Happy to confirm that I have not fallen off a cliff, and that with kids returning to school and some kind of long-forgotten routine casually sidling up to me on the sofa, normal HetPat service shall resume shortly.
I have a couple of issues just bubbling up to the surface for proper blog posts, but in the meantime, I thought I’d welcome in the season of mist and mellow fruitfulness with a quick open thread.
To get you started, here’s a comment that sonofrojblake just left under my previous post.
Great story on the news this morning regarding boys, girls and consent. Girl, 14, takes photo of herself naked, sends it to her same-age boyfriend. Without her consent, he shares it around. She's obviously the victim of a crime - "revenge porn" has been in the news - so as you might imagine, as a victim, she was sensitively interviewed by the school and the police tracked down and prosecuted the person(s) who distributed this image without her consent. Oh, no hang on, that's not how it went down at all. The circumstances were the same, the actions were the same, but the photo taker/sender was male, the revenge porn perp female. Result? School interviewed the BOY without his solicitor OR EVEN PARENT present and pressurised him into admitting to taking and sending the picture. Police have pursued HIM and now he has a record for producing a distributing an indecent image of a child, a charge he will be forced to reveal to any future prospective employer - even though the image was of himself. In an interview with the BBC he mentioned that other kids at his school still have the picture and have threatened him in relation to it - apparently there's been no particular interest from the police in pursuing those known to be in possession of the image. In none of the coverage I've heard did anyone mention the massive double standard at work.
I think there are two issues muddled up here. The first is that the police have intervened in a Snapchat exchange between two teenagers, formally processing it as a crime of child pornography. This is, quite obviously, ludicrous. It is also not that unusual, and sooner or later the law is going to have to catch up with reality because we risk branding entire generations of teenagers as sex offenders.
The second point, the one that sonofrojblake makes, is a bit less clearcut, I think. There is one crucial detail missing from the reporting. . . I haven’t seen anything anywhere to suggest the girl and boy were in a relationship, that the naked selfie was in any way solicited, invited or even welcomed. If it was – and the girl then betrayed the lad by screencapping his Snapchat and showing it to all her friends – then it would be fair to consider her as a horribly exploitative little brat.
On the other hand, if the boy had not been invited or encouraged to send the girl a naked selfie, the story would look rather different. To be blunt, sending unsolicited cockshots is quite a nasty form of sexual harassment, it is basically indecent exposure in digital format. While obviously making allowances for 14 year old idiocy, if you send a naked image of yourself to someone who has neither invited nor expected it, and they decide to show all their (and your) friends, then that seems pretty much natural (if rough) justice to me.
Feel free to disagree with me below, or share whatever else is blipping your oscilloscope this week.