-old, high on the idea that I could legally purchase cheap cigars and lottery tickets and generally be cooler than everyone a year younger than me. And it was also not so long ago that I had fellow 18-year-old friends who were in serious relationships with freshmen.

Of course, you may not think a high school relationship is serious. You may be under the impression that your sons and daughters are in some form of "puppy love," a term used by adults to evoke the idea that a relationship between two teenagers is somehow less justified, less intense than one shared between two adults.

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