Just like that book by Nabokov

by Wednesday.

Trigger warning for rape/sexual assault.

Oh, lovely. I’m so glad to know that victim-blaming is well and alive in our population.

Newsflash: A twelve-year-old cannot meaningfully consent to sexual activity. A twelve-year-old cannot meaningfully consent to sexual activity with an adult. A twelve-year-old cannot meaningfully consent to sexual activity with an adult in a position of authority over them.

Of course, the Straits Times has published an article titled ‘The girls are not so innocent’:

The two girls who were aged 12 and 15 when they were involved in the case where a National Institute of Education (NIE) trainee had sex with them a few years ago, are not as innocent as they seem.

[…]

Many argued that the girls were complicit in the act, especially the then-12-year-old girl who had multiple sexual partners.

‘The (then) 12-year-old girl is not innocent because she had a few partners and even became pregnant (with one of them, and not Kok himself),’ said Gladys Dee.

Echoing her sentiments was HS Ng who felt that the girls were not gullible but fully aware of their actions, and added that sex among teenagers is so ‘rampant’ these days.

Let’s see. ‘The girl is not innocent because she had a few partners’? Yes, because an unequal relationships is composed of equal partners, clearly. And having a sexual history exempts you from being raped, ever.

‘Sex among teenagers is so “rampant” these days’ is like saying that, just because sex amongst humans is so rampant these days, rape can’t occur.

And sex amongst teenagers close to each other in age is exactly the same as sex with an older relative, teacher, acquaintance, &c.? No. There’s a reason why the latter is often illegal. There is a power disparity. Power disparities complicate and sometimes negate even voiced consent.

The victim-blaming here sickens me.

I support a re-evaluation of our age of consent laws, but not for the reason this blogger puts it.

He writes that:

As much as we may not like to admit it, it is perhaps a fact that youth, both male and female, nowadays are much more open when it comes to sexual experimentation. No longer can we assume that when it comes to underage sex, it must be the guy, particularly an older guy, who forces himself on a sexually immature/naive/innocent young girl. Instead, it may be the case of an underage girl initiating sex with her equally underage boyfriend or, although this may be very rare, an underage girl seducing an older adult male.

An underage girl seducing an older adult male? Sexual precocity in children is usually a warning sign for a history of abuse, especially when they are seeking an older person. That does not mean adolescent sexuality is wrong. It means that certain manifestations of adolescent sexuality should be looked into with clarity and compassion. It means that children who display these traits should not be slutshamed and blamed and criticised and attacked, especially by adults who should know better.

You know what we need to do about our age of consent laws? Yes, we need to make sure that we accept that fourteen-, fifteen-, sixteen-year-olds can meaningfully consent to sex with each other. Yes, we need to address that ‘window of close age’ rather than simply dismissing the ability and the existence of consent. Yes, we cannot criminally convict boys and put girls in homes for having had consensual sex.

But that doesn’t make Lolita the story of a nymphet. And it doesn’t make a primary school student capable of consenting to relations with an adult teacher.

And it makes everyone who insists that a sexually-active twelve-year-old is insta-magically consenting to that, and also therefore a slut, an accomplice in rape culture.

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4 responses to “Just like that book by Nabokov

  1. I want to shake those commenters and yell “who is the adult here?!” That, and o hai continuing enforcement of the idea that “exposure to sex” = “not innocent.” D:

    I cannot find a link, but I recall reading a law review article several years ago in which the author argued that age of consent ought to take into account the age of both participants. So, for instance, seventeen-year-olds who consent to sex with one another are punished lightly or not at all, while a thirty-year-old who has sex with a “consenting” twelve-year-old faces harsher consequences. That was probably the most reasonable treatment I’ve seen of statutory rape.

    • I believe that this is the protocol in some countries; others, like France, have lower age of consent and no age limit for the partner unless it’s a ‘person in moral authority’ or something like. Either way, it seems so difficult for so many people to understand that statutory rape is rape!

      I can’t believe this. Twelve-year-olds are children. They shouldn’t ever be a victim to such heinous crimes, much less blamed.

      — Weds.

  2. A twelve-year-old CHILD! Are you kidding me, Straits Times? Slut-shaming a TWELVE-YEAR-OLD!

    Isn’t it spectacular that candidates for “dirty dirty not-so-innocent sluts who are not rapeable” have now included twelve-year-old girls? Seriously!

    • Isn’t it spectacular that candidates for “dirty dirty not-so-innocent sluts who are not rapeable” have now included twelve-year-old girls?

      Anyone woman-identified is fair game, dontcha know. UGH.

      The online article was promoted in today’s print edition of the Straits Times. I need a WARNING: POINT IS BEING MISSED rubber-stamp.

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