There is a painfully uncomfortable episode of “Louie” in which the comedian Louis C.K. muses that maybe child molesters wouldn’t kill their victims if the penalty weren’t so severe. Everyone I know who watches the show vividly recalls that scene from 2010 because it conjures such a witches’ cauldron of taboo, disgust and moral outrage, all wrapped around a disturbing kernel of truth. I have similar ambivalence about the case involving former Montana high school teacher Stacey Dean Rambold. Louie concluded his riff with a comment to the effect of “I don’t know what to do with that information.” That may be the case for many of us, but with our legal and moral codes failing us, our society needs to have an uncensored dialogue about the reality of sex in schools.
As protesters decry the leniency of Rambold’s sentence — he will spend 30 days in prison after pleading guilty to raping 14-year-old Cherice Morales, who committed suicide at age 16 — I find myself troubled for the opposite reason. I don’t believe that all sexual conduct between underage students and teachers should necessarily be classified as rape, and I believe that absent extenuating circumstances, consensual sexual activity between teachers and students should not be criminalized.
via The Washington Post.
I don’t know what triggered Morales’s suicide, but I find it tragic and deeply troubling that this occurred as the case against Rambold wound its way through the criminal justice system. One has to wonder whether the extreme pressure she must have felt from those circumstances played a role.I’ve been a 14-year-old girl, and so have all of my female friends. When it comes to having sex on the brain, teenage boys got nothin’ on us.
This person apparently doesn’t understand that some types of relationship are inherently non-consensual precisely because one of the parties is an authority figure and the other party is in a vulnerable situation, creating concerns about duress, pressure, and coercion. This includes not only teachers but also parents, stepparents, psychologists, doctors, and jailkeeper/prisoner relationships.
But more to the point: the entire concept of “consent” is that people who were not able to consent (including those below the legal age of consent) are not capable of entering into adult relationships. This is why they have guardians. Parents are their guardians, but the law says that parents have to educate their children – that means send them into schools where teachers are the guardians while the children are in their keeping. We have the right to expect that our children will be protected from inappropriate sexualization. Teachers’ obligation to protect children includes not exploiting them.
The Guardian and the Atlantic have published columns aimed at normalizing pedophilia. Scientific American and the BBC have publishing articles normalizing polyamory. Now the Washington Post publishes an opinion piece that advocates decriminalizing student-teacher sex….
…Of course, that means ending the laws that bar” inter-generational” sex, as the saying goes:
Laws related to statutory rape are in place to protect children, but the issue of underage sex, and certainly of sex between students and teachers, may be one in which the law of unintended consequences is causing so much damage that society needs to reassess.
How is society “damaged” by protecting children from predatory teachers? Karasik doesn’t actually say, other than to imply that Morales might not have committed suicide had the criminal case not been pending. Despicable. Oh, and maybe students would be more likely to discuss sexual issues with school counselors.