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No excuses: Yewtree, the stars and the victim-blaming

 

content note: brief details of sexual assaults are relayed later in this piece

 

Unlike Neil Lyndon, I was too young to experience the legendary decadence of the 1970s. I did, however, party my way through the chemical kaleidoscope of the late 80s and 90s, a time which bore many similarities. Hedonism was at a premium, good judgement and self-restraint were in scarce supply and, as one of Lyndon’s friends recalled of the previous era, at times it almost seemed like everybody was fucking everybody.

Except not quite. I remember once my (three male) housemates and I stumbled out of a club, pie-eyed, in the small hours. As we waited for the all-night bus we got chatting to some similarly mashed girls. They asked us if we had any weed and pretty much invited themselves back to our place. At some point a kind of collective ripple of realisation ran among me and my mates that these really were girls, not women. When someone asked how old they were they just giggled and said something vaguely flirtatious. We let them toke on a couple of spliffs to help them land gently from whatever they’d taken earlier then sent them grumbling back to their mums and dads. I never did find out their ages but a few days later they turned up at our door in their school uniforms at lunchtime. I was out, but my horrified housemate reported that tin the cold light of day they looked about 15 at most.

I recount this very mundane story to make a very mundane point. Not screwing children really isn’t that difficult, if you are any kind of decent human being. Even when they are dolled up in party gear and make-up, you can tell. Even when you’re shitfaced on the finest pharmaceuticals Hulme has to offer, you can still tell. Had any one of us grown men taken one of those girls to our bedrooms – even with her apparent consent – we would have known exactly what we were doing. I simply refuse to believe that teenagers in the 1970s were so very different that one couldn’t tell.

So I have little sympathy if Neil Lyndon or any of his friends from the time are waking up with the cold sweats expecting a knock on the door from Operation Yewtree. Just because they thought they could get away with it at the time, doesn’t mean it was right at the time. Justice delayed is still justice.

However there is another point on which Lyndon’s piece is deeply, grotesquely ill-conceived. I have not seen a single shred of evidence that any of the known victims of Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall and others were enthusiastic groupies who threw themselves at their heroes in pursuit of an intimate connection. Of course in the 1970s, just like today, there were hormone-crazed teenage girls, either side of the age of consent, who actively pursued sexual contact with adult crushes – whether pop stars, DJs or their teachers. While it is absolutely 100% the responsibility of the adult to ensure they do not abuse children, this is irrelevant in the cases under discussion. These victims were not carefree libertines inspired by Erica Jong’s notion of the zipless fuck. They were vulnerable victims of abuse, assault and rape.

There must be thousands of women, now in their 50s and 60s, who had teenage encounters with pop stars and celebrities through the 1960s, 70s and 80s. I do not doubt that many were under the age of legal consent at the time. I have known personally several women who would willingly own up to those kinds of experiences without any apparent regret. I am not excusing the men who took advantage of them when I note that these women are NOT now phoning up the police to report themselves as victims of historic sex crimes.

Neil Lyndon, and all those making similar points, should go back and read again the testimony of the victims in the trials of Stuart Hall and Rolf Harris, or the inquiry into the crimes of Jimmy Savile. Read the stomach-turning testimony of the shy young girl who had never had a boyfriend, whom Savile met in hospital. He befriended her family, offered to take her out to buy chips, then raped her in his camper van outside the chip shop.

Lyndon should read again the account of Stuart Hall’s victim, who was only nine years old and in her own bed when the TV presenter crept into her room and molested her.

Lyndon should think on the evidence of the victim of Rolf Harris who was just 13 when she was first molested as she climbed out of the shower while on holiday.

I could continue but I hope the point is made. There are dozens and dozens and dozens of stories like these. Not a single witness in any of the trials has remotely matched the image conjured by Lyndon of lascivious, enthusiastic teenage sexpots entrapping poor, helpless male celebrities.

What we have in Lyndon’s piece is an extended exercise in the most extreme, literal form of victim blaming. By conflating the very real and all too human victims of serial sexual predators with enthusiastic participants in a carnival of orgiastic sex, he is saying that the victims of these criminals were actively complicit in their own abuse. This is a gross slander on the victims themselves, and an appalling misrepresentation of history.

Comments

  1. says

    It’s not quite as bad as I think you’ve read it to be. For instance, this passage:

    Anybody looking back honestly on that period might agree that, with promiscuity so unrestrained and lines of conduct so lax, the difference between horribly predatory and exploitative criminal acts such as Savile’s and our own behaviour was blurred, confused, muddled. We had lost sight of the essential distinction between everybody having a good time together and some people having their abominable idea of a good time at the expense of individuals who couldn’t exercise free, adult choice in the matter.

    Although it’s arguable that, for the people he’s talking about, there was no “adult choice” in any of it, by definition. He does kind of swerve recklessly between the general, but legal, promiscuity of the time, the idea of ill-advised and illegal underage sex, and illegal and horrible rape of children.

  2. Ca1eb says

    Hi Ally,

    Been lurking here for a while and as ever have been enjoying what you write.

    I did just want to touch on something that you’ve written here as I think it does demonstrate something I think is important to the what’s happened with Yewtree and the associated fallout.

    From reading his article Lyndon does seem to be excusing certain acts of abuse as less damaging than others since the victims plainly ‘wanted it’, which in his mind muddies the waters about right and wrong. Morally a predator who does these things can justify his (or her actions) because it wasn’t that bad, it was just a it fun and nobody got hurt because it was mutually beneficial. As you point out, that’s no excuse. Sex with children is wrong regardless of the mind set of the children involved.

    However, as you recall the tale above you state how you knew these girls were underage, but still gave them drugs. Not that the I’m drawing a comparison between the acts committed by those under investigation and yourself, more to the attitudes involved. To (I’d imagine) most people of our age-group giving those girls a few puffs of cannabis wasn’t the end of the world. Maybe because we consider the drug harmless, or that the laws about usage are antiquated, or because we think a little bit of danger is fun.

    Yet, if we heard about drug dealers giving kids drugs outside of schools, we’d be pretty angry about it. Criminals preying on children? Why doesn’t someone do something to stop this NOW?!?!?!

    Maybe Lyndon and his ilk don’t see that they’ve done anything wrong because they don’t consider themselves bad people, like the men giving drugs to kids? They think they have a strong moral compass that was muddied by the lifestyles of the time and that everyone would have acted they way they did in the same circumstances.

    My point is that the law isn’t open to interpretation by anyone. Just because it felt right at the time, or suited the situation you can’t simply ignore it. The law isn’t a guideline and the reason that these famous men are being rounded up and put in prison is because they treated it like it was.

    The question is how many of us think we know better than the law, and treat things like speed limits, banned substances or even music piracy as laws we can justify breaking to ourselves?

    Cal

  3. resident_alien says

    Yeah,I remember people talked shit about that then-13-year-old girl Roman Polanski raped ,too.
    Disgusting lies about how she voluntarily went along with it because she wanted to be a model/actress/whatever, how she was a “whore” and such.
    All so they wouldn’t have to face the fact that their oh-so-great genius director was and is a vile child rapist.
    Lies,damned lies and phoney excuses.
    Good on you for calling Lyndon on his shit!

  4. Ally Fogg says

    Hi Ca1eb

    Great to see you here!

    I did give some thought as to the issue you raise.

    For me, illegality has very little to do with morality and it is the latter that I concern myself with. I think it goes without saying that when you have a group of kids who are off their tits on Es and whizz (or whatever) it is really a moot point as to whether it is legal for them to have a few drags on a spliff.

    But I don’t doubt you are right, in the 70s the notion of consenting underage sex was probably considered pretty similar to a puff on a joint, no big deal.

    However the real point I wanted to get across is that these cases we are talking about were really not about consenting underage sex at all. They were about serious, serial sexual abusers for whom consent was simply a non-issue (or arguably, lack of consent was an attraction). Even then, nobody was in any doubt as to the morality of that behaviour, which is why Lyndon’s argument is so disingenuous.

  5. Ally Fogg says

    Hunt

    I think he’s covering his back with those lines, to be honest.

    Read the extended descriptions of the girls in the audience at Top of the Pops gagging to get in the pants of their favourite stars. He’s clearly linking those girls to the Yewtree cases, when in reality they were nothing to do with it.

  6. says

    We had lost sight of the essential distinction between everybody having a good time together and some people having their abominable idea of a good time at the expense of individuals who couldn’t exercise free, adult choice in the matter.

    Who the fuck is “we?” And how is it possible to “lose sight” of a distinction that — in my experience at least — most people seem to learn about starting when we’re kids?

    However, as you recall the tale above you state how you knew these girls were underage, but still gave them drugs.

    The MILDEST of drugs, marijuana. And not in any huge quantity either, just sharing a joint or two.

  7. says

    Ca1eb wrote:

    The question is how many of us think we know better than the law, and treat things like speed limits, banned substances or even music piracy as laws we can justify breaking to ourselves?

    Lyndon is very much invoking a “going with the flow” argument, protection in numbers, or “everyone was doing it” argument, which is much like the flow of traffic arguments in traffic law, so it’s interesting that you bring up speed limits. I doubt many people are immune to such modes of thought, as you saliently point out with your example of providing minors with drugs. Sometimes the law really is what we make of it, or at least it is in our own minds. Of course, there are always limits, and when the line is crossed, almost everyone knows it.

  8. Carnation says

    @ Cal #2

    That’s actually a very interesting observation. I’m not sure how familiar you are with the “drug scene”, but even if you aren’t, I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised to know that drug dealers don’t hang about schools seeling their goods to children – school-children get their gear from their older brothers/sisters and/or peers, and on it goes. Flogging drugs to schoolchildren isn’t profitable and is fraught with risks that no serious dealer would be interested in taking.

    But I don’t think affects the point that you were making – Ally *did* break the law in supplying drugs to a minor (is that a distinct offence?). In a legal sense, his motivations are irrelevant, but in a moral sense there is simply no comparison between a communal consumption of mild narcotics and the targeting of an individual child for criminal gratification, borne out of a sense of extreme predatory entitlement.

    Your main point “Maybe Lyndon and his ilk don’t see that they’ve done anything wrong because they don’t consider themselves bad people”

    Very few bad people consider themselves bad people. NAMBLA don’t consider themselves bad people and in fact consider themselves victims. Pim Fortuyn agreed, interestingly.

    An extremely famous rock star, it is widely known, had a 14 year old girlfriend in the mid 1970s. That is still fundamentally wrong. He is adored and respected by millions, including different state functionaries.

    On a personal level, a liberal female friend of mine asked me if I didn’t think things were a bit “out of hand” with the Yewtree prosecutions – after all “doesn’t everyone get touched by older men when they’re in their teens?”

    This is the kind of attitude that just has to be disputed.

  9. says

    But I don’t doubt you are right, in the 70s the notion of consenting underage sex was probably considered pretty similar to a puff on a joint, no big deal.

    You should doubt it. I’ve heard a lot of downright hysterical and dishonest things said about that period, mostly by extremely narrow-minded authoritarians like George Will and ex-Pope Palpadict, who want us to believe that long-haired hedonistic commie hippie revolutionaries were on the verge of causing Armageddon and destroying civilization as we knew it. The claim that adults taking advantage of minors was considered “no big deal” by large segments of the population should be considered suspect at best.

  10. Ally Fogg says

    Who the fuck is “we?” And how is it possible to “lose sight” of a distinction that — in my experience at least — most people seem to learn about starting when we’re kids?

    Precisely.

    You know what though… there is a germ of an interesting article in there trying to get out. I think someone could argue that the culture and society of the time, particularly in showbiz circles, was so fucked up, that sexual mores were kind of ‘demob crazy’ and that notions of sexual libertarianism had run way ahead of notions of sexual consent, making the late sixties and seventies a rapist’s playground.

    However Lyndon loses all credibility on that score when he starts going on about girls queuing up to get into the TOTP dressing rooms etc, which clearly conflates the victims in the Yewtree cases to consenting sexual partners.

    it would also only carry weight as an article if the author were to say “Oh my god, what we were doing at the time was clearly rape. We knew it at the time but didn’t care.”

    What Lyndon says is “Oh my god, what if someone were to think that what we did at the time was rape…”

  11. Jacob Schmidt says

    Yet, if we heard about drug dealers giving kids drugs outside of schools, we’d be pretty angry about it.

    Cal

    “We” as in many people, probably, yes. “We,” as in us, myself included, no. Now, something like opium, or prescription narcotics, I’d probably be angry. Some 20 year old selling dimebags of pot to 15-16 year olds? No.

    (That’s not to say we should simply allow drug dealers to sell to teenagers; we shouldn’t. Outrage just isn’t my response.)

    More on topic, I’m reminded of the somewhat famous case of a defense attorney claiming that an 11 year old girl was at fault:

    Taylor questioned why the underage girl had not been charged with anything for choosing to violate that rule, indicating that she was “the reason” that the encounters happened.

    “Like the spider and the fly. Wasn’t she saying, ‘Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly?’ ” Taylor asked.

  12. gjenganger says

    Well, Ally, going on about groupies as a way of defending (implicitly or explicitly) the Jimmy Saviles of this world is indeed “<em? a gross slander on the victims themselves, and an appalling misrepresentation of history.. But is that what he is doing? It sounds more to me that he would say that there is a clear difference between preying on vulnerable and unwilling victims, and not saying no when someone willing, eager, and apparently knowing her own mind seeks you out. Do you agree that there is a difference, or would you say that one is just as evil than the other?

  13. gjenganger says

    @Ca1eb 2
    The law varies through time and place. Back in the fifties both homosexuality and pornography were against the law. Today it is illegal to give a 20-year-old a beer in the USA, and it is illegal (for a woman) to drive in Saudi Arabia. In the face of these examples, do you still say say “the law isn’t open to interpretation by anyone. Just because it felt right at the time, or suited the situation you can’t simply ignore it. The law isn’t a guideline? Or would you want to – ehhrm – interpret the law a bit in those cases?

  14. Kilian Hekhuis says

    Another passage:

    Adult affairs may, therefore, have been conducted to varying degrees of harmony and amicability; but the promiscuity of the age also gave permission or possibility for the abuse and exploitation of defenceless minors which was, I now see, little more than an inch away from what the rest of us were getting up to, with adult consent.

    I’m really not certain how one could conclude that Neil Lyndon excused Saville or wrote that Saville’s victims were “enthustiastic groupies”. What he writes is that all the “promiscuity” that was going on back then, blurred the lines. Sure, we are able to draw lines very clearly now, but back then, it was different.

  15. Ally Fogg says

    Well, Ally, going on about groupies as a way of defending (implicitly or explicitly) the Jimmy Saviles of this world is indeed “a gross slander on the victims themselves, and an appalling misrepresentation of history.. But is that what he is doing?

    Whether or not he is doing it as a way of defending (implicitly or explicitly) the Jimmy Saviles of the world is by the by.

    The plain fact is that he is going on about groupies (and more generally sexual permissiveness, specifically of women) as some sort of relevant factor to the crimes of Savile et al.

  16. Ally Fogg says

    What he writes is that all the “promiscuity” that was going on back then, blurred the lines.

    And I am writing that this is unmitigated, untrue and offensive bollocks.

  17. Ca1eb says

    Well thanks for having me Ally!

    Maybe I read Lyndon’s piece differently, but the impression I got was that he was saying that everyone was doing it, not as a defence for Saville et al, but as in kind of a defence for everyone else. What they did was wrong and abhorrent but for the rest of ‘us’ it was different and nobody got hurt. Obviously ‘us’ being 1970’s & 80’s society as a whole.

    Actually I’ve just refreshed the page and see my response almost matches Hunt‘s! Great minds etc.

    Whilst I agree with you Raging Bee who is to say that our opinion is the correct one? You could argue that the law was only slightly broken and that hardly matters, but it’s still breaking the law.

  18. thetalkingstove says

    On a personal level, a liberal female friend of mine asked me if I didn’t think things were a bit “out of hand” with the Yewtree prosecutions – after all “doesn’t everyone get touched by older men when they’re in their teens?”

    Yikes. How depressing. It horrifies me to think of what the women I know might have had to endure in silence.

    Good piece, Ally. Thanks.

  19. Carnation says

    @ Gjganger

    Your question is exactly what Jonathon King asks regarding his convictions. He is adamant he is innocent.

    In my opinion, his crimes are as appalling as any of those we are hearing about via operation Yewtree.

  20. mildlymagnificent says

    What he writes is that all the “promiscuity” that was going on back then, blurred the lines. Sure, we are able to draw lines very clearly now, but back then, it was different.

    It was different? Well, I was there back then. It was different in lots of ways. Legally different in some profound ways.

    When it comes to sexual offences – there was no legal concept of rape in marriage for instance. When underage girls are involved, sex with them was called “carnal knowledge”. It wasn’t rape, it was simply illegal sex. Where do you think the term jailbait comes from. In conversations among men and boys, whether on street corners or at social events, if a man remarked on an attractive young woman he was often warned by his mates using the passionkiller word, jailbait. As Ally says, an older young man can easily judge just how young these girls-playing-at-grownups are likely to be. After all, a very few years earlier the girls in his class at school were doing the same thing and many such men could easily have sisters (and their girlfriends) who dress, groom and behave in similar ways. They know how old they are.

    Blurred? Not so much.

    As for the drugs. Everybody had already stepped over the illegal line long before any discussion of drugs began. The girls we’re talking about were young enough that any alcohol they had consumed during the evening was an “illegal” drug.

  21. gjenganger says

    @Ally 16

    What he writes is that all the “promiscuity” that was going on back then, blurred the lines

    And I am writing that this is unmitigated, untrue and offensive bollocks.

    Does that not depend on which lines we are talking about? Just because Jimmy Savile etc. was always and obviously beyond any possible line, that does not mean that people from the 1970’s should be blamed every time they fail to live up to 2010’s norms. You mentioned in one of your blogs that there were progressive, positive people back then who wrote what would sound like paedophilia apology today (Gayle Rubin, Pat Califia, …). Do you give them the same condemnation and expect the same repentance as you would to contemporary writers? Or do you give them some benefit of changing times and mores?

  22. Carnation says

    @ All

    I reckon, as a relevant aside, that there is far more promiscuity and far more drug use now than in the 1970s (but probably less than the 90s).

    I’m basing this on no evidence what-so-ever, and I’m open to anybody confirming or contradicting it.

  23. gjenganger says

    @Carnation 19
    I do not know anything about Jonathon King, and Wikipedia is not that informative. But does it matter? Even if it is wrong when Jonathon King says it, it does not follow that it is wrong when everybody else says it too.

  24. Ally Fogg says

    You mentioned in one of your blogs that there were progressive, positive people back then who wrote what would sound like paedophilia apology today (Gayle Rubin, Pat Califia, …). Do you give them the same condemnation and expect the same repentance as you would to contemporary writers? Or do you give them some benefit of changing times and mores?

    yes, absolutely, I expect the same repentance as I would from contemporary writers.

    I think it is pretty pointless hanging out to dry writers who expressed opinions back in the 70s that we now considered dangerously wrong-headed. However I do expect all of them to put their hands up and say “Yes I was so terribly, terribly wrong to say what I did and I now wish I’d reailsed that at the time.” Then we shrug and move on.

    I would have very little patience for someone who wrote something like “well, you know, we all thought stuff like that at the time, don’t blame me, everyone else was doing it to…”

    That’s a pretty weaselly (and damaging) line to take, and I think it is the direct equivalent of Lyndon’s piece today.

  25. gjenganger says

    @Ally 10

    I think someone could argue that the culture and society of the time, particularly in showbiz circles, was so fucked up, that sexual mores were kind of ‘demob crazy’ and that notions of sexual libertarianism had run way ahead of notions of sexual consent,

    Good point

    it would also only carry weight as an article if the author were to say “Oh my god, what we were doing at the time was clearly rape. We knew it at the time but didn’t care.”

    This reminds me of some of the right-left debates back in Scandinavia. After the wall had fallen there were many old right-wingers to point out that all the socialist countries (Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Albania, Cambodia, …) had really been brutal and bloody dictatorships. Yet the former progressives were strangely reluctant to admit their guilt, repudiate their past, and do public penance for having sided with dictatorships against democracy. They pleaded instead that they had acted with sincerity and the best intentions, that they had followed the currents of their time, and that they had no obligation to forswear their past. I rather sympathise with the progressives in this case.

  26. Ca1eb says

    @Carnation

    Actually I understand that selling drugs to school kids would be pretty silly, selling coke to bankers would be a much better way to make profit! But one of the points I was making is that with most crimes we can often justify our own complicity, but it’s when others do it then it’s bad. We are freedom fighters, they are terrorists kind of thing.

    I think drugs are a great example of this. Buying some weed from a mate who grows it in his back garden doesn’t hurt anybody, therefore it’s a victimless crime. But if a 18 year woman seduces a willing boy on the eve of his 16th birthday couldn’t you say that’s the same thing?

    I’m not saying either is right, just that the methods of justification are the same. In both instances the law has been broken, but morally we make a judgement about which we deem acceptable.

    You mention the famous rock star (whom we all know), and I remember seeing a talk show (probably 20 years ago) when the girlfriend in question was talking about her experiences. The line that stuck with me was (to paraphrase) “my friends would go to the pictures with their boyfriends, I’d be flown to a party in Paris”.

    What amazes me is that her parents were okay with that?

  27. Pete says

    I struggle with this sort of argument. Not the general, is sexual assault ok question, that’s easy, it’s the cultural relativism. The 1970s seems quite recent but culture has changed considerably since then. Should we arrest and punish people who did things in the past that were, at the time, culturally sanctioned but now are considered abhorrent (note I’m not talking about Saville or Harris here, more a general question).

    After the abolition of slavery, the most evil thing I can think of, should all of the former slave owners have been punished for legally owning slaves? If, in 40 years time, we consider the idea of eating animals and the way we treat animals abhorrent, should we who are now meat eaters be punished to the same extent as someone breaking the socials norms of that day?

    I’m not sure there’s a right answer to these questions. It seems to me that there’s a clear difference between a minor willingly having sex with their favourite pop star and the likes of what Saville and Harris did to people who absolutely didn’t approve of what was being done to them. Then again, I agree that we need to protect minors, who don’t have the life experience or maturity to adequately consent. But then even who we consider a minor is different depending on what culture you come from. In some places, my first sexual encounter as a 17 year old with my then 18 year old girlfriend would be considered, legally at least, sexual assault but in the UK it was fine.

    It’s a minefield. There are clear lines that can be drawn; there is black and white. There is also, however, some grey that I can’t resolve to my satisfaction.

  28. 123454321 says

    One thing that strikes me is that there seem to be far more young females who appear to be completely and openly obsessed with male pop stars than young males obsessed with female pop stars. Not sure if it’s always been like that.

  29. Lucy says

    1

    “One thing that strikes me is that there seem to be far more young females who appear to be completely and openly obsessed with male pop stars than young males obsessed with female pop stars. Not sure if it’s always been like that.”

    Young males are obsessed by male sports stars and male guitarists and male rappers and male authors and male painters and male revolutionaries and male bloggers, and films and TV and radio and games about males.

  30. Lucy says

    “On a personal level, a liberal female friend of mine asked me if I didn’t think things were a bit “out of hand” with the Yewtree prosecutions – after all “doesn’t everyone get touched by older men when they’re in their teens?”

    Never met a woman who wasn’t, at least once.

  31. Lucy says

    “It seems to me that there’s a clear difference between a minor willingly having sex with their favourite pop star ”

    Only if you believe in the groupie cliche. But bear in mind who invented it. The reality as told by Mandy Smith and others is somewhat different. Rock star and decent human being tend to be mutually exclusive.

  32. says

    Hi Ally
    I’m guessing the mod on the Guardian site has generated a wee bit of traffic on this…….

    I’m a normal everyday sort a guy – father of 2 young women 18,22 – thought I’d leave a comment

    It was way too much for the Guardian mod – what the hell was wrong with this?

    “Rule of thumb should be – be kind to each other full stop.
    Legal ages for stuff,choosing to have sex,driving,being taught how to kill [military] voting etc are just that – legal ages. Not saying there shouldn’t be standards – vulnerable people should always be protected but its not always as black or white as would be convenient for a legal interpretation – there may be shades (excuse the pun) of grey”

  33. marduk says

    I can’t really imagine the 1970s. Its a crappy argument but HIV/AIDS was such a big deal (and at the time unmanageable as a condition) when I was at the age of maximally libertine behaviour that I admit I have no point of reference and I really wasn’t a massive square either. Interestingly, I think, this period is often forgotten by people who think slut shaming is a Victorian attitudes kind of thing, because I remember when nobody looked kindly on the flagrantly promiscuous when we were all trying to not Die Of Ignorance.

    I think you’re probably right anyway, I just suspect I’m part of a sub-generation that is going to look at these things a bit oddly and sort of didn’t entirely notice when it changed back a bit either. I’m always really bloody pleased whenever I’m reminded there is such a thing as a grey haired Holly Johnson.

    @Lucy
    Not really, they are obsessed with things at that age. Sooner or later most ‘young men’ give their parents a period of extended concern with regard to their position on the autism spectrum. There is no male developmental phase equivalent to phase of screaming at The Beatles or Bros, probably because boys develop later.

  34. gjenganger says

    @Hugaddict 36
    Not hard to see why that got modded. You are hinting that there just possibly might be rare situations where even underage sex might from a rational point of view not necessarily deserve total and unquestioning condemnation. They are a bit sensitive over there.

    I agree with you up to a point – the moral problem is a matter of how mature and vulnerable people are, and the fixed age limits we need for legal reasons are unavoidably a bit arbitrary by comparison. But we should add that those who break these laws – clearly defined and not hard to follow – cannot complain about the resulting punishment whatever the moral case might turn out to be. Like that school teacher who ran off to France with an underage pupil not long ago. I may suspect that he was an idiot, sincerely in love, and likely even less mature than the girl, whatever his age. I could even wonder how much harm the girl actually came to, and I certainly see no reason to describe him as the most evil rapist since Nero. But none of this makes any difference. He was an adult, the law is clear and justified, and he was wrong to break it. Whatever I choose to feel about him personally there is no doubt that he amply deserves his prison sentence.

  35. johngreg says

    Lucy said:

    Only if you believe in the groupie cliche. But bear in mind who invented it.

    And who, prey tell, invented the “groupie cliché”?

    Rock star and decent human being tend to be mutually exclusive.

    Talk about generalizing! Sheesh. Also, prey tell, just how many “rock stars” do you actually know?

  36. says

    hey gjenganger

    no – I don’t agree with the moderation
    I’ve read the rules and – nada!

    also there were quite a few others which got pulled – seemed to be innocuous.
    (they may have mentioned the moderation – big no no on Cif)

  37. 123454321 says

    “Whatever I choose to feel about him personally there is no doubt that he amply deserves his prison sentence.”

    Ok, but why do women in similar positions who abuse younger boys not get similar prison sentences?

  38. 123454321 says

    “Young males are obsessed by male sports stars and male guitarists and male rappers and male authors and male painters and male revolutionaries and male bloggers, and films and TV and radio and games about males.”

    Oh come on now, Lucy, you know very well that young girls apply a completely different set of behaviours to their male idols (many of whom are usually older). I’ve seen them act hysterical as they cry uncontrollably (often in groups) as they reach out to try and touch the icons they appear to worship above and beyond anything else. Boys don’t behave like that in those particular circumstances, generally.

  39. Thil says

    Frankly Ally I think your story is just a case of a hunch coincidentally panning out. I think that in reality the only way to be absolutely sure you’re never commit statutory is to ask the age of every one of your potential sexual partners who doesn’t have lines under her eyes

    As far as I’m concerned you either have to say that every man who doesn’t explicitly ask his partner’s age (you know like unless she’s clearly middle aged or older) is morally just as bad as a statutory rapist, or you have to say ignorance should be allowed as a defence (at least in some cases)

  40. Thil says

    @Pete

    The difference is that regardless of the morality of it black slavery was indisputable not illegal 300 years ago, whereas the age of consent did in fact exist 40 years ago even if it was enforced less.

  41. anat says

    Boys don’t behave like that in those particular circumstances, generally.

    Don’t know how they behave elsewhere, but in Israel in the 1990s boys used to throw objects (most commonly bottles) at rock-singers. (I can’t remember who the performer was that managed to mitigate the danger to himself and bandmates by ‘reminding’ the audience that people who throw bottles have small dicks.)

  42. Thil says

    It’s kind of ironic that the only reason Lyndon is able to spin these kinds of arguments is because the law says that girls in question can’t consent. Because they can’t legally consent everyone is less interested in ascertaining whether or not tried to consent (like they would be in the case of an adult rape victim), thus leaving people like Lyndon free to claim that these girls were throwing themselves at famous people.

  43. Pete says

    @Thil

    Well of course you’re right but I’m more interested in the morality than the legality. But you make a good point, when it comes to whether to prosecute, the laws at the time are relevant.

    I don’t actually know what the laws around age of consent and sexual harassment in general were in the 70s but I will say that from my experience, human behaviour is more governed by societal norms than it is by laws (although the laws can contribute to those norms). Take drink driving as an example. I lived in Malta for a while, and while drink driving is just as against the law as it is here, it is more socially successful and so far more people do it (at least it seemed that way to me). Same for smoking indoors. Therefore I think it is important to investigate the social norms as well as the laws.

    I still think there’s a moral difference between a 15 year old sleeping with a 25 year old willingly and a 25 year old forcing themselves on the 15 year old, which seems to be the sort of distinction Neil Lyndon is (poorly) trying to make. I think both are wrong I just think one is more evil than the other. That’s also different to a 15 year old sleeping with a 16 year old consensually, which I don’t think is wrong at all.

  44. Thil says

    @Pete

    The only reason you would consider societal norms is that as you point out they effect what people consider right and wrong, ….well frankly disagreeing with the morality of the law isn’t a defence for breaking it. I’m sure that the guys who preform female circumcisions believe that they are doing is morally the right thing but we don’t give them a free pass because of that

    If you believe that a grown adult having sex with a 15 year old is wrong it stands to reason that you should think a 15 year old having sex with anyone is wrong because the intent of the mental maturity of the partner has no bearing on the violation as far as I can see.

    Even if they were both under the age of consent the logical conclusion would be that there was a mutual violation, not no violation.

  45. marduk says

    @Carnation and @Thil

    J. King is more complicated than it looks and shows this cuts both ways in a way. On balance I think morally he was guilty as sin, there is some technical doubt about one of the cases in the court room, the problem is that when you prosecute people under the 1967 act you arre prosecuting people under what I’d consider to be discriminatory, hateful legislation. It was fit for purpose in prosecuting King but a lot of other men prosecuted under it went to prison because the law said no man under 21 could consent to have sex with another man.

    The law brings itself into disrepute when it works like that.

  46. Pete says

    @Thil.

    “frankly disagreeing with the morality of the law isn’t a defence for breaking it.” As a general rule, not sure I agree. In this specific example? Sure.

    What I’m getting at is that here, on hetpat, we have no say in how the legal process will deal with these cases. That’s for the courts. All we can discuss is the morality of the cases and different situations. We can then try to influence the law through various means, but for me, I want to work out what I think of something morally and then use that to inform what I think the legal stance should be.

    Take your example of FGM. I find the act abhorrent. I would find it equally so if it were legal and I would hope for a change in the law. Aren’t most of these operations world wide performed in places where it is legal? I find the 25 year old sleeping with the 15 year old equally troubling when done in a jurisdiction where it is legal. If societal norms were different, however, I would almost certainly have a different view and that’s where I have trouble judging people from a different culture and/or a different time. History tells us that in the future, our moral views will likely be judged equally poorly by our descendants.

  47. Thil says

    @marduk

    but they haven’t tried to prosecute anyone for having sex with a man over 16 and under 21. they’ve only tried to prosecute people for things that were illegal then AND NOW

    I don’t see the ethical problem of using a just part of an overall unjust law to prosecute someone?

  48. Thil says

    @Pete

    If each person can just decide that they don’t consider the law moral and ignore it then what is the point of having laws at all?

    “If societal norms were different, however, I would almost certainly have a different view”

    I’m sure if I was born in North Korea I’d think that Kim Il-sung should rule the world. I’m sure that I was born in Egypt three hundred years ago I’d think that women were indisputable inferior to men.
    The fact is I was born in to English middle class in 1993 and it makes sense to me that paedophilia should be illegal. Even if I only think that because my reasoning has been corrupted by the biases of the culture I live in I must say that I don’t think it makes any sense to attempt to reason based on the assumption that foundations of logical frame work are wrong

  49. Pete says

    @Thil

    I think we agree more than we disagree. Whether it’s ever moral to break the law is sort of off topic, but there are times I think it is the right thing to do. At the same time, if you do that, you have to be willing to at least potentially make the sacrifice of going to jail.

    More on topic, Ally is right to point out that what Savile and Harris did was both illegal and against the social norms of the times and today. It’s a morally and legally open and shut case, it’s black and white, what they did was evil and I’m glad that at least Harris is going to see some consequences for what he did.

    What Lyndon seems to be trying to say is that there are other activities that by today’s standards seem atrocious, but by the standards of the time just seemed normal. Now, ignoring the legality and focussing on the morality, what I struggle with on a personal level is this: Am I comfortable judging someone who did things that were considered acceptable at the time (I don’t actually know, incidentally, how acceptable those things were considered. Hypothetically let’s say they were acceptable), when had I been around at that time, I likely would have acted the same, and knowing that by judging, I leave myself open to the judgement of future generations. I think the answer is yes, I am, but the question makes me uncomfortable.

  50. says

    Ally, you’d happily throw a man in prison to be subjected to some of the most horrific abuse known to man as a subhuman sex offender for having perfectly consensual sex with an underage girl. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with consensual sex. I bet you can’t give even one argument as to why consensual sex with underage girls is wrong other than tautological rhetoric like ‘she can’t consent because the law says she can’t consent’.

    No doubt you leapt for joy when Jeremy Forrest was locked up and the key thrown away. Certainly the girl didn’t as her life was ruined just as much as his was because of the actions of the puritans. I’ve explained why Jeremy Forrest was right to have sex with an underage girl on my blog: https://holocaust21.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/why-jeremy-forrest-was-right-to-fall-in-love-with-an-underage-girl/

    As for Rolf Harris, this blog post gives a lot of insight as to why he was not guilty and his trial was a travesty of justice: http://www.libertarianview.co.uk/current-affairs/rolf-harris-beyond-reasonable-doubt

    And this blog contains a lot of material explaining why Savile was innocent: http://www.jimcannotfixthis.blogspot.com

    I’m curious as to whether you’ll publish this comment, I suspect you won’t, as certainly the crappy tabloid rag you write for called The Guardian would routinely delete my comments – and those of many other people – in its attempt to create one politically correct morality. And now with a million men classed as subhuman sex offenders in the United States and such policies spreading worldwide, we are seeing the nightmarish results of the ‘politically correct police state’.

  51. Thil says

    @holocaust21

    “I bet you can’t give even one argument as to why consensual sex with underage girls is wrong”

    Because they lack the maturity to give informed consent

    Also I think you mean “Jeremy Forrest was not wrong”

  52. Thil says

    @Pete
    If I did break an unjust law I’d think it was wrong that I should go to jail because I’d think the law shouldn’t exist, not because I’d think the prosecutor should admire my moral conviction.

    I have to say I think not judging others because you’re afraid of being judged your self sounds cowardly

  53. Jacob Schmidt says

    I’m curious as to whether you’ll publish this comment, I suspect you won’t, as certainly the crappy tabloid rag you write for called The Guardian would routinely delete my comments – and those of many other people – in its attempt to create one politically correct morality.

    Honestly, I’d delete comments like this out of spite.

    Ally didn’t take kindly to the last person who supported sex with minors, so you might be right in any case.

    Now, ignoring the legality and focussing on the morality, what I struggle with on a personal level is this: Am I comfortable judging someone who did things that were considered acceptable at the time (I don’t actually know, incidentally, how acceptable those things were considered. Hypothetically let’s say they were acceptable), when had I been around at that time, I likely would have acted the same, and knowing that by judging, I leave myself open to the judgement of future generations.

    I feel like punishing people for behaviour they no longer engage in, that they now recognize is wrong, and that was socially accepted at the time is unproductive. I am happy judging them, however.

  54. Thil says

    @Jacob Schmidt

    “Honestly, I’d delete comments like this out of spite”
    If I ran a blog I wouldn’t delete any comments other than spam

  55. Lucy says

    2

    “Oh come on now, Lucy, you know very well that young girls apply a completely different set of behaviours to their male idols (many of whom are usually older). I’ve seen them act hysterical as they cry uncontrollably (often in groups) as they reach out to try and touch the icons they appear to worship above and beyond anything else. Boys don’t behave like that in those particular circumstances, generally.”

    You’ve obviously never watched the news with rage boys crying and beating their heads, chanting Allah’s or one if his representatives on earth’s name. Or seen the Shia’s self-flagulating. Or watched a throng of teenage boys at a Slipknot gig who all sit down in unison when they are instructed to by their leader. Or at an Eminem gig all tear an effigy of his wife apart as instructed to by him. Or at a riot, all rush forward on the say so of the chief rioter. Or in the military march in step. Emotional and conforming behaviour is not the preserve of teenage girls.

  56. Lucy says

    Johngreg

    “And who, prey tell, invented the “groupie cliché”?”

    Well it wasn’t teenage girls. It was the men who slept with them and the male music journalists who wrote about it. No 14 year old girl who hoped to catch the attention of the boy they’d fallen in love with and run off and get married and have his babies thought of herself as disposable or avaricious or immune to harm.

    “Talk about generalizing! Sheesh. Also, prey tell, just how many “rock stars” do you actually know?”

    A few, I followed a few bands in my day, a few if my friends have “dated” some of very famous rock stars briefly. I think at some point, somebody should go through the back copies of NME and biographies and launch some police investigations off the back of it because I can distinctly remember reading several accounts in the 90s of sexual abuse which at the time were presented as the boys being rock n’ roll. And it stands to reason that somebody with that toxic combo of crippling insecurity needing constant reassurance of adoration of millions combined with the monstrous ego required to feel you deserve it does not for a well rounded personality make..

  57. Lucy says

    3

    “Ok, but why do women in similar positions who abuse younger boys not get similar prison sentences?”

    Who says they don’t?

  58. Lucy says

    “Ally, you’d happily throw a man in prison to be subjected to some of the most horrific abuse known to man”

    What horrific abuse? If prisoners are being horrifically abused in jail then this would be a criminal matter. Sex offenders are segregated to prevent this.

    ” having perfectly consensual sex with an underage girl.”

    Contradiction in terms.

    ‘she can’t consent because the law says she can’t consent’.

    The law says she is not competent to consent. A minor can’t enter into any kind of contract with you, verbal or written.


    “Certainly the girl didn’t as her life was ruined just as much as his was because of the actions of the puritans.”

    She didn’t initially think of herself as his victim, no. But then she is a child, causing social services concern, she was in his thrall and in a media spotlight and in conflict with her family. Let’s see what she has to say in another ten years about it all. I’ve hear other girls in those sorts of situations come to very different conclusions about their situations and the damage it caused when they have the maturity to do so.

  59. Lucy says

    “I’ve seen them act hysterical as they cry uncontrollably (often in groups) as they reach out to try and touch the icons they appear to worship above and beyond anything else. Boys don’t behave like that in those particular circumstances, generally.”

    Football.

  60. Ally Fogg says

    holocaust21

    I could list at least a dozen reasons why having sex with underage children is wrong, not one of which would be ‘because it is against the law.’

    Regular readers know that I am no fan of prison as a solution to anything and only too aware of the abuses that can happen in British prisons (although you might want to check the work of Amnesty International and keep your hyperbole in check.

    For the record, I have no particularly strong feelings about Jeremy Forrest and what would have been an appropriate punishment. However I have absolutely no qualms in saying that it is unequivocally wrong for teachers to have sexual relationships with pupils. Even if in any one case there is no reason to believe the victim was in any way coerced, pressurised or damaged by the experience, there is still an overwhelming need to protect children from the risks of predatory exploitation when they are, by definintion, unable to give fully informed and mature consent to anyone, least of all a teacher or another person in a position of authority or respect.

    The plain truth is that our society is unfortunately awash with people who have been traumatised and emotionally and psychologically damaged by adults who believed they had a right to have sex with them, and by those who enable, excuse and justify those abusers, which would appear to include you..

    I won’t delete your post above because it allows me to make some important points in reply, however I will tell you now that I have no wish to host a platform for you to debate any of the above. On this site at least, none of the above is up for debate.

    And I will tell you now that if you post anything else as deliberately inflammatory and grotesquely ugly as “Jeremy Forrest was right to have sex with an underage girl”, if you post any more links to ludicrous, denialist conspiracy crap about Savile and others, I will have absolutely no hesitation in deleting and banning your arse before the pixels have hit the page.

  61. says

    @Thil

    “Because they lack the maturity to give informed consent”

    Perhaps you’d like to expand on that. Your argument makes no sense. It seems to have just been pulled from some textbook ’15 random sophistries to give in support of age of consent laws’.

    @Lucy

    “What horrific abuse? If prisoners are being horrifically abused in jail then this would be a criminal matter. Sex offenders are segregated to prevent this.”

    Perhaps you should try being caged as a subhuman sex offender for years on end. Your whole life over. It doesn’t matter whether you are murdered or not, your whole life disappears in front of your eyes – certainly far worse than being raped. And whether you admit it or not, real abuse does go on in prison.

    “The law says she is not competent to consent. A minor can’t enter into any kind of contract with you, verbal or written.”

    Those words are just rhetoric, they are just restating “a minor can’t consent because the law says she cant consent”. You clearly have no real arguments.

    “Let’s see what she has to say in another ten years about it all. I’ve hear other girls in those sorts of situations come to very different conclusions about their situations and the damage it caused when they have the maturity to do so.”

    Rubbish. Many grow angry and resentful. For instance, someone recently mentioned a youtube video to me of a woman, now older, reflecting on her relationship with an older man at the age of 13 and she is extremely angry at those who support the age of consent (and rightly so):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PTMVtmO8Do

    I’ve also personally known people who have been ‘sexually assaulted’ and it didn’t bother them.

  62. Carnation says

    “There is no male developmental phase equivalent to phase of screaming at The Beatles or Bros, probably because boys develop later.”

    I don’t think this is true, and many football crowds would confirm that.

    Again going back to Jonathon King, he would dazzle boys, gay/bi/straight/unsure/undecided, with his fame, money, connections, access to very attractive women, and then use them for his own gratification.

    Being dazzled by stardom isn’t a female preserve.

  63. Ally Fogg says

    Carnation / Lucy / 123etc

    I think there is a fairly profound difference (as a generalisation) between male and female sexuality on this score and it is probably exaggerated among teenagers.

    I think girls are much more likely to be drawn to famous and powerful men. In practice, for teenagers, that means girls having a crush on a celebrity or star.

    Whether that is innate or socialised I am much less sure, maybe a bit of both.

  64. Carnation says

    @ Ally

    I think that that’s true, but where you have an unusually insecure/low self-esteem teenage personality, gender differences don’t matter too much.

    I think that you’re right in that more girls than boys have crushes on celebrities, but I think that when confronted with the advances of a very famous and/or powerful/esteemed man (or woman, before anyone starts), that any teenage brain isn’t really equipped with the necessary skills to understand the power dynamics and what is going on.

    Examples abound – and sometimes the victims are the opposite of what might generally be thought – Les McKeown of the Bay City Rollers, for example, says he was date raped by Tam Paton. Jonathon King’s victims were often walking down the road when a Rolls Royce with a famous TV personality stopped to talk. In both cases, some victims had to interest in males sexually but went along with what went on – questioning themselves about what happened, rather than the more power individual.

  65. Carnation says

    @ Ally, others

    And of course, the power of the abuser can be relative – a Priest in a small town has an indordinate amount of power, so too does a sports coach you can “make or break” careers. Likewise officers and NCOs in the armed forces.

  66. H says

    still misses a point about consent and being underage. As adults we know that being teenage is to be a seething mass of hormones uncoupled with experience, judgement or capacity. Because adults know this and because children, we have agreed, cannot properly consent, fucking children is always wrong. Even if those children grow up to be adults who blame themselves so much as not to consider themselves exploited, unlawfully AND immorally. Immorally because it doesn’t matter what crushes or obsessions children have, their genitals have matured ahead of their frontal lobes. An adult is aware of consequences in a way that a child is not. The balance of power is skewed. There’d be no room for talk of blurred lines if it was widely understood why laws are the way they are. It’s not, in this instance, a question of legal versus moral, whatever the degree of damage.

  67. Ally Fogg says

    I think that you’re right in that more girls than boys have crushes on celebrities, but I think that when confronted with the advances of a very famous and/or powerful/esteemed man (or woman, before anyone starts), that any teenage brain isn’t really equipped with the necessary skills to understand the power dynamics and what is going on

    Oh absolutely.

  68. marduk says

    @Ally

    I don’t think it is about sexuality, I think it is about physiology. You’re looking at approximately 3 years but potentially as much as 6 years difference in onset of puberty. This is not a hard phenomenon to explain. It may not be that ‘rich and famous’ is as important as the degree of distance involved. Obviously this finds expression through society, I think the people throwing their knickers at Franz Liszt were a bit older somehow.

    This may also explain some other gender differences that persist in adulthood. It actually seems a bit unfair to me that this isn’t taken into account. During the period of maximum pre-puberty geeking out a friend of mine acquired an obsessive interest in hi-fi that led to him being a semi-famous physicist. His wife, who he actually went to school with but didn’t know at this time spent the same period following a boy band around the country and then transitioned into the start of her underage drinking career with an unsuitable motorbike owning boyfriend. Problem is that the Guardian would say my friend benefited from patriarchy and his wife was a victim but the truth is the victim thought the patriarch was a nerd at the point and she wasn’t wrong. Why shouldn’t he see the benefit, there were a lot of pints, motorbike rides and sexual encounters he didn’t have while he was getting an early start on calculus.

    The other moral of that story is that it isn’t entirely irrelevant to the vulnerability of young women either.

  69. Adiabat says

    Ally, do you know if anyone has gone to the trouble of finding equivalent successful prosecutions from 40 years ago to show that what people are being accused of today would’ve been prosecuted back then, if they knew then what we know now?

    To me, that seems to be the best way to dispel the ‘temporal imperialism’* argument made by Lyndon and others.

    * referencing Hartley’s famous “The past is a foreign country” quote of course.

  70. marduk says

    I think motorbike owning boyfriend waiting at the school gate is actually far more prevalent.

    I don’t know anyone who was abused by a popstar, but at the same time, when I was 16 and had long since noticed that girls existed, I don’t know many who didn’t have an adult “boyfriend” (of course we kept tabs on this, so would anyone). Oddly in this whole discussion I didn’t put that together until now.

    Wood for the trees, scale of the problem kind of thing.

  71. Anton Mates says

    Lucy,

    The law says she is not competent to consent. A minor can’t enter into any kind of contract with you, verbal or written.

    This is not true, at least in English and American law. A minor can certainly enter into a contract with an adult; they are simply not bound by most contracts, and can choose to walk away at any time without penalty, unlike the adult. A minor can even be legally bound by certain classes of contracts, provided the terms are held to be generally beneficial to them. (E.g., if a kid gets a part-time job, they can have their pay docked for violating some term of their employment contract.)

    So legal consent for minors is a matter of degree, really. And of course this is how we treat sexual consent in practice, which is why a 17-year-old banging a 15-year-old is “kinda shady, but could be okay” while a 19-year-old banging a 12-year-old is “oh hell no.”

    (And yes, Savile and the Yewtree predators were light-years beyond any conceivable gray area in consent. They were full adults targeting young children who weren’t even interested, let alone capable of actually consenting, had they been old enough to consent, which they weren’t.)

    H,

    As adults we know that being teenage is to be a seething mass of hormones uncoupled with experience, judgement or capacity.

    Oh god yes. Of course teenagers sometimes think it’s a good idea to bang much older people. Teenagers also sometimes think it’s a good idea to drop out of school and become the world’s first rapping erotic trapeze artist in space. Teenagers are not known for being reliable and prudent decision-makers. “But this ninth grader I know said it was okay!!” is not a great reason for an adult to do much of anything, let alone have sex with the kid in question.

    Shit, I’ve had a seven-year-old propose that we get married and fly off to the planet of the unicorns. No one would think I should find this persuasive just because she was sincere.

  72. gjenganger says

    @holocasust21 – and his detractors

    I think we could improve the debate by granting a fairly obvious point:
    As far as morality goes, what matters when you are judging consent is people’s maturity, not their chronological age. It is in the abstract quite likely that there are a few 14-year olds who are quite as capable of managing their own sex life as many 16-year-olds. Maturation is a gradual process, people mature at different rates, and there is no magical change in your judgment on your birthday. Any reasonable choice for the age of consent will be rather low for some and rather high for others.

    But for all that, you are still totally wrong, holocaust.

    – Maturity is very hard to judge in the field, and impossible to (dis)prove in court afterwards. A clear limit is necessary for the law to work.
    – A clear limit protects underage children, who are overwhelmingly so immature that they need protection. It also helps to keep older people out of temptation in situations where having sex would be almost certain to be harmful.
    – Even if a few 14-year-olds are a couple of years ahead on the development curve, we should remember that most 16-year-olds are not that brilliant at judging things either.

    At this point all that is left of your ‘perfectly consensual sex with an underage girl are a few, rare, unprovable cases where some girl is barely competent to decide instead of being clearly incompetent to decide. Not a big loss to give up those, compared to all you gain by protecting the majority that definitely needs it. The law is both clear and justified, just stick to it and you will be all right.

    As for the all-these-predators-are-innocent stuff, that only makes sense if you think that sex with underage children is generally OK (rather than just possibly justifiable in a few rare cases). And that really is beneath contempt.

  73. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    No, but that’s hardly the point. The girls screaming at Bros/Take That/Boyzone are mosly likely picturing themselves in fairytale marriages to that particular manufactured personality, or, more likely still, just caught up in the heat of the moment, so to speak. I doubt they are looking at H from Steps the same way Rolf Harris eyed up his daughter’s best friend, if you know what I mean.

    I saw an interesting documentary once (had a quick look, can’t find a link), that detailed how boy band videos often portray the “boys” in the “band” as trapped, in need of rescue, or in some way troubled or restrained. The idea behind it? Posit them as somehow victims in turmoil, in need of being set free. That type of thing seems to work on hormonal teenage girls. (As an argumentative aside, MRA blogs serve much the same function, except they posit themselves as both the victim and the saviour – self-servingly hilarity ensues to those not taken in by such dogmatic trash).

    BTW, I wasn’t talking about Bill from the Stones earlier, another super(duper)star guitarist from the 70s era had a 14 year old girlfriend. Fairly well known thing.

  74. mildlymagnificent says

    “But this ninth grader I know said it was okay!!” is not a great reason for an adult to do much of anything, let alone have sex with the kid in question.

    Yup.. Some people really expect this to be accepted when it’s sex involved. If the same adult/older sexual participant told another adult that they’d been injured while skateboarding on a road shared with trucks – because their 13 year old friend told them it was a good, fun thing to do together – they’d rightly be accused of rank stupidity.

    You risked your life on the say-so of a dopey kid? Please tell me you’re joking. Then they say, “No, I’m serious. This kid is really mature for their age. They know what they’re doing.”

    Yeah, right.

  75. 123454321 says

    Ally said:

    “I think girls are much more likely to be drawn to famous and powerful men. In practice, for teenagers, that means girls having a crush on a celebrity or star.”

    Completely agree. Lucy hasn’t quite grasped my point and instead talks about a random set of scenarios where boys show excitement, like at football matches. I’m talking specifically about the pop/celeb world where there has been much turbulence of late based on happenings many years ago which have then led to accusations against individuals. Not that I condone these vile men who have abused their positions and assaulted underage girls. It’s just that girls do tend to ooze a different set of behaviours throughout their teenage years, for some reason, and then change their behaviour later on when they’ve matured. i’m certainly not victim-blaming; just making an observation. I think men should stay right out of the way of underage women and control any urges to respond, regardless of circumstances. There is an age of consent for a good reason and it’s there to protect men and women.

    I’m also curious at to why older women and younger boys are never the focus of these discussions!

  76. 123454321 says

    Lucy,

    “Who says they don’t?”

    Errm, I think that could be down to the judges.

  77. Carnation says

    @ 123454321

    “I’m also curious at to why older women and younger boys are never the focus of these discussions!”

    Because there wasn’t a major crimewave involving older female celebrities. Because there wasn’t widespread abuse by older women of younger boys that was alleged to have been covered up by government and other state agencies. Because there are no female Priests. Because Operation Yewtree has no female suspects.

    And a fair number of other reasons. You, of course, will have your own theories, but I’d suggest trying to look at your question objectively.

  78. johngreg says

    Lucy, you haven’t the first fucking clue what the fuck you’re talking about. You’re so wrong you’re not even wrong.

  79. says

    Ally,

    Suffice to say I still disagree with you regarding underage sex and I could argue why, but obviously, you do not wish to have that debate.

    You said you do not wish to host a platform for me to debate ‘any of the above’. Does this include the issue of censorship in the mainstream media, including the The Guardian which you write for? I think that if I was given a fair platform for my views then a lot of people would agree with me. Media outlets that do not allow free speech are essentially manipulating public opinion by setting the agenda and denying the public alternative views.

    Despite the fact that I am strongly opposed to your views, I will however give you personally one point for not immediately deleting my comment – moderators in the mainstream media have censored far less provocative statements of mine. I do know people who have written in on vastly different issues to me and been censored. Censorship is in my view an extremely serious problem in the MSM.

  80. Lucy says

    Johngreg

    “Lucy, you haven’t the first fucking clue what the fuck you’re talking about. You’re so wrong you’re not even wrong.”

    And if anything proves it, that does.

  81. Lucy says

    4

    “Completely agree. Lucy hasn’t quite grasped my point and instead talks about a random set of scenarios where boys show excitement, like at football matches. ”

    I thought I was talking about a selection of scenarios where young men behave in a hysterical, conformist, hormonal manner towards a hero figure for sexual reasons.

  82. Lucy says

    Ally Fogg

    “I think there is a fairly profound difference (as a generalisation) between male and female sexuality on this score and it is probably exaggerated among teenagers.”

    Based on what? Cliches about groupies? His many teenage gigs you been to?

    “I think girls are much more likely to be drawn to famous and powerful men.”

    Than who? Boys? Rubbish. You don’t find girls spending thousands to fly to Brazil to watch famous men lose at football. Or girls signing up to be jihadists. Or girls with Che Guevara tee shirts. Or girls giving a damn who the mystery bike rider on top gear is. Or girls goose stepping. Or girls at Star Wars conventions. Or girls buying concept albums and droning on about it.

    ” In practice, for teenagers, that means girls having a crush on a celebrity or star.”

    And boys giving Farah Fawcett posters on their wall and fantasising that the S shape in her hair us a coded message just for them.

  83. Lucy says

    “Because there wasn’t a major crimewave involving older female celebrities. ”

    Or a minor one.

  84. Lucy says

    5

    “Errm, I think that could be down to the judges.”

    The judges say women paedophiles get different sentences to male ones? Reeeeally. You sure you aren’t confusing judges with Internet tossers with a vicarious persecution complex?

  85. Lucy says

    Holocaust21

    “I think that if I was given a fair platform for my views then a lot of people would agree with me. ”

    A tad hypocritical considering you’re campaigning to deny children a fair platform, wouldn’t you say?

    “Censorship is in my view an extremely serious problem in the MSM.”

    Yeah, it’s sort of like manoeuvring people without the emotional and mental capacity to argue with you into complying with you, isn’t it.

  86. Lucy says

    6

    “It’s just that girls do tend to ooze a different set of behaviours throughout their teenage years, for some reason, and then change their behaviour later on when they’ve matured. ”

    Ooze? How does one ooze a set of behaviours? Is this related to bodily fluids in some way?

    You know, I’ve known a lot of teenage girls, and I never saw any ooze. I also never saw any have a generic set of behaviours? For any let alone throughout their teenage years. You know what I think? I think you’re suffering from that common complaint that afflicts non-teenage girls: Getting all your information about teenage girls from other men who make Channel 5.

  87. Thil says

    @gjenganger @79

    I’ve always thought the most rational approach would be to make everyone pass some kind of test to determine if they are competent to consent to sex.

    I don’t think we’ll ever do that because firstly it would logically necessitate denying the right to have sex to mentally disabled for their entire lives, and secondly even if it was only a 1 in 2000000 thing we as a society would be comfortable granting licences to younger teens or even pre-teens

  88. Lucy says

    You know, nobody dies if you can’t have sex with people under 16, competent or not. Just like nobody dies if you can’t have prostitutes or porn. It’s not like going without food. There are billions of people you can have sex with if you really must. Or you know you could do something else.

  89. Thil says

    @Lucy @96

    Firstly sex isn’t always a purely hedonistic act and the person you do it with isn’t irrelevant. A young man with an underage girl friend might say to that “I do have to have sex with an underage girl if I want have sex with the person I love”

    Secondly do you want to live in a world where those in power can arbitrarily ban anything except the bare necessities?

  90. Thil says

    @Lucy @91

    how do you know?

    We only know about all the male celebrities because outrage over Savile sparked a load of investigations into other male celebrities of the same generation. What if Savile had been a woman?

  91. Lucy says

    Holocaust21

    “Perhaps you should try being caged as a subhuman sex offender for years on end. Your whole life over. It doesn’t matter whether you are murdered or not, your whole life disappears in front of your eyes”

    No thanks. So being in jail is what you mean by suffering horrific abuse?

    —-
    ” certainly far worse than being raped.”

    Unlikely. But even if jail is far worse than being raped, there are the differentiating factors of guilt and provocation.


    “And whether you admit it or not, real abuse does go on in prison.”

    Yes, and outside of prison. Hence prison.

  92. Thil says

    Lucy

    “there are the differentiating factors of guilt and provocation”

    What do you mean?

  93. Lucy says

    “We only know about all the male celebrities because outrage over Savile sparked a load of investigations into other male celebrities of the same generation. What if Savile had been a woman?”

    But he wasn’t. He was a man. As was Rolf and Stuart and John and Bill and Max and Cyril.

  94. Lucy says

    “What do you mean?”

    That a sex offender has provoked their own suffering. A rape victim hasn’t.

  95. 123454321 says

    Carnation,

    “Because there wasn’t a major crimewave involving older female celebrities. Because there wasn’t widespread abuse by older women of younger boys that was alleged to have been covered up by government and other state agencies. Because there are no female Priests. Because Operation Yewtree has no female suspects.”

    What you meant to say right there was this:

    “Because we aren’t AWARE of a major crimewave involving older female celebrities. Because we are not AWARE of widespread abuse by older women of younger boys that was alleged to have been covered up by government and other state agencies…”

  96. Lucy says

    “Firstly sex isn’t always a purely hedonistic act and the person you do it with isn’t irrelevant. A young man with an underage girl friend might say to that “I do have to have sex with an underage girl if I want have sex with the person I love””

    Well he would say that wouldn’t he.

    “Secondly do you want to live in a world where those in power can arbitrarily ban anything except the bare necessities?”

    Rather than in one where those in power keep trying to mount everything that hoves into view because it hasn’t dawned on them that there are alternative ways to pass your time?

  97. 123454321 says

    “but I’d suggest trying to look at your question objectively.”

    Nah, because looking at things objectively requires stats. And stats are usually corrupt and never correct. So providing you have a reasonable amount of intuition, you’ll probably be far ahead of the crowd of sheep if you look at things subjectively.

  98. Lucy says

    1

    “Because we aren’t AWARE of a major crimewave involving older female celebrities. Because we are not AWARE of widespread abuse by older women of younger boys that was alleged to have been covered up by government and other state agencies…”

    Because if there’s one thing you can safely say about the British Media and the Westminster cabal under fire, it’s that they don’t know how to uncover a diversionary sex scandal.

  99. Thil says

    @101 @Lucy

    I’m saying that We only found a bunch of famous male 70s sex offenders because that’s what we went looking for after we all felt guilty for missing Savile.

    If you go looking for something and come back with more of that thing than anything less it doesn’t prove there’s more of that thing than anything else in the world. As for Savile himself a sampling of one proves nothing

  100. Lucy says

    “I’m saying that We only found a bunch of famous male 70s sex offenders because that’s what we went looking for after we all felt guilty for missing Savile.”

    The fact that we only found men indicates that there must be women?

    We found a bunch of male 70s sex offenders because that’s who got reported.

    “If you go looking for something and come back with more of that thing than anything less it doesn’t prove there’s more of that thing than anything else in the world. ”

    Depends how quickly you get back with a bag full of samples.

    “As for Savile himself a sampling of one proves nothing”

    It proves one thing.

  101. 123454321 says

    Thil 108,

    “If you go looking for something and come back with more of that thing than anything less it doesn’t prove there’s more of that thing than anything else in the world.”

    Hear, hear.

  102. Lucy says

    2

    “Lucy, what do you think would have happened if this would have been a man”

    Two things:
    1) the article would have been better and more reliably sourced.
    2) justice for men and boys wouldn’t have covered it.

  103. Thil says

    105 Lucy

    “Well he would say that wouldn’t he”
    Whether or not the boy is lying is neither here nor there. The possibility exists that he’s telling the truth (or at least believes he is …I am talking about an 18 year old guy) and thus the possibility that obeying the age of consent is seriously disruptive to someone’s life.

    “Rather than in one where those in power keep trying to mount everything that hoves into view because it hasn’t dawned on them that there are alternative ways to pass your time?”
    I’m saying that the argument “Why not ban it on the off chance, you don’t lose anything you absolutely need to live” can be applied to almost any pleasure imaginable

  104. 123454321 says

    “We found a bunch of male 70s sex offenders because that’s who got reported.”

    But that potentially has fuck all to do with reality. The world was flat until someone reported that it was round. Doh!

  105. Lucy says

    “Hear, hear.”

    Except none of the men charged were charged because the police were looking for them. They were charged after their victims forced the police and media to stop ignoring them.

  106. 123454321 says

    Lucy. Train woman gets away with it for one reason only – because she’s a woman.

  107. Lucy says

    “But that potentially has fuck all to do with reality. The world was flat until someone reported that it was round. Doh!”

    Or alternatively, it potentially reflects reality and women aren’t a bunch of handsy perves and domestic abusers much as MRAs dearly wish they were, and no matter how many actresses they hire to pretend to be.

  108. Lucy says

    “Lucy. Train woman gets away with it for one reason only – because she’s a woman.”

    On the basis of that half arsed blog, I’m not convinced that train woman even exists.

  109. Lucy says

    Thil

    “Whether or not the boy is lying is neither here nor there. The possibility exists that he’s telling the truth (or at least believes he is …I am talking about an 18 year old guy) and thus the possibility that obeying the age of consent is seriously disruptive to someone’s life.”

    Hang on, can I just wind this back a bit: Your fictional man-boy’s life is seriously disrupted because he conceivably believes he’s telling the truth though he may actually be making it up that his fictional girlfriend gave him nominal consent to have non-existent sex?

    What was the question again?

    —-

    “I’m saying that the argument “Why not ban it on the off chance, you don’t lose anything you absolutely need to live” can be applied to almost any pleasure imaginable”

    Yes. Pleasure isn’t the be all and end all.

  110. Thil says

    110 Lucy

    “The fact that we only found men indicates that there must be women?”

    I’m not making that claim. I’m responding to your positive claim that there are no women celebrity sex offenders. You have the burden of proof, I do not

    “We found a bunch of male 70s sex offenders because that’s who got reported”

    They got reported because those people realized the world was willing to listen to cases similar to Savile.

    “Depends how quickly you get back with a bag full of samples

    Going to have to explain to me what point you’re trying to make here?

    “As for Savile himself a sampling of one proves nothing” “It proves one thing”

    And not one thing is not your case

  111. Thil says

    119 Lucy

    “Hang on, can I just wind this back a bit: Your fictional man-boy’s life is seriously disrupted because he conceivably believes he’s telling the truth though he may actually be making it up that his fictional girlfriend gave him nominal consent to have non-existent sex? What was the question again?”

    I’m trying to respond to your claim that avoiding sex is trivial by giving you an example of a case where it would seriously disrupt someone’s life

    “Yes. Pleasure isn’t the be all and end all”

    Without getting too philosophical: it’s hell of a lot

  112. 123454321 says

    “Or alternatively, it potentially reflects reality and women aren’t a bunch of handsy perves and domestic abusers much as MRAs dearly wish they were, and no matter how many actresses they hire to pretend to be.”

    Lucy, what I do know is that women are far more likely to report crimes of a sexual nature. I also know that their threshold level in terms of acceptability is much lower. I also know that women are more likely to make false accusations.

    Men, on the other hand, are completely opposite. So you can probably take stats related to men and diminish them by some factor. And you can take stats related to women and inflate them by some factor. At that point we might get a bit closer to the truth.

    I still despise men who abuse young females, Lucy, and I’m big enough to say that. But you? You have tunnel vision and you’re far too proud (and stubborn) to admit that there’s an awful lot out there that remains covered up. And that attitude stinks!

  113. 123454321 says

    “I’m not convinced that train woman even exists.”

    What a ridiculous thing to say. You have no empathy for that boy who looked uncomfortable and distressed? You think that woman was right to act like that?

  114. Thil says

    “or alternatively, it potentially reflects reality and women aren’t a bunch of handsy perves and domestic abusers”

    Even if does there’s no reasonable basis for making that claim

  115. says

    Lucy,

    “A tad hypocritical considering you’re campaigning to deny children a fair platform, wouldn’t you say?”

    The trouble with arguing with you, is you’re just using redundant arguments and then even lying about me. As you will see on the tag line of my blog I campaign for both men’s and youth rights. As you will also see in the youtube video on my post above, a woman was denied her right to a fair platform when she was a child. A woman who YOU would deny her right to that platform, not me.

    There are also many cases of children being violently assaulted by the police as they remove the children, against their will, from their parents to be taken to foster care homes where they are sometimes abused. I have also highlighted these cases on my blog, with youtube videos of the violence, should you care to look.

    To claim that I seek to deny children a fair platform is to tell a blatant lie. I seek to expose the truth, you seek to hide behind rhetoric and dogma.

    “Yeah, it’s sort of like manoeuvring people without the emotional and mental capacity to argue with you into complying with you, isn’t it.”

    To deliberately provide a one-sided debate is most definitely manoeuvring people without the knowledge, mental ability and guts to stand up against the dominant narrative. That was the situation that happened in both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union – it’s called propaganda.

  116. Lucy says

    “I’m not making that claim. I’m responding to your positive claim that there are no women celebrity sex offenders. You have the burden of proof, I do not”

    Where did I make that claim again?

  117. Thil says

    127 Lucy

    comment 91

    ““Because there wasn’t a major crimewave involving older female celebrities.” ” “Or a minor one”

  118. Thil says

    (Continuation of 128)
    Do try to keep up Lucy. This is like the third time I’ve had to back track and remind you what we’re talking about

  119. Lucy says

    2

    “What a ridiculous thing to say. You have no empathy for that boy who looked uncomfortable and distressed? You think that woman was right to act like that?”

    A woman on a train tried to take a boys trousers and shirt off but we’re not going to name her or him or the train or the date or link you to the video or explain how we know his age or hers or provide a context or give you any salient facts. It’s hard to empathise with a rumour of a rumour of something, I’m not quite sure what.

  120. Lucy says

    “““Because there wasn’t a major crimewave involving older female celebrities.” ” “Or a minor one””

    Yeah so where did I make the claim that there were no female celebrity sex offenders?

  121. Lucy says

    2

    “Lucy, what I do know is that women are far more likely to report crimes of a sexual nature.”

    You don’t know that, you surmise that based on the lower reported figures.

    —-

    ” I also know that their threshold level in terms of acceptability is much lower.”

    You don’t know that, you made it up.

    “I also know that women are more likely to make false accusations.”

    You don’t know that, you wish that.

    “Men, on the other hand, are completely opposite. So you can probably take stats related to men and diminish them by some factor. And you can take stats related to women and inflate them by some factor. At that point we might get a bit closer to the truth.”

    Based on what evidence? The people reporting paedophile rings in the Catholic Church, Westminster, schools -are men.

    “I still despise men who abuse young females, Lucy, and I’m big enough to say that. But you? You have tunnel vision and you’re far too proud (and stubborn) to admit that there’s an awful lot out there that remains covered up. And that attitude stinks!”

    If it’s covered up how do you know about it? I’m not about to condemn women on the basis that because there are few reports of them carrying out sexual abuse they must be there, that would be dumb.

  122. Lucy says

    Thil

    “I’m trying to respond to your claim that avoiding sex is trivial by giving you an example of a case where it would seriously disrupt someone’s life”

    You’re trying to prove something by creating a fictional example that demonstrates it? No, you can’t do that.

  123. Thil says

    @131 @Lucy

    In comment 91.

    You’re either being deliberately obtuse to make some kind of point or genuinely aren’t smart enough to understand the logical implication of your own statement. Get back to me when you either grow a brain or decide to be straightforward

  124. Thil says

    132 Lucy

    Don’t be hypocrite. By your own Savile logic he only needs to find one example of a women making a false rape claim to draw the conclusion the that more women the men make false rape claims

    133 Lucy

    I’m posting an 18 year old male falling in love with a 15 year old girl

    You really need me to find you a real life example to demonstrate that that can happen?

  125. Lucy says

    holocaust21

    “The trouble with arguing with you, is you’re just using redundant arguments and then even lying about me. As you will see on the tag line of my blog I campaign for both men’s and youth rights. As you will also see in the youtube video on my post above, a woman was denied her right to a fair platform when she was a child.

    A whole one woman?

    —-
    “woman who YOU would deny her right to that platform, not me.”

    The trouble with arguing with you is you’re just using redundant arguments and are even lying about me.

    “There are also many cases of children being violently assaulted by the police as they remove the children, against their will, from their parents to be taken to foster care homes where they are sometimes abused. I have also highlighted these cases on my blog, with youtube videos of the violence, should you care to look.”

    So you want men to kiss it better?

    “To claim that I seek to deny children a fair platform is to tell a blatant lie. I seek to expose the truth, you seek to hide behind rhetoric and dogma.”

    I’m sure you don’t deny them a platform, no propagandist denies his acolytes a platform, he builds it for them. But using kids to campaign for you is denying them a fair platform. Children’s evidence in court is treated with caution for a reason, they are cross examined differently for a reason, they can’t vote for a reason, they don’t have the final say on their own medical treatment for a reason.

    —-

    “To deliberately provide a one-sided debate is most definitely manoeuvring people without the knowledge, mental ability and guts to stand up against the dominant narrative. That was the situation that happened in both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union – it’s called propaganda.”

    Yes, yes it is isn’t it. Makes me wonder why you do it seeing as you feel so strongly about it.

  126. Lucy says

    Thil

    “Don’t be hypocrite. By your own Savile logic he only needs to find one example of a women making a false rape claim to draw the conclusion the that more women the men make false rape claims”

    No, you need to add up all the false claims made by females and all the false claims made by males and deduct one from the other and the difference between them indicates who makes more. Same principle applies to how many male celebrities have been accused and convicted of sex abuse of children compared to how many female ones have.

    “I’m posting an 18 year old male falling in love with a 15 year old girl

    You really need me to find you a real life example to demonstrate that that can happen?”

    Actually no, you were fabricating an example of how an 18 year old male’s life would be disrupted by not having sex with a 15 year old he had fallen in love with. A real life example would be great thanks, yes.

  127. Lucy says

    Thil

    “You’re either being deliberately obtuse to make some kind of point or genuinely aren’t smart enough to understand the logical implication of your own statement. Get back to me when you either grow a brain or decide to be straightforward”

    Hang on Mr Obnoxious. It’s you who can’t tell the difference between me saying there are no female celebrity sex offenders and there being no minor or major scandal involving female celebrity sex offenders.

  128. Thil says

    lucy
    “No, you need to add up all the false claims made by females and all the false claims made by males and deduct one from the other and the difference between them indicates who makes more. Same principle applies to how many male celebrities have been accused and convicted of sex abuse of children compared to how many female ones have”

    That argument might be valid if we didn’t know that what was compelling people to come forward isn’t applicable to female cases. As it is we do and it isn’t

    “Actually no, you were fabricating an example of how an 18 year old male’s life would be disrupted by not having sex with a 15 year old he had fallen in love with. A real life example would be great thanks, yes”

    You seriously don’t believe that any older teenage boy has ever been pissed off because he was in love with a younger teenage girl who he couldn’t legally fuck?

    “Hang on Mr Obnoxious. It’s you who can’t tell the difference between me saying there are no female celebrity sex offenders and there being no minor or major scandal involving female celebrity sex offenders”

    Can you tell difference? A crime wave exists whether any one reports it or not

  129. thetalkingstove says

    Can you tell difference? A crime wave exists whether any one reports it or not

    This started by the chap with all the numbers in his username asking why older women and young boys were never the subject of these discussions.

    If you take ‘these discussions’ to relate to the specific matter of this thread, which is Yewtree and the celebrities concerned, then Lucy was entirely right to point out that there have been no reported cases of abuse of boys by women. That’s the answer as to why we don’t talk about Yewtre and women abusers.

    Lucy clearly says that this doesn’t mean there are none.

    What more do you want?

  130. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    You don’t have to fuck everyone you love. Seriously. If it’s actual love, and not just hormonally induced obsession then a caring rational person will wait! Certainly until the other person is of legal age, and absolutely they will wait until the other person is also interested and willing.

    Because it’s not enough for one person to be ‘in love’ you know. For an actual relationship to have any chance, it would require two adult people with mutual affection and care.

  131. Thil says

    140 thetalkingstove

    “Lucy clearly says that this doesn’t mean there are none”

    Yeah after several comments of stating the total opposite

    “What more do you want?”

    For her to stop his honestly claiming otherwise

  132. Thil says

    @141 @Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD

    I’m sure they will and they probably should. My point was that doing so is not trivially easy like Lucy implied

  133. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    Actually, you have a point – morally and ethically, King’s behaviour was repugnant. But I thought he might just walk, for the reasons that you stated. His friend Chris Denning has been charged – I will be interested to see how that goes.

    Whilst there is no hierarchy of victims, I believe heterosexual boys abused by men suffer particularly awfully. I had the pleasure of working briefly with one man who suffered appalling abuse of this nature, his life story was inspiring – he was open about his past and the changes that he had made. He went to prison and left a fair number of victims of (non-sexual) violence in his wake, but with the right therapy and help, he changed utterly and extends help where he can.

    @ 123454321

    We are unaware of a whole range of crimewaves that may or may not have happened. However, given the publicity surroundingYewtree, Saville, the Catholic Church and other investigations, I am pretty sure something would have emerged.

    It would greatly suit your ideological stance for their to be gender symmetry in these types ofcrimes, but it doesn’t appear to exist. I think those of your ilk would be happier and more productive activists if you concentrated on helping existing male victims, instead of inventing and speculating about female perpetrators.

  134. Anton Mates says

    You seriously don’t believe that any older teenage boy has ever been pissed off because he was in love with a younger teenage girl who he couldn’t legally fuck?

    Teenagers have lots of urges that they can’t or shouldn’t act on. Being teenagers, they get pissed off about it all the time. Learning to control your impulses and find alternate routes to life satisfaction is part of growing up; the average adult man is gonna encounter a lot of situations where his dick says “yes” and his brain says “no,” and if his brain can’t win that fight, someone’s going to get hurt.

    I’m sure an 18-year-old can be passionately, sincerely, poem-writingly in love with a 13-year-old. But the fact that he can’t legally bang her right now is not a life-disrupting tragedy. It’s just life.

    (And yes, I think it can be okay for two kids on either side of the legality line to have sex, provided they’re relatively close in age/maturity/status/power. But it doesn’t become more okay because they’re really and truly In Lurve.)

  135. Fiona McLaren says

    I read your version of this piece on Cif after it’d closed but I can’t post anyway.

    I see that in a comment you claim that some child molesters commit their crimes because of ‘clinical personality disorders’ which got no challenge and many recommends.

    You’re a writer who often demands facts, proof, evidence and statistics yet you state this with no references at all. Let me guess, these so-called personality disorders lead to perversion because psychiatry said so – and if psychiatry says so it must be right. These are the people who denied child abuse existed right up till recently and even now some still disbelieve or dilute the severity – ‘over-dramatising’ to use their jargon. Psychiatry – and social work – has no expertise in this area.

    Why you can’t accept that there are cruel people like Savile on the scale of personalities just as there are very kind people, and most of us floating inbetween, is baffling. Some criminals commit crimes because they choose to, want to and enjoy inflicting pain. Intelligent people challenge and critique psychiatry and some of its nonsensical and cruel labelling. There “is no scientific evidence” for personality disorders – ref Mind’s website. It is lazy thinking to just dump every perpetrator of horrific crime into an illness or disorder category – failure to understand someone’s appalling behaviour does not equal ‘it must therefore be an illness’.

    Anyone who uses or accepts the personality disorder label is calling those people sub-standard human beings. Personality is who we are, unique to each one of us and it is the most gross insult to say that someone’s personality is disordered. As you are aware, survivors of child abuse often get the personality disorder label slapped on them and this is used to refuse them help. It’s a rubbish diagnosis and those labelled thus suffer because of it’s associations with crime, manipulativeness and general unpleasantness. Thanks for spreading the prejudice and hate a bit further.

    Ironically in the context of your critique of feminism and support for men’s rights, psychiatry is rife with sexism and gender stereotypes. In the realm of personality disorder labels this means women often get labelled as histrionic or borderline personality disorder because women are seen as hysterical, dependent, unsure, insecure, confused and so on. Men often get labelled as having psychopathic or anti-social personality disorder, even ‘dangerous and severe’ the one made up by politicians because the stereotype of men is that they are explosive, violent, impulsive, prone to crime etc. So bizarrely your acceptance and support of the personality disorder label actually harms men who are far more likely to be subjected to indefinite detention without release date.

  136. Fiona McLaren says

    To add, I think the subject would have been better written by someone who was actually there in the 70s. It is hard to appreciate quite what it was like without actually having been there.

  137. Ally Fogg says

    Fiona McLaren (146)

    I see that in a comment you claim that some child molesters commit their crimes because of ‘clinical personality disorders’ which got no challenge and many recommends.

    That’s a simplification of what I wrote. I actually said:

    Yes, there are some sexual offenders who have a combination of clinical personality disorders and compulsive disorders who literally cannot control themselves. It is just possible Savile falls into that. But most choose to do what they do.

    That was in response to someone saying that sex offenders are psychopathic animals who cannot control their lusts. So in broad terms I was disagreeing with that person and pretty much agreeing with what you say above.

    I’m sorry if you understood what I wrote to be defamatory to people with a psychiatric diagnosis of a personality disorder, or an endorsement of the way such diagnosis / labelling is used by the psychiatric profession. Neither was my intention and I’m a longstanding critic of both.

  138. gjenganger says

    @Holocaust.
    There are just a few sensible debates about children and sex that are arguably being squashed out by censorship and people being hypersensitive:
    – Whether the age of consent should be 14, 18, or somewhere in between.
    – What to do about sex between people just on either side of the age limit.
    – Whether laws about child porn should be limited to material that Is harmful to the models (in the widest possible sense). Current laws prohibit even cartoons, beach pictures, and clips from mainstream films, if collected so as to suggest that someone is getting off looking at them.

    But anybody speaking for actual sex with underage children is going to be frozen out. Not by censorship, but by universal revulsion. So no, you are not going to convince a lot of people even if you get a platform. In fact, people are more likely to be against anything you support, just because people like you support it. Sorry to bring you bad news, but that is the way it is. So if you want to achieve anything, the best you can do is to shut up and stop embarrassing those who might agree with you on some specific point.

  139. Fiona McLaren says

    Whilst you are correct in your piece in stating that child abuse was no more acceptable in the 70s to people than it is now, you have missed one of the reasons as to why nothing was done about it.

    One of the main reasons very little action was taken against child abusers from the 60s right up until almost now is because of psychiatry and social services. Far from being the experts on this, they have been part of the problem. This is because in the 70s, psychiatry, psychology and social work claimed child abuse as their territory and they, and only they, knew what this was all about and society, in thrall to the professions, rarely challenged them. Those of us who were victims did indeed try and disclose in the 70s and before and later, but what happened was we were referred to psychiatry and social services and were often locked up, drugged, told we were disordered, ill, fantasists, deluded – even retarded. Naturally frightened, this silenced us for a long time.

    Psychiatry’s disbelief was partly down to the legacy of Freud and his seduction theory and the widely held belief amongst psychiatrists (who were and are nearly 99% of the medical model) that women fantasised about sex with their fathers. It was routine to be dismissed by doctors and social workers when claiming abuse, especially within the nuclear family, and this included physical violence and emotional neglect and cruelty. Even if abuse was believed it wasn’t considered to be a crime – more as a family dynamic to resolve other issues in the family. Believe that or not but there is still social work literature from the time which shows that. A local social worker said that child abuse wasn’t necessarily harmful and it was often seen as a ‘relationship’ not a crime with a perpetrator and a victim. A psychiatrist said at a conference that children can be sexy and sometimes ‘choose to be’. As incredible as it all sounds, this is what went on and allegations of abuse never made it to police stations for the most part.

    Tragically, some people even came to believe that they were fantasising because doctors are powerful people with a lot of status and respect and they lost sight of their own reality. Many of us were told we were genetically damaged which was music to the ears of the abusers who were able to continue abusing others and easily discreditting their victims who were silenced by their ‘mental illness’ label. No wonder child abuse was flourishing in the 70s and hardly any prosecutions were brought.

    Those of us psychiatric survivors who made it out of the system still with a clear grasp of what had happened to us, formed groups to talk about what happened to us as no one would listen. For years, these groups were the only ones who pressed for recognition of real life experiences. They deserve a lot of credit, along with Rape Crisis Centres, for keeping the issue of child abuse as a reality and not dismissing victims.

  140. freja says

    @144, Carnation

    Whilst there is no hierarchy of victims, I believe heterosexual boys abused by men suffer particularly awfully.

    I think that depends on your definition of ‘suffering’. Homophobia and femmephobia probably make people see boys abused by men as more damaged than other types of victims, and the stigma against being “less of a man” among boys and men is staggering. I have no problem believing boys abused by men struggle with feelings of inadequacy as men, or of having been complicit in something particularly vile and gross, or something similar.

    But those same attitudes can also help those boys get acknowledged as victims way other victims rarely are. When stories break of older men molesting boys, the response is almost 100% outrage. It might be covered up in particular institutions (the church, the sports team, etc.), but when it hits the light of day, hardly anyone denies that the molestation, if it happened, is horrible and completely the fault of the perpetrator.

    You don’t see a 14 year old boy being called older than his chronological age as a means of excusing his rapist by a judge. You don’t hear about how a 11 year old boy was a spider luring innocent adult women to his trap. Boys are not expected to be responsible at that age (let alone responsible for the behaviour of adults), they’re expected to be boys. And because male-on-male sex is seen as somehow more perverted by many, and because the myth of uncontrollable male sexuality only applies to heterosexual sex, the boys are rarely presumed to have wanted it, the way the article Ally linked to or several posters here imply young girls might have wanted it with older men.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that our culture’s sick standards of gender roles and sex impact all victims differently, and that I don’t agree that those standards are particularly negative for boys abused by men compared to other victims. But I’m definitely open to disagreement.

  141. freja says

    @150, Fiona

    Phychiatrists and Warren Farrell (I can’t believe he still gets defended by so many people).

  142. Ally Fogg says

    freja

    “Phychiatrists and Warren Farrell (I can’t believe he still gets defended by so many people).

    There’s a long and disturbing list of similar advocates that includes radical feminist heroine Kate Millett, poet Allan Ginsberg and countless veterans of civil liberty and feminist campaigns.

  143. freja says

    @154, Ally Fogg

    There’s a long and disturbing list of similar advocates that includes radical feminist heroine Kate Millett, poet Allan Ginsberg and countless veterans of civil liberty and feminist campaigns.

    And I haven’t seen anyone defend them, let alone speak at the world’s largest and most prominent feminist conventions. Maybe they still have fans somewhere, but at least I don’t get them thrown in my face every time I read about gender issues.

  144. Ally Fogg says

    And I haven’t seen anyone defend them, let alone speak at the world’s largest and most prominent feminist conventions. Maybe they still have fans somewhere, but at least I don’t get them thrown in my face every time I read about gender issues.

    Well here’s Kate Millett being awarded the Courage Award for the Arts by Yoko Ono at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, just last year, which I’d humbly suggest is rather more prestigious than talking to a couple of hundred misfits at a vets hostel in downtown Detroit

    http://www.vfa.us/KateMillettCourageAward.htm

    I’m not sure many Universities host conferences on the works of Warren Farrell either:

    http://www.bbk.ac.uk/events-calendar/flying-a-conference-on-kate-millett

    Camille Paglia, an ardent advocate of NAMBLA, remains a vastly more prominent and respected voice on gender issues than Farrell.

    Ginsberg remains stubbornly dead, but is widely lauded. I was confronted with the art-movie version of Howl, including the passages fantasising about fucking young boys, on the BBC just a few weeks ago.

    I’m absolutely not defending Farrell and the appalling shit he wrote back then, but the breadth and depth of this stuff is really quite shocking.

  145. says

    @Lucy

    “A whole one woman?”

    Perhaps if you bothered to read any actual research such as the RIND study, then you would find that it is far more than just one woman who sees her underage sexual encounters as positive.

    “I’m sure you don’t deny them a platform, no propagandist denies his acolytes a platform, he builds it for them. But using kids to campaign for you is denying them a fair platform. Children’s evidence in court is treated with caution for a reason, they are cross examined differently for a reason, they can’t vote for a reason, they don’t have the final say on their own medical treatment for a reason. ”

    Ah, the government knows best argument. Basically I can’t win – a child claims to have been sexually abused and you’ll say that’s proof of abuse (children never lie). A child claims to have been fine with something and you’ll say that’s because they are too immature to have their say.

    There is an enormous body of evidence contradicting your absolutist world view much of which I have already linked to. But you aren’t interested in reading it because you just hate underage relationships, simply because you don’t like it, not for any rational scientific reason.

  146. freja says

    @156, Ally Fogg

    Well here’s Kate Millett being awarded the Courage Award for the Arts by Yoko Ono at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, just last year, which I’d humbly suggest is rather more prestigious than talking to a couple of hundred misfits at a vets hostel in downtown Detroit

    http://www.vfa.us/KateMillettCourageAward.htm

    I’m not sure many Universities host conferences on the works of Warren Farrell either:

    http://www.bbk.ac.uk/events-calendar/flying-a-conference-on-kate-millett

    Camille Paglia, an ardent advocate of NAMBLA, remains a vastly more prominent and respected voice on gender issues than Farrell.

    Ginsberg remains stubbornly dead, but is widely lauded. I was confronted with the art-movie version of Howl, including the passages fantasising about fucking young boys, on the BBC just a few weeks ago.

    I’m absolutely not defending Farrell and the appalling shit he wrote back then, but the breadth and depth of this stuff is really quite shocking.

    I think the world of art is a bit different from the world of social activism, and I’ve never seen Kate Millet cited politically. Not saying she didn’t make political statements, just that I can look at both feminist and MRA sites without hearing about her, and I’ve never seen her views on underage sexuality praised by anyone there. I don’t know if Paglia is more influential, I’ve only ever heard her mentioned by feminists as an anti-feminist claiming to be feminist and MRAs as a feminist they’re OK with (which so far has always = anti-feminist). And Ginsberg, as you say, is dead.

    The difference with Farrell is that he’s probably the most prolific MRA in existence (and unlike ‘prolific’ feminists like Mary Daly, the modern MRM hasn’t distanced itself from him, quite the contrary), and every time his defence of incest and sex with children is brought up, his defenders keep agreeing with him or claiming his statements meant something else. His activism and political opinions also seem to stem from his view on sexuality to a larger extent than most social activists I’ve heard about, which makes it even more troubling when they’re so skrewed up.

    But most of all, it’s just that he’s so very hard to avoid. Even on this blog, you run the risk of getting links to sites where he’s cited prominently (usually in support of the notion that 14 year old girls need to show more maturity and self-restraint than grown men, or that everything bad men do is ultimately for sex and therefore women’s fault). Believe me, if I could look at sites about gender, sexuality, humanism, etc., without him ever being brought up, I’d do my best to pretend he didn’t exist. But that’s a personal pet peeve of mine, and I’m sorry if airing it here has derailed the conversation.

  147. Lucy says

    Holocaust21

    “Ah, the government knows best argument. ”

    No, behavioural scientists.

  148. says

    Lucy,

    “No, behavioural scientists.”

    Why don’t you try actually reading the research before claiming it supports your views? I’ve already pointed you to a scientific study that contradicts your claims, yet you couldn’t even be bothered to glance at it. On the otherhand, you have managed to produce no scientific evidence for your claims at all.

  149. Holms says

    holocaust21, are you actually arguing for a complete removal of any sexual age limit?

  150. Jacob Schmidt says

    Why don’t you try actually reading the research before claiming it supports your views?

    The study reports that experiences for girls were mostly negative. For boys it was more equalized. In any case, it has nothing to do with whether or not consent laws are just, since consent laws concerns themselves with whether the child is capable of informed consent, not whether the child ultimately enjoys it (and for girls, per the study, the experience is usually negative).

    So not only does the study contradict you in the case of girls, it doesn’t even matter in the first place.

  151. marduk says

    “So can we please join with those women who are quite keen to see an end to such behaviour? Sooner than later would be good.”

    I’d like nothing more but they aren’t interested.
    See your own Twitter timeline for abusive proof.

  152. says

    @Jacob Schmidt

    The RIND study points out that any gender differences in negative reactions between boys and girls are infact consistent with more general gender differences for first sexual experiences. It also points out that the intensity of negative reactions are relatively low even for most of those who have negative responses. So the argument that consensual sex causes pervasive and intense harm worthy of years of torture and suffering in prison is not there.

    Your argument about the study only addressing whether an individual enjoys sex which is, according to you, not the same as ‘informed consent’ doesn’t make any sense. I would say it is very much the same, it says the person is happy with it and that’s all that matters. If you’re going to insist that a person being happy with it is not the same as consent then I’d say consent is irrelevant and we should go with the happiness metric. Convince me otherwise.

  153. Jacob Schmidt says

    I would say it is very much the same[1], it says the person is happy with it and that’s all that matters.[2] If you’re going to insist that a person being happy with it is not the same as consent then I’d say consent is irrelevant and we should go with the happiness metric.[3] Convince me otherwise.[4]

    1) You’d be wrong.

    2) You’d be wrong again.

    3) By which it still fails; it’s literally no better than chance at best (in the case of boys), and that’s using some very un-rigorous analysis.

    4) Truth is not dependent on your acceptance of it.

  154. Holms says

    @164
    “Convince me otherwise.”

    You have it the wrong way around. You are the one arguing for laws to be changed, the onus is on you to do the convincing. So far, the best you have is that a minority of the girls polled in a single study were accepting of their early sexual relationship… the obvious flip side to this being that the majority of them reported harm.

    You have a lot more convincing to do if you want age limits removed.

  155. Jacob Schmidt says

    So far, the best you have is that a minority of the girls polled in a single study were accepting of their early sexual relationship… the obvious flip side to this being that the majority of them reported harm.

    It should be noted that the study in question draws data from about 20 other studies. The total pool was still fairly small (about 1500, and as far as I can tell, that number is inflated).

  156. says

    “It should be noted that the study in question draws data from about 20 other studies. The total pool was still fairly small (about 1500, and as far as I can tell, that number is inflated).”

    I’m not sure where you get the idea that it draws data from about 20 other studies – it draws data from some 59 other studies covering I believe some 35,703 participants.

    “3) By which it still fails; it’s literally no better than chance at best (in the case of boys), and that’s using some very un-rigorous analysis.”

    No, it demonstrates that:

    1) There are numerous cases of positive experiences so the argument that all acts of ‘paedophilia’ are horrific evil acts is a lie.
    2) It shows that the negative experiences were generally not that negative (far from the lie that ‘child sexual abuse is a fate worse than death’).
    3) It points out that females tend to view first sexual encounters as negative. So any negative reactions are likely uncorrelated with the age a female experiences sexual activity. Thus, it does not support your argument for the age of consent. It either supports abolition of the age of consent (if one takes the view that negative sexual experiences are a fact of life) or viewing all sex as rape (puritanical feminist idea of better never have sex than have less than enthusiastic sex). Take your pick.

    “4) Truth is not dependent on your acceptance of it.”

    Neither is truth dependent on your acceptance of it. The fact you lack any strong arguments for your favoured inquisition – which now probably incarcerates more men than anti-homosexual laws ever did – suggests that you could be wrong.

    “You have a lot more convincing to do if you want age limits removed.”

    Raging infernos usually burn themselves out. In the 1950s there were a lot of insane scandals, hundreds or thousands arrested on suspicion of homosexuality in a single scandal. Two decades later it was legalised. The extreme insanity of society’s current crusade against paedophilia could be indicative that the dogma cannot survive much longer. To keep itself alive it must carry on consuming more and more lives at an ever accelerated pace. As more lives are consumed hatred of the ideology grows by those seeking revenge. When it reaches its ‘peak capacity’ those who despise it will notice it is getting weak which will give them confidence to protest against it and take it down.

  157. gjenganger says

    @holocaust 168
    Your logic does not work. Let us look at adult sex, for an example.
    It happens not infrequently that someone is quite unhappy after having sex. If she did not say no when it happened, if she consented, we say “too bad, but these things happen”. If she did not consent we say “rape” . And if she is actually not unhappy afterwards she is free to decide not to press charges. Under the ‘happiness principle’ we would have to say either that leaving your bedmate unhappy was a serious crime, or that sex is always OK, and negative experiences are just a fact of life.

    As for children? They are vulnerable, easily coerced, and not competent to decide where they live, what they eat or drink, or how to spend their own money. Parents and guardians must do that for them. How could they possibly be competent to decide whom to have sex with?

    This is not really hard to understand. The only reason I can see to dispute it is that you have a strong personal reason to want sex with children to be freely available, and you simply refuse any argument that would take this right away from you.

  158. Ally Fogg says

    OK, earlier in this thread I told holocaust21 that I was prepared to allow him to discuss issues such as censorship of comments and the limits of debate around the age of consent, and pointed him towards the open thread as an appropriate location for that.

    I also quite clearly explained that I would not allow this blog to be used as a platform for propaganda aimed at justifying the sexual abuse of children, nor would I host links to sites presenting apology or denialism for the sexual abuse of children.

    He has now flouted those conditions on several occasions, and this person has been banned from commenting here.

  159. gjenganger says

    @Ally 171
    Looks like you have a rogue link appearing in your ‘Recent comments’ box that should be removed.

  160. Carnation says

    @ GJganger

    “Under the ‘happiness principle’ we would have to say either that leaving your bedmate unhappy was a serious crime, or that sex is always OK, and negative experiences are just a fact of life.”

    There is no “happiness principle” – there is a “consent principle”. Without getting clear consent, a crime has been committed. Happiness doesn’t come into it. And happiness has nothing to do with a victim’s decision to report the crime that has been committed.

    The details of the recent case involving a Tory MP are an interesting case in point here.

  161. gjenganger says

    @Carnation 173
    I completely agree. In fact I was trying to get exactly that point across to holocaust21 (168). He was the one arguing that consent did not matter, it only mattered whether the victim was happy or not afterwards. Which is obvious nonsense.

    Apparently my post was open to misunderstanding (which does surprise me a bit). For my personal education, could you tell me what I would need to change in order to make sure that I do not give the wrong impression?

  162. Anton Mates says

    [Feel free to delete this if you don’t want the conversation continuing in this direction, Ally.]

    holocaust21,

    I’m not sure where you get the idea that it draws data from about 20 other studies – it draws data from some 59 other studies covering I believe some 35,703 participants.

    I think you and Jacob Schmidt are talking about two different papers here. Jacob’s talking about the 1997 Rind & Tromovitch paper “A meta‐analytic review of findings from national samples on psychological correlates of child sexual abuse); you’re talking about the 1998 Rind, Tromovitch and Bauserman followup paper “A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples.”

    You’re both right on numbers for your respective papers, but note FWIW that 35,703 people from 59 studies was only the sample size for estimating the prevalence of abuse in the second paper. The sample sizes for estimating the actual effects of abuse were much lower: 16,000-ish participants for assessing psychological correlates, and 3,000-ish participants for assessing reactions and self-reported effects.

    Also note that both of these papers used Pearson’s r (correlation coefficient) as an effect size measure when combining study results, and it’s really not appropriate for that purpose. Dallam et al. (2001), dii:0.1037//0033-2909.127.6.715 took them to task for this and other severe methodological problems. Rind et al.’s rebuttal (doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.127.6.734) is not at all persuasive, IMO.

    1) There are numerous cases of positive experiences so the argument that all acts of ‘paedophilia’ are horrific evil acts is a lie.

    “Numerous” only in terms of absolute numbers(because there’s a lot of people who experience this), not in terms of proportions. Both of the Rind et al. papers you guys are discussing found that only a minority of boys, even, reported their “childhood sexual abuse” as positive–and that’s under the broadest definitions of “childhood sexual abuse,” which can include consensual sex between a 17-year-old and a much older adult.

    As other posters have pointed out, consent laws are not justified primarily by whether children are likely to enjoy an experience. (I imagine most children would enjoy a dose of heroin, for instance.) But even if they were, the majority of children in these studies either did not care about their abuse or actively disliked it. What is the point of changing the law to make it easier to have sex with them, then? How does it help anything?


    2) It shows that the negative experiences were generally not that negative (far from the lie that ‘child sexual abuse is a fate worse than death’).

    That’s an incredibly weak argument for legalizing them. What, as long as most kids aren’t horribly traumatized, we might as well do whatever to them? Lots of crimes don’t constitute “a fate worse than death” for the victim; they’re still illegal.


    3) It points out that females tend to view first sexual encounters as negative. So any negative reactions are likely uncorrelated with the age a female experiences sexual activity.

    Even the 1997 Rind & Tromovitch paper points out that females may be more likely to view first sexual encounters as negative because they experience them at a younger age than males on average. They’re also more likely to be report being forced, and that the abuser was a family member–and again, that could be more likely if they’re younger.

    As it happens, a large number of other studies have indicated that females do find first sexual encounters more negative if they happen at an early age, and that this effect is stronger in them than in males. Girls and women who had their first sexual experience earlier are more likely to say it was a negative experience, more likely to say they regret it, more likely to say they should have waited until later, and more likely to show negative mental health symptoms. (See DOIs bmj.316.7124.29, 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.08.002, 10.1016/S0140-6736(01)06885-4, 10.1086/512708.)

    Thus, it does not support your argument for the age of consent. It either supports abolition of the age of consent (if one takes the view that negative sexual experiences are a fact of life) or viewing all sex as rape (puritanical feminist idea of better never have sex than have less than enthusiastic sex). Take your pick.

    …holy Christ, that’s slimy. You’re actually arguing that women’s first sexual experiences are going to be shitty anyway, so they might as well get them over with when they’re kids?

    Your premise here isn’t even correct. In the studies cited above, most women who had their first experience in their late teens or at an older age do not regret it, and do not report it as negative. Age-of-consent laws thus make it more likely that a woman’s first sexual experience will be positive.

    And even if your premise was correct and it was an immutable cosmic principle that women must start out having shitty sex, age-of-consent laws would still be justified, because adults generally have more legal freedom than children to do unnecessarily unpleasant things to themselves.

  163. Ally Fogg says

    No, that was a good post Anton, and I’m very grateful to you for going through the research to make sense of it.

    I haven’t had the spoons, as they say.

    Would be grateful if we could make that the final word on the twisted views of our departed friend though.

  164. george says

    this is part of normal male sexuality,for thousands of years a 13 14yo girl is highly sort after,they are
    of “high mate value”and biologically ready,when you consider in this day and age,puberty hits girls at 11 going on 9.social norms change from time to time,so will these when you get over yourselves!

  165. Caroline says

    Hmm. So if you hadn’t realised that your new acquaintances were “girls” and not “women”, and had paired off with them that night, you would now consider yourself to be a “child abuser”?

    You say it’s easy to tell the difference. Well, perhaps you happened to hook up with some fairly immature teenagers. I remember having a very pleasant conversation with a middle aged woman at my godfather’s birthday party – my mum later told me the woman had asked her if I was in my final year of uni yet because she had some internship opportunities coming up in the next few months and wondered if I might be interested. She was very surprised when my mum informed her that since I had just turned 14 the only jobs I was eligible for were weekend ones that didn’t conflict with my homework.

    A few months later I decided to see what all the fuss surrounding sex was about with my boyfriend, who was 2 months older than me (though probably a couple of years younger than me mentally). According to some of the logic I’ve seen in the comments, neither of us was capable of consenting. Did we abuse each other?

    A year or so later, I had a relationship with a 25 year old (who thought I was 17). It was great, and unlike most teenage boys he was on my level in terms of maturity, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, I suppose we could have waited a few months until I was 16 before having sex. No, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world – but I struggle to see why we should have waited when we both wanted and enjoyed it, and if you had told me at the time to “wait” I would have been very unimpressed to be told that I couldn’t do what I liked with my own body. And I would be absolutely horrified to see him called an “abuser”.

  166. Holms says

    Hmm. So if you hadn’t realised that your new acquaintances were “girls” and not “women”, and had paired off with them that night, you would now consider yourself to be a “child abuser”?

    If you did so in the knowledge that they were underage, then yes. A difficult corner case might arise if the older person was somehow prevented from making a clear judgement as to the age of the partner, e.g. a person that looks older than their age with a fake i.d. card.

    A few months later I decided to see what all the fuss surrounding sex was about with my boyfriend, who was 2 months older than me (though probably a couple of years younger than me mentally). According to some of the logic I’ve seen in the comments, neither of us was capable of consenting. Did we abuse each other?

    No. Many legal codes (varying by nationality and also by state) have exceptions if both of the participants were similar in age.

  167. Caroline says

    “If you did so in the knowledge that they were underage, then yes.”

    The whole point of the author’s anecdote was that he didn’t know the ages of these girls he met but that he found it easy to tell that they were underage. I was pointing out that perhaps he was lucky to meet immature girls who made it easy for him to work that out. If he had met a more mature 15 year old, for example if he had met me at that age, I doubt any such concern would have crossed his mind and I wonder if he would now be damning himself as a child abuser rather than writing a smug article entitled “no excuses”.

    And I provided an example of a “corner case” – I was 15, I met my soon-to-be-boyfriend in a club which was theoretically open to over-18s only. He had no reason to think I was even under 18 never mind under the age of consent. This scenario is not remotely uncommon.

    One of the main premises of this article is that it’s easy as pie to tell the difference between an underage person and a legal adult. I was simply arguing that, with all due respect, that is a load of rubbish.

    “Many legal codes (varying by nationality and also by state) have exceptions if both of the participants were similar in age.”

    According to some of the logic in the comments above, though, people under the age of consent are not capable of providing any kind of meaningful consent to sexual activity. Therefore, any sex they have is abusive even if it’s with other teenagers. Thankfully in the UK we take a more nuanced view than this, but plenty of other jurisdictions do not. This unfortunate couple fell foul of the laws in the US for example: http://www.marieclaire.com/world-reports/news/teen-sex-offender

  168. gjenganger says

    @Caroline 181
    Your points are very well taken:
    – It is nowhere near that easy to see who is underage, and Ally’s smugness is rather grating.
    – Some people below the current age of consent are mature enough to decide for themselves.
    – Current age limits criminalize a lot of fairly normal teenage sex, and it might be better to reduce the limit, e.g. to 14.
    – Flexible handling of these cases would be better
    – US rules for registering sexual offenders are an unpleasant overreaction, except for a minority of particularly severe criminals.

    But ultimately you are up against it, as in the case you link to. The girl is underage, and her parents, at least, do not think she is mature enough. Her boyfriend thinks she is, but a man who wants to shag is notoriously bad at forming a dispassionate judgement on the matter. The age limit has to be there, and has to be respected, or there is no protection for a lot of minors. Do you not have to say, basically “Well, this may or may not be abuse, but this is the law. Obey it, or go to jail!”

  169. Caroline says

    @gjenganger
    “a man who wants to shag is notoriously bad at forming a dispassionate judgement on the matter”

    Lol no disagreement there! But parents are also notoriously bad at forming dispassionate judgments about their offspring because in the back of their mind they always see them as children regardless of their actual age or maturity.

    The thing is, if someone is too immature to decide to have sex then doesn’t that apply to sex with anyone, not just sex with someone older (which was kind of my point re. my first boyfriend when we were both 14). In the case I linked to, I’m sure her mother would have been equally unhappy if her boyfriend was 15 instead of 19, the only difference being that she would have been unable to do anything about it.

    I’m not saying we don’t need an age of consent, of course we do. But above a certain age perhaps we should leave it up to the individual concerned to decide whether they feel abused and therefore whether to prosecute – say 13/14 because that’s the age when many people become sexually active by their own choice, whereas you don’t see many 11/12 year olds having sex of their own free will. That way the law could step in if a teenager feels they were coerced but leave people alone if they are just having consensual sex.

  170. gjenganger says

    The thing is, if someone is too immature to decide to have sex then doesn’t that apply to sex with anyone, not just sex with someone older

    It does, but calling in the police and defining it as ‘abuse’ based on age only does not make much sense. I guess you could still prosecute based on evidence of intent and lack of consent, if the facts seem to warrant it. Apart from that there is really not much you can do, except calling in the social workers, like for any other self-destructive child behaviour.

    When one party is mature enough to manage his own sex life, you have the additional option of putting the responsibility on him – and punishing him if he breaks the law. The 19-year-old of your example did have the option of learning the law, and keeping it in his pants till his girlfriend was of age. The law might not make very much sense in his particular case, but it is perfectly clear, and it could serve to protect other underage girls who might need the protection.

    Of course the way the US uses their sex offenders register stinks. But that is a separate problem.

  171. gjenganger says

    @184
    Forgot one thing:
    “calling in the police and defining it as ‘abuse’ based on age only does not make much sense IF BOTH PARTIES ARE EQUALLY IMMATURE”

  172. Jan says

    I find this comment format incredibly hard to follow, so I might have missed a few things, but is there really a claim that adolescent boys in general are not as sexually fixated on female celebrities as adolescent girls are on male ones?

    I’m going to concentrate on heterosexual people here for the sake of brevity. Boys lust after female pop stars, female actors, female [usually glamour] models and porn stars, have pictures of them on their bedroom walls and talk to their friends about what they’d like to do with their crushes sexually. Some dream about the “bragging rights” they’d get with their friends if they somehow managed to have sex with their crush (provided she is someone the friends also consider attractive, of course, but “socially-approved objects of desire” lists are a whole other subject). These are pretty standard groupie motivations, I think.

    So I reckon that the real issue is why comparatively few boys appear to pursue the more intense encounters that girls seem to*.

    For boys, expressing sexual desire is much more socially acceptable than expressing loving feelings, and for girls expressing feelings of love is more socially acceptable than expressing sexual desire (I’d suggest that for girls the two are evening out somewhat these days). The implication of that is that in the two groups of fans there will be some false positives: some girls covering up how sexual their desires are and probably more boys (since as I say I think girls have a little more leeway now) covering up their more romantic feelings and fantasies. Intense public displays of love are more… well… legal than intense displays of sexual desire, so girls are able to express either their love or anything they can spin as being love, without being ostracised, whereas boys are left without recourse for publicly expressing how they feel about their crushes.

    Also, the perception is that not only does masculinity = lust, it also = dominance and femininity not only = love but = submission, so it makes sense that boys will not behave in the same way some girls do towards the celebrities they desire, because the socially-approved version of male lust is associated with domination. Turning up to the gig of someone you fancy may not be a submissive act, but begging them to notice you in a specifically sexual/romantic way and feeling/acting as if you are very honoured if they do certainly is. So I would suggest that that is one of the reasons (not all of them) that there aren’t as many male groupies. There is a fundamental conflict between standard groupie behaviour and self-image for boys/men that doesn’t exist for girls/women**.

    Luckily a lot of the two groups of people grow out of such insecurity about their gender and sexuality, though not all of them, of course.

    *By this I mean anything outside of enjoying an artist’s work and asking them for an autograph/picture. The group screaming so associated with teenage female fans, harassing people who don’t like the person you like on social media, and of course actual pursuit for a private sexual encounter are the kinds of things I’m thinking of. I am aware that both male and female fans stalk and send people inappropriate fan mail sometime’s including inappropriate requests, so as I’m not sure it constitutes a difference between genders I’m leaving it aside.

    **Another would be that teenage girls are told continually that they are the epitome of sexiness, whereas teenage boys are never talked about as anything but grubby, uncommunicative and undesirable, so it would be understandable if a teenage boy didn’t think for a second that he actually had a chance with anyone he fancied, whatever he might dream and however much he might big himself up to his friends. There are probably more reasons.

  173. Caroline says

    @gjenganger

    “Apart from that there is really not much you can do, except calling in the social workers, like for any other self-destructive child behaviour.”

    I think this sort of gets to the root of the argument – is sex itself harmful before a certain age or only sex without consent? I don’t see anything wrong or self-destructive about two teenagers under the age of consent having sex provided both of them want to. The concern with an older person is that they may be able to exert pressure on the younger person, so the sex might not be consenting – but surely the better way to handle that is leave it up to the younger person to decide if they gave consent or not, and then protect them with the full force of the law if they feel abused but leave them alone if not.

    “The law might not make very much sense in his particular case, but it is perfectly clear, and it could serve to protect other underage girls who might need the protection.”

    In some ways I agree with you but I also find it harsh to punish people for something that didn’t hurt anyone just because someone else in a superficially similar situation might be need protection. Even apart from the effect on the “perpetrator”, this approach harms the “victim”, so we’re inflicting damage on some underage girls in order to protect others. If you had told me, aged 15, that you were going to lock up my boyfriend because some other 15 year old girls might need protection from some other older men, I would have replied “go protect THEM then instead of harassing me!” I would not have felt either protected or empowered by police intervention – quite the opposite, I would have been horrified just like the girl in the article, and a situation where everyone was happy and no one was being harmed would be transformed into a situation where everyone was unhappy and many people were harmed. I don’t think that’s justifiable unless there is really no other way to protect those who need it.

    “Of course the way the US uses their sex offenders register stinks. But that is a separate problem.”

    Agreed.

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