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Statutory Rape Laws

Jambalaya

Ideal_Rock
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I'm quite irritated by the harsh bashing that is taking place against Jambalaya. Nowhere did she state that she is against statutory rape law or thinks that it is okay for a 30 year old man to have sex with a 14 year old girl. Her question was, if someone should be treated as victim, when insisting they were no victim. It's a legit question and why can it not be debated? Why judging her for asking a question. Please do not confuse asking questions and putting them for debate with taking a certain position, which she has not.

Thank you for this, Roselina. I am indeed asking the question, having been affected by knowing the girl who is now a 30 yo woman. I had thought it might be an interesting debate, but I think it's too upsetting for some people - understandably.
 

Jambalaya

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I don't think there is much else to say @Jambalaya. You really seem intent on excusing the predator when the victim does not recognize the abuse. I am very glad that the law does.

I don't know; it just chafes on me that so many people say they do not believe the lived experience of someone who's 30. I wouldn't believe her at 14 either, but she's 30 now.

I wouldn't even be debating the issue if I didn't know her.
 

Cerulean

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I'm quite irritated by the harsh bashing that is taking place against Jambalaya. Nowhere did she state that she is against statutory rape law or thinks that it is okay for a 30 year old man to have sex with a 14 year old girl. Her question was, if someone should be treated as victim, when insisting they were no victim. It's a legit question and why can it not be debated? Why judging her for asking a question. Please do not confuse asking questions and putting them for debate with taking a certain position, which she has not.

I think given the subject matter, people have been very reasonable in their response and this has stayed extremely civil.

The topic is extremely complex and so is the concept of victimhood. Victims for a variety of crimes will not claim victimhood. This is not even unique to children.

Many posters have poked holes in the possibility that OP doesn’t actually know if the original victim in question was happy or not. I have suggested that the victim could have come out unscathed, but it would be an exception. OP has not wavered on their conviction. OP has also tried to get us to empathize with the perp, explaining his character, that his life was ruined, and then shared other anecdotes about other victims who they presumed were happy in spite of some of the other comments on the thread.

There is no way that protecting an older perp who coincidentally didn’t harm their victim long term is more important than protecting ALL children from being exposed to the risk in the first place.

It doesn’t really seem to be a debate at all. If I’ve been overly rude I do apologize, but OP seems convicted. For other PSers to be disgusted by the particular conviction should be entirely expected, and especially given the number of mothers on this forum and generally empathetic view many folks take. Desire to protect children at all costs is deep and intrinsic in many adults.

Children are abused the world over. They always have been, and always will be. They are easy to manipulate, often eager to please, not fully developed yet almost always think they know more than they do which is a dangerous combination. Many countries are totally archaic about their laws protecting children. I am having a hard time empathizing for any shade of leniency when children are so often left unprotected- either by laws, unknowing parents...and yes, they can even victimized by their peers. There are plenty of 18yr olds more than happy to predate on a 14yr old and they are cognitively leaps and bounds ahead. There are even sadistic 14yr olds that will abuse someone of the same age. And those cases are very complicated and demand (hopefully) and extremely competent judge.
 
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Jambalaya

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Cerulean - When a 30 yo woman speaks her truth, I don't think it's unreasonable to believe her, and her viewpoint created some questions for me about these laws, that's really all it boils down to. And I outlined above in a previous response to you how I have flipflopped during this thread, far from feeling conviction. I guess I do feel some conviction in this particular case, given that I believe a 30 yo, but my question was whether something like this should have a bearing on how we treat other similar cases. I'm very happy to accept that it does not. I just wanted to have a conversation, because it's much more interesting to talk to others about the questions in your mind on a given issue than have a conversation with yourself.
 
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Cerulean

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Cerulean - When a 30 yo woman speaks her truth, I don't think it's unreasonable to believe her, and her viewpoint created some questions for me about these laws, that's really all it boils down to. And I outlined above how I have flipflopped during this thread, far from feeling conviction. I guess I do feel some conviction in this particular case, given that I believe a 30 yo, but my question was whether something like this should have a bearing on how we treat other such cases.

It's not about whether a 30yr old woman would be lying. But you aren't in a position to actually know how it impacted her. I think that's been amply explained.

Let's say I take your word for it, and cast aside all doubt that this woman is extremely well adjusted and didn't have her agency stripped away from her as a child.

Why would it matter? I'd assume she'd be an outlier, an exception, as stated earlier in the thread. Isn't it more important to protect children anyways in all cases and leave it up to judges to interpret the law, and use information like this (an exceptional hypothetical case) for punishment? Which again, is not the same as a law. Laws do not seem to vary widely, implementation of punishments do for this very reason.

So no, this shouldn't have bearing on other cases. The laws shouldn't change just because this one victim wasn't totally traumatized. And a judge is supposed to be impartial, I shudder to think of what that would mean for other victims. A defense lawyer can certainly cite this case, but by no means should this impact how we legislate. Even if it means that a handful of perps compared to the majority slip through the cracks of the legal system. This is one of the fundamental flaws of our system, and in its worst manifestation, truly innocent people end up in the jail.
 

Jambalaya

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Well, I had questions, knowing someone well who's been through this and doesn't seem to fit the textbook cases, and they've been answered to a large extent. I appreciate the discussion, esp. to posters who discussed lengthily and vigorously without getting personal, like Cerulean and Catmom, and Roselina.
 

Jambalaya

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ETA: It all seemed very cut and dried to me, too, until I listened to this woman's story at age 30, looking backward over the years. But perhaps I was too influenced by her one story. (And by the two other people I knew who were in similar situations.)
 

Cerulean

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ETA: It all seemed very cut and dried to me, too, until I listened to this woman's story at age 30, looking backward over the years. But perhaps I was too influenced by her story.

Anecdotes, especially when we know the person, are very compelling. We all can be tempted by them because of how powerful these stories are. Are brains are designed to take them seriously!

But...they make poor evidence, usually biased...and despite this, they are still commonly cited by people for all sorts of arguments. (A recent example is that vaccines cause autism).

E.g. a scientist, a judge...are trained to be able to separate anecdote from evidence, or at least balance anecdotal information with empirical information, because anecdotes are extremely unreliable. Anecdotes matter more when they are repeated...if that makes sense. If the same type of anecdote appears over and over, that means they need to be analyzed.

Taking a one-off anecdote very seriously over other evidence is dangerous territory. It's not unique to this particular subject.

I deal with a lot of data and research, can you tell? :lol:
 

Jambalaya

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Anecdotes, especially when we know the person, are very compelling.

Yes, they are. Especially when you knew two other people who were in similar situations and - at the time (bc I lost touch with them) seemed happy about it. Had me wondering about the whole issue.

I deal with a lot of data and research, can you tell? :lol:

I can!
 

chemgirl

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I don't know; it just chafes on me that so many people say they do not believe the lived experience of someone who's 30. I wouldn't believe her at 14 either, but she's 30 now.

I wouldn't even be debating the issue if I didn't know her.

Well then she’s ok with being raped by a pedophile. That may be her personal feeling, but it doesn’t make the man’s actions any less heinous.
 

lovedogs

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Trying to equate a 16 and 18 year old in a relationship (who presumably go to school together, have the same friends, etc) with a 30 YEAR OLD MAN having sex with a 14YO is f*cking insane. I'm sorry but this thread is infuriating.
 

Jambalaya

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My state equates the two. There are no close-in-age exceptions, no Romeo and Juliet laws here. A 16/18 pairing is the same as a 14/30 pairing. Maybe that explains why the guy only got six years.

I'd like to make clear that by stating these facts, I am not agreeing with the way the law is.

It wasn't about those pairings being the same. It was about - as Rosalina put it - if someone should be treated as victim, when insisting they were no victim.

And apparently, yes they should, to protect others even if that particular victim feels they are not a victim. I guess the answer I've come to see is that the judge expresses their view of each case in their sentencing, and that the sentencing is where the discretion lies. The discretion is not in who should be on trial and who shouldn't, at least here, where there are no exceptions like there are in some other states. (Erm, right Cerulean? I'm feeling slightly out of my depth here.) Judges here have a lot of leeway when sentencing statutory rape cases. She could have given the guy life imprisonment, which maybe she would have done where the victim was clear in court that she felt victimized. Even so, with that age gap, I thought it was a light custodial sentence.

I thought I'd been pretty clear in my thoughts throughout. I'm sorry if I appear to have left so much room for misunderstanding. As I've said about ten times, it wouldn't have occurred to me to have this discussion had I not heard this woman's story personally.
 
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Jambalaya

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As well as being my friend's daughter, she's also my god-daughter. I've known her since she was a baby, and I can't seem to accept that she might have been abused. My mind just won't go there. It was hard just typing that out. And there were NO signs. None. I've looked backward over and over, with the benefit of hindsight. Nada. I can't accept it.
 
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HollyJane

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As well as being my friend's daughter, she's also my god-daughter. I've known her since she was a baby, and I can't seem to accept that she might have been abused. My mind just won't go there. It was hard just typing that out. And there were NO signs. None. I've looked backward over and over, with the benefit of hindsight. Nada. I can't accept it.

I think that is the crux of the matter right there and probably why you were pushing so hard with intellectualizing this topic.

And, it very well might be the case with your God-daughter - that her mind has written over the experience in such a way that her mind won't go there either.

I would advise not continuing to put her in the position of having to reassure you that she was ok and not hurt. I'm sure that's not your intention to put her in that position, but that is what could happen.
 

Jambalaya

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I would advise not continuing to put her in the position of having to reassure you that she was ok and not hurt. I'm sure that's not your intention to put her in that position, but that is what could happen.

I'm very afraid of saying the wrong thing because I am not a psychologist, so when she talks about it, I don't say much. I just listen.
 

Jambalaya

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Thanks, Roselina.

There was a story earlier in this thread that scared me, about a woman in a similar situation who was in denial until her own daughter reached the age at which she was abused, and then the floodgates broke. I pray that my GD won't go through that. I do hope she really is the exception that proves the rule. :cry:
 

Jambalaya

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For some reason, it's much easier for me to accept that someone I don't know was a victim of abuse. I looked up the Letourneau case mentioned here as I didn't know the details, and there is no doubt in my mind that he was horribly abused. I don't know how his parents coped with it, given that he married his abuser and had kids with her. I don't think I could have controlled myself if I'd been his parent. Worryingly, he also said that he didn't realize he was abused until his own child reached the age of 12, which was his age when the abuse began. That's two cases I now know of where the victim was in denial until their mind couldn't hide it from their consciousness any longer, and the trigger was their own kids reaching the relevant age. This has some worrying implications for my gd's future. There's no doubt that Letourneau was one sick f*ck. Either born evil or born with the wrong wiring, one of the two.

I'm really hoping my gd is the outlier she professes to be.
 

smitcompton

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Hi,

I didn't read all the posts, but as usual folks wish to show what thoughtful people they are, without considering , or giving the statement of the "victim " as being the most important element of the story.

Jambalya, there was a case similar to the one you wrote about in Chicago some yrs ago. I believe she was 16 or so when the relationship developed. He was a Congressman. He lost his seat and was given a jail sentence, I think for a few years. At the trial, and forever, the young women said it was completely consensual . She did not think of herself as a victimand felt terrible they put the man in jail.

In Chicago again a 21 yrs old ma had an affair with a 16 yr old. He too was given a jail sentence when the parents pressed charges. He was dumb-founded. I think he got 6 months.

I think an interesting aspect of this discussion is who calls themselves a victim and who does not. My personal belief is it is far healthier to see yourself as not the victim. Society is full of victims now. When we make some poor decisions we probably should accept at least part of the blame. This is maturity.. Our so called "victim", in this case seems mature, not an individual who doesn't recognize her victimhood.

You may lament the exploited children of the world. But when hooking a beautiful rug to help feed your family when you're six, you might consider you are lucky to have he work.

I think the question is interesting. Jambalya.

Annette
 

Jambalaya

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Thanks, yssie. I'm questioning a lot of things about her lately (to myself) like the fact that she's pretty underweight. But I don't want to say anything because I don't want to body-shame, and perhaps that's just the way she is. But perhaps it's linked to trauma. How can you tell, though?
 

yssie

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If she trusts you and sees you as a confidante, perhaps she would be willing to entertain therapy if you made the suggestion?

That's not making any presumptions about her current state of mind or how she sees herself - just access to professional assistance with self-discovery. I do personally believe that therapy can be very beneficial for both people who need assistance and people who are genererally healthy and well-adjusted.
 

smitcompton

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Hi,

I'm glad you answered Yssie. I thought Jamblalya capitulated to all the posts saying her god daughter was traumatized by her experience. You all changed Jambalya's thinking.

Of course therapy is good for most everybody, but I don't think that ought to be our conclusion in this saga .

Some people are able to take lifes challenges with a certain ease. Individuals do differ on how they handle these events or how they interpret these events.
\
Jamblyala please read my post, just a few above.

Annette
 

Jambalaya

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Annette, thank you very much for posting. I really don't know what to think about my gd these days. I think it's very important for her mental health not to see herself as a victim - she insists she's not, you see. Maybe it' too hard to see herself that way. Whether she is actually a victim, or an outlier, I can't really tell..

Yssie - so here's the thing. She did have therapy, twice a week for two years. It was mandated by the court. What I've come to thinking is that perhaps she needs some low-level ongoing support. I'm concerned about her low weight. But her dad is a petite man, so...who knows.
 

yssie

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Therapy is a difficult topic. Saying "I think you could benefit from therapy" almost always implies "I think you need help", "I think you're not okay". Certainly those court mandated sessions would have begun with that bias and simply furthered that notion!!

It doesn't have to mean that, though. It can just be a venue to help someone to find out more about himself. No presumptions about "being damaged" or "needing help".

But society makes it hard to view it that way. Such a pity.
 

Jambalaya

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You're so right, Yssie. As I've got older, I've looked back on people I've been close to throughout my life and so many could have benefited from therapy and/or some kind of medication. I say that because I started benefiting from various types of medication post-40, and they have been so, so helpful. People who were severely anxious, people who were grumpy all the time even when lots of good things were going on....I actually think it's more normal for our brain chemistry to be somewhat out of whack than for it to be normal! And you're so right, too, that it's easy for people to hear "you're broken" and therefore "you are not good enough" when therapy is suggested.
 

OboeGal

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@Jambalaya, as someone who experienced sexual abuse as a child, I deeply appreciate you bringing this up for discussion and exploration, and persisting in trying to maintain an appropriate discussion in the face of some people's personal attacks on you. Your care and concern for your god-daughter, and sincere wish for what is best for her, is palpable - I'm glad she has you in her life.

I'm incredibly disappointed, though, in some of the posters here. Several people have utterly dogpiled on @Jambalaya for the "crime" of daring to ask questions and trying to understand a topic from multiple sides - to consider the possibility that an issue isn't utterly dogmatic and black-and-white. That there are complexities - and that, for us to function as a society and to meter out justice appropriately, we must consider and reconsider those. Several blatantly mischaracterized - even lied about - what she has repeatedly stated, and continued to cling to those lies when corrected. Several took their strong emotions about the topic and just frankly vented them inappropriately on her. It's been implied that there was something "wrong" with her approaching the topic in a very intellectual way - but there isn't. We cannot, as a civilized society, make judgements about criminality and justice based purely on our emotions, or we will frankly devolve into variously hairy apes flinging waste and gathering in gangs to dismember those who trigger our angry emotions.

I expect to see that behavior on Facebook these days, but it saddens me deeply to see it here.
 
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