Government cannot outlaw sex based on age
It's like 'The Graduate'
Elise Jordan; Printz, April 04, 2006
An alluring older woman has an affair with a younger
male. She's married, and he's sneaking around whenever
she beckons him for a secret rendezvous.
The difference between the Hollywood version and the
Debra Lafave case is the other man is really just a
boy. He's fourteen. For this reason, 24-year-old
Lafave went to trial recently for lewd and lascivious
battery as well as lewd and lascivious exhibition. She
was not sentenced to jail however, because she has
bi-polar disorder and recently suffered emotional
trauma after the murder of her pregnant sister.
According to the Law School at Cornell University,
lewd and lascivious battery is deliberate sexual
intercourse with someone between the ages of 12 and
16. Laws such as this are in place because the
government believes minors are not capable of making
an informed consent to have sex with an adult.
Well, I disagree.
My mother works as a registered nurse. One shift, a
woman came in with stomach pains. Lo and behold, she
was in labor. She did not even know she was pregnant,
and she couldn't understand how she could possibly be
pregnant. After all, she had been giving birth control
pills to her husband every night. She was clueless,
and she was 30. This proves age is just a number.
There is no particular age of which a person can make
a mature decision such as the decision to have sex. If
this were true, it would mean 6-year-olds and
17-year-olds are in the same pool of decisiveness. I
am a firm believer everyone develops and matures at
different ages. The government cannot put all
14-year-olds in the same intellectual category.
Am I advocating sex at 14? No. But it is normal for a
young man of that age to experience those urges, and I
believe he knows good and well what he is doing.
After reading the affidavit of the Lafave case, the
unnamed young man said he lied to his parents to cover
up his relationship with Debra Lafave. Their trysts
began at the end of the school year and throughout the
summer. The young man was aware Lafave was married,
and they even went shopping on one occasion for a gift
to give to her husband.
These two knew exactly what they were doing. The boy's
cousin even helped them sneak around on two separate
occasions. I do not know enough about Lafave's mental
or emotional state at the time, but I do know there
has got to be something very wrong for a grown woman
to be pursuing an adolescent male. She and the young
man are equally responsible for their actions
regardless of age or circumstance.
I would love it if the media would quit referring to
the young man as a victim. He is not a victim. I
understand the term is used for political correctness,
but the word insinuates he was somehow scarred by
these events. He was not scarred. In fact, police
reports state he bragged to his friends about having
sex with a hot teacher.
The government has laws against an adult having
consensual sex with a minor, but not against two
consenting minors engaging in sex. Isn't this a bit
Two 14-year-olds can have sex all they want, but a 20
and a 14-year-old is a crime? The 20-year-old
obviously isn't as mature as we would all think, so
whose to say the 14-year-old is as immature as we
would assume? The law needs to be amended because of
this grey area.
Young teenagers aren't as clueless about sex as we
would all like to think. Sex education begins as early
as elementary school. Sex education teaches students
about sex, pregnancy and risks of sex. What the
students do with the information is their choice.
Incase you haven't noticed, sex is all over
television, music and film. Kids are going to figure
it out whether we like it or not. They are also going
to have sex whether it's a mature decision or not.
According to a documentary by Discovery Health, 25
percent of teenagers under the age of fifteen are
sexually active. Their polls show contraceptive use
among sexually active teens has increased 36 percent
Although people are having sex at younger ages, they
are conscious enough to use protection more than in
the past. Parents were shocked at the amount of
sexually active teenagers and the fact most of them
are average to above average students from a suburban
lifestyle. Therefore, the government should stop
trying to control consensual sexual activity between
two people based on age.
The government is not there to discipline our children
or decide who is grown up and who is not. A
sociological study at the University of Michigan
concluded parents, above all, influence their child's
sexual behavior the most.
Parents who discipline in an authoritarian manner,
either passively or strictly are more likely to have
children who have sex early in adolescence.
According to an article 'Autum & Her Discontent' by
expert Gabriel Garnica, most teens feel for
comfortable talking about sex with their parents.
Maybe if parents stepped up and became informed about
their kids' views on sex, teens wouldn't be tempted in
situations like with Debbie Lafave. Sexual maturity is
determined on an individual basis and cannot be
pinpointed or regulated by the government.
This is a column of opinion by Elise Jordan. Responses
to this column can be made through the Printz
Editorial Board at firstname.lastname@example.org. *