Magazine article The Masthead

Men and Girls: A Time for Anger

Magazine article The Masthead

Men and Girls: A Time for Anger

Article excerpt

Grown men who molest very little girls are universally despised. So why doesn't society cast its collective condemnation at grown men who seduce little teenage girls?

Why do we continue to blame a lack of teenage morals for rising rates of teen pregnancy, even though most of the teens who get pregnant are the victims of something we used to call statutory rape?

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, 66.3% of babies born to teenage girls in 1994 were fathered by men age 20 or older.

The Washington Alliance Concerned With School Age Parents conducted a survey in Seattle of mothers ages 12 to 17 in 1995 and found the average age of the fathers was 24.

An article in the American Journal of Public Health this spring cited statistics for California's teen mothers. In 1993, wrote authors Mike Males and Kenneth S.Y. Chew, two-thirds of school-age teen mothers had a post-school-age partner.

A 15-year-old girl does not have the experience or emotional sophistication to match wits with a 20-year-old man. She might be conned into having sex, but she is incapable of giving consent.

Society used to understand that. Laws against having sex with underage girls were enforced. Men understood that these children were off limits. Communities did not wink as 25-year-old men escorted 17-year-old girls to the prom.

These days laws against statutory rape - now known by the euphemism "sexual conduct with a minor" - are not enforced.

Prosecution is difficult and the girls are reluctant to testify. …

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