Rape and Consent 3: Teenagers have Sex too

I’m very concerned about rape laws and teenage sexuality. Teenagers often do have sex, whether we like it or not, and often, teenagers have sex with people who are legally adults. In these types of cases, the parents of the teenagers in question have the legal recourse of having the adult arrested on some type of sexual assault charge, and the adult will be a registered sex offender for life. While I definitely think a 50 year old should not have sexual relations with any minor, I’m very concerned about the law interfering with two young people having consensual sex.

A typical argument for prosecuting a young adult for a sex act with a minor is to say that teenage minors are not old enough to consent. However, this country seems to have no problem trying and sentencing teenage criminals as adults, and this country has no problem with 17 year olds joining the military. No, they don’t vote. They can’t drink, and they can’t smoke. Still, it seems we are picking and choosing which adult acts we allow teenagers to consent to. Even if we want to prevent teenage sex, how is prosecuting and ruining someone’s life, who is barely an adult, the right thing to do?

To be honest, I think what we should be concerned with is whether or not the teenage minor has been taken advantage of. Is there some indication that the teenager’s consent was diminished? A relationship between a 20 year old and a 17 year old is hardly an in balance of power, at first glance. We might want to be concerned with a high schooler dating a 21 and up person, but this would mainly be a concern, if the 21 year old was supplying the high schooler with alcohol. Nevertheless with the 20 year old and 17 year old, they may have shared some of the same time in high school together. Why would we ever want to ruin someone’s life over having consensual sex with someone they went to high school with? (I’m really asking. I don’t know.)

We all know teenagers can be immature and irresponsible, but they are soon going to be adults. They make choices we don’t like. Legally, when it comes to prosecutions over serious things like rape, we need to be damn sure there really is reason to convict someone, and what should we concerned about the most? Rape. Rape always implies that there either was no consent given or that the victim had a diminished capacity and COULDN’T consent. We may not or should not give teenagers adult status with regards to consent, but 18,19, 20 year old are also barely adults. It’s not like when someone turns 18 someone waves a magic wand in the air and all of a sudden they become a fully formed adult. That’s just not how development works.


Rape and Consent Post 2: Maybe I shouldn’t have sex with that drunk person

The laws need to be clear about sexual acts, where drugs or alcohol are involved. Two people who are wasted having sex with each other might be unfortunate, but it cannot be rape, since neither could consent. Someone who is not drunk (maybe only had a couple of drinks) having sex with someone who is throwing up and can’t stand up straight is in my opinion a rapist. There is just no telling whether or not the wasted person would have wanted to consent, if they were in their right minds. They cannot consent. We shouldn’t still be in the days where “getting someone drunk” is just considered sneaky or even romantic. It is wrong.

Sadly, many people think it’s the victim’s fault where alcohol or drugs are involved. It may never be smart for someone to get that inebriated at a party. That’s a given, but that does not give the sober/slightly buzzed person a right to take advantage of someone. If you wouldn’t have sex with someone in a coma, paralyzed, or otherwise, you shouldn’t sex with someone as drunk as I have described. It is not just bad sex. It is abuse. The only person with the power of a sound mind in this situation is non-inebriated person. The wasted individual may not even be capable of remembering the event. What does that say about the individual who has sex with them? Well, it tells me they’re immoral. It tells me they are okay taking advantage of people.

Look, I understand there are gray areas, but as far as I’m concerned, their needs to be some standards here. A person who has had two drinks, or no drinks, should not have sex with someone who has had 20. I, also, no some people have ahigh tolerance to drugs or alcohol. Perhaps, and I’m not devoted to this, their should be a set limit on how many drinks a person can have before being labeled as unable to give consent. Even if I’m wrong on setting a limit, we owe it to our men and women to be clear on consent and rape where drugs and alcohol are concerned. Tell me what you think!

Trigger Warnings University Edition

There has been a lot of discussion about whether or not certain courses or the material should come with a trigger warning. For example, some want trigger warnings on poems or books that depict rape scenes. On one side, there are people who are against trigger warnings. From their perspective, universities are supposed to be challenging even if certain topics make students feel uncomfortable. On the opposite side, their are people who argue that people should feel safe at universities. I disagree with both arguments.

While I agree in part with those who don’t advocate trigger warnings, I think it depends on what we mean by “trigger.” In lay people terms, “trigger” simply means something that makes someone uncomfortable. Most of the time, I think we are talking about making someone more than a little uncomfortable. Usually, the person triggered has experienced trauma, so “uncomfortable” is an understatement.

Still, it really depends on the trauma victim. I’m a survivor of abuse, and uncomfortable is generally the correct term for what I experience when abuse is brought up in conversation, books, and the like. However, not every trauma victim is as lucky as I am. Some experience PTSD, and this is a very different thing. Uncomfortable for these people is a very drastic understatement, when speaking about triggers.

Students who have PTSD are the ones I’m concerned about; because, I agree universities should be in the business of talking about uncomfortable topics. However, there are veterans, for example, who could potentially have PTSD who use GI bills to pay for school. Now some would argue trauma victims should seek treatment. Well, yes, they should. Still, they have a right to an education. Meanwhile, if someone is so emotionally damaged that they cannot handle even moderate triggers, then perhaps they should postpone an education.

I’m neither 100% for or against trigger warnings. I, do, think it depends on the content. A university professor, for example, should not be in the business of using gunshot noises without warning. Although, I do not know how that scenario would happen. Perhaps, what is needed is not so much trigger warnings. Instead, course should make clear the topics of the coursework during registration. This could simply be addressed in a subject line and some amount of an about section.

However, let me be clear: universities should not water down the material or coursework.