The Criminalization of Teen Sex
Derek “The Fallen One” Logue
In Oregon, two thirteen year old boys faced 10 years and life on the sex offender registry for participating in “slap butt day,” a common form of horseplay at the school; the district had prosecuted other children for sexual harassment in similar cases [*2].
These cases are merely the tip of the ice burg in a society obsessed with punishing sex offenders. The criminalization of teenage sexual behavior has become a disturbing trend in our predator panicked society. We are simultaneously obsessed with sex and horrified by sex; our laws reflect this panic. For example, we allow 12-year-olds to obtain birth control and abortions, but they cannot consent to sex [*5].
Criminalizing teen sex is part of the “look tough on crime” stance which is popular in today’s society, yet few people are educating the public about the real possibility of teens landing on sex offender registries for irresponsible sexual behavior [*6].
This mentality has led to disastrous consequences, destroying the lives of many teenagers by placing them on sex offender registries for life! The possibility of teens landing on the registry is very real, as teens are having sex without knowledge of the consequences.
The Center for Disease Control found in one biannual survey of ninth to twelfth graders that
sex before age 13, and
A 2002 National Survey of Family Growth found that of the teens age 15 to 19 who have never had sexual intercourse,
In short, more than half of teens have experienced sexual contact of some kind. This does not even include actions such as taking naughty photos, butt slapping, or even some innocent actions misinterpreted as sexually motivated conduct.
If you think your child is immune, think again. Children as young as pre-school students have faced severe penalties for “inappropriate sexual behaviors.”
The AP recently noted from 1993 to 2004,
However, what percentage of these cases involves forcible rape or child molestation as opposed to consensual sexual activity with peers?
In our quest to prevent sexual violence, we are willing to place marks of infamy on children as young as four in the name of public safety, proclaiming the ironic mantra,
Tell me, are we willing to destroy the lives of many children to save “just one child?”
[*10] Brigid Schuldte. “For Little Children, Grown-up Labels as Sexual Harassers.” Washington Post, April 3, 2008. [Back]