These lines should seem familiar: "All right, moms and dads: If you weren't paying attention then you better wake up now!" They were taken from the March 24 editorial in The Columbia County News-Times, which addressed the severe consequences imposed on teenage boys who receive consensual oral sex from minor teenage girls.
One has to ask, "Why weren't the girls brought up on charges for child molestation?" One of the major points made in the editorial is that anyone over 13 meets Georgia's state criteria for being eligible to be tried as an adult. In the Evans case in January, all of the girls were 13 or 14 and the boys 15 and 16, therefore all were minors but over the age to be legally tried as an adult. If this is true, then why aren't the four girls that "performed oral sex on three males," being charged with "child molestation, stigmatized for life, and registered as child molesters"? Have we returned to the double standard where girls are innocent and boys are not?
If this nation is founded on equal rights, then something is very wrong with the current situation with these teens. The four girls involved voluntarily "performed oral sex on three males." And if not forced into having sex, is having consensual sex at a young age more of a crime for boys than it is for girls, even if all concerned are minors, yet old enough to be tried as adults? Conversely, the boys are being charged with child molestation when a girl admits to being doer in the sexual exploits. The message we are sending is girls have nothing to lose by experimenting sexually and may do without repercussions. How is that equal? Had the boys performed oral sex on the girls, would the girls be charged with child molestation? This is America, where women are considered equal to men; where women get equal pay, play men's sports, serve in the armed forces -- and serve equal jail sentences.
Here's another wakeup call for parents. If the girls were not forced into "performing" oral sex on these boys, then the parents who pressed charges need to be given a stupidity award for airing their dirty laundry in public. Who should be accountable when your child is the one doing the "performing"? The answer is your child and possibly you.
Please consider the following questions: Did you investigate the party well? Do you know the parents hosting the party as well as you should have? Did you discuss and approve the activities planned for the party? Have you told your daughter you expect her to say no when someone suggests experimenting with sex? Did you know that some middle school students are experimenting with sex already?
If you answered "no" to these questions, then it's no wonder you pressed charges against the boys, because someone had to take the blame; otherwise you may have to examine your own accountability, or that of your daughters.
Where were the parents hosting this party? How did they escape prosecution? When a party is not chaperoned well or there are no planned activities, and no structure, then the party is a sexual time bomb. Unsupervised teen-agers, sitting close, someone turns off the lights, one couple starts making out, and the next thing you know you're having an orgy.
No matter how you sugar-coat it, the party in question became an orgy. The real crime committed was by the parents who weren't paying attention and allowed the opportunity for the incidents to occur. The second crime committed is by the parents who are allowing their daughters to escape without accepting responsibility for their actions, then exacerbating the crime by transferring all the accountability to the boys. No matter if these boys serve 10 months or 10 years it will not relieve these parents' guilt, nor will it help the kids regain their lost innocence.
The real atrocity is the number of similar cases cited in the March 24 editorial, where boys are being condemned to prison for the acts these little angels are performing while "preying" on their knees. Parents, appeal to your legislators to revise the laws that makes our sons out to be sexual predators. Change the laws to give equal rights and equal punishment to teenage girls when they behave poorly. Stop laws that enable girls to become manipulators of the system by not holding them accountable for their actions, too. It is time to make some changes to the laws concerning consensual teenage sex.
People of Georgia, do something about these laws before the lives of your teenage sons grandsons or nephews are ruined. Most importantly, parents, tell your children how you expect them to behave, and tell them that you will hold them responsible when they do not behave as you have directed them to.
(Tess Bell is a pseudonym used by a Martinez woman who serves as a parent-teen coach.)
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