Saturday, November 05, 2005

"Oh, that's a young man's dream."

One more case of a woman sexually assaulting a boy. Allegedly the mother of the eight year old boy's playmate stopped short of actual intercourse, which is some small blessing, at least. Over the past few years we've been seeing more cases like this one show up in the news, and I don't know that anyone ever determined that such crimes happen to be on the rise, or are simply getting reported more widely now.

Needless to say, I'm appalled at such incidents, but not just because of the crimes themselves. What also appalls me are the defenses that amount to "It's impossible to rape a man" and "a boy is just a short man." When did we decide that treating children like small adults was a good thing, after all? Maybe the folks promoting the ratification of gay marriages aren't actually interested in "rolling back" the prohibitions against incest and statutory rape, but with attitudes like this one being expressed, I will not be surprised if all these movements conveniently converge somewhere down the line.

Now, in the defense of the Associated Press, the "young man's dream" quote actually came from someone acknowledging that such a response is not natural, not healthy, but that fact doesn't seem to bother some people. I don't have the time or inclination now to discuss the idea that natural law might actually exist, but I do want to ask these guys what they're smoking.

We are not talking about junior high or high school students, where the hypothetical victims are nearly mature enough to deal with sex and relationships appropriately. We are talking about an eight year old boy. Eight. Hardly old enough to know or care what sex even is. He's not a "young man," no matter how many adults address boys of that age as such.

Oh, I've known guys who said they wished they were in the shoes of boys like this one, like with that young Florida teacher who ended up getting together with her former student after she got out of the pokey. Generally, though, they weren't that young, or they were projecting some more mature version of themselves into their memories of attractive teachers. Thing is, with that Florida kid, he was already an adolescent, and the age difference would not have been incredible if they were both adults (although we still sometimes raise an eyebrow at May-December romances, don't we?) whereas this boy's attacker was 30.

Maybe it's a symptom of the sexualization of our children. They're exposed to borderline erotic material all over the place, as if it were the same thing as living in a modest but minimally clothed culture like we can often find in the hotter climes. I wonder if perhaps things like that sexually explicit survey that went out to all the students in a California district (I'll post a concise reference if I can find one) is just a sort of "reasonable" attempt at reconnaissance before mounting some kind of management campaign, the same way abortion manages the problems that arise from the use of contraception.

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