The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘Few People Understand the Damage Boys Who Are Abused by Women Can Suffer’

Posted on | January 2, 2011 | 23 Comments

So says Dr. Helen Smith in regard to an Arizona case where an underaged boy (allegedly) had sex with both (a) 48-year-old Susan Brock, and (b) her 21-year-old daughter Rachel Katherine Brock:

Rachel Brock is accused of committing numerous sex acts with the teenage boy between February 2007 and August 2008, and sending him nude photos and a video of herself masturbating; none of the acts involved intercourse. The boy was 14 at the time, and Rachel Brock was 18, classifying the crimes as dangerous crimes against children.
Police said that between August 2007 and October of this year, the teen met Susan Brock for sexual trysts. Susan Brock reportedly provided the boy with cell phones, and police seized text messages reportedly recording sexual exchanges between the two.
Chandler police Sgt. Joe Favazzo said it appears that Susan and Rachel Brock didn’t know about each other’s relationship with the teen.

To summarize: Beginning in February 2007, 18-year-old Rachel was involved with the 14-year-old boy. Six months later, the boy began an affair with Rachel’s mother and continued his involvement with both of them for another year, after which he discontinued his affair with Rachel, but continued doing her mom for another two years.

Allegedly, we must hasten to add.

How should we judge this? If we were to judge it from the traditional-values perspective, I’m pretty sure some of my fundamentalist friends could cite chapter and verse of biblical passages condemning these acts as abominations. Probably all three of them would deserve stoning by Old Testament standards — a punishment they might be spared by the intercession of One who famously replied to the scribes and Pharisees, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” and then admonished the woman He had saved, “Go, and sin no more.”

Yet as a nation we have stepped off the Solid Rock and, as the old hymn warns, “all other ground is sinking sand,” so we are left to judge by a strictly secular standard. Legally, both of these women — mother and daughter — will face severe penalties if convicted, almost surely including permanent listing in the sex offender registry.

However, the law is merely one standard in the sinking sand of post-Christian America, and Dr. Helen notes that many commenters on the Associated Press story were protesting that these women were fulfilling many a teenage boy’s fantasy. (“Your honor, we ask your permission at this time to introduce defense Exhibit A, ‘Stacy’s Mom’ and also defense Exhibit B, ‘Hot for Teacher.’” )

However, Dr. Helen then quotes another commenter:

Plenty of 14 year-old girls dream of having an older male lover, and would greatly enjoy the experience. Yet society will condemn a male that takes advantage of that fact. Why should the consequences for a woman who violates a 14 year-old boy be any different? I wonder how most of these macho, “he wanted it” posters would feel if their 14 year-old daughter had relations with a 48 year-old man and his 18 year-old son? Would they crow “she wanted it?” Not likely.

Not likely, indeed. Still, as with the infamous case of consensual adult incest — “Eewww! Yuck!” — we see how the law comes under pressure from a culture that celebrates “sexual liberation” and condemns as benighted bigotry any old-fashioned objection to behavior once stigmatized as perverse. Given the defendant’s right to a trial by jury, couldn’t the trend of “liberation” someday make it nearly impossible to convict women accused of crimes like those alleged against the Brocks? A sex-offender’s version of the O.J. jury?

Laugh all you want at that seemingly far-fetched hypothetical, but you might be surprised how far down that road our intellectual avant-garde seem willing to travel. Donald Douglas at American Power calls attention to the fact that pro-sex feminist Sady Doyle was among the speakers at a May 2010 “Rethinking Virginity” conference at Harvard University. Doyle has criticized the “sexist undertones and overtones” of abstinence education and has elsewhere made clear her enthusiasm for “Rethinking Virginity” out of existence.

Could this anti-virginity attitude become problematic? Perhaps so, depending on whether we view age-of-consent statutes as (a) mere legalistic conveniences establishing rather arbitrary boundaries between categories of sexual partners, or (b) measures intended to lend legal protection to a social good, namely the innocence of youth.

It isn’t only pro-sex feminists like Doyle who derogate and devalue youthful innocence. Planned Parenthood doesn’t seem too keen on it, either. And let’s not forget the importance of teaching “fisting” to schoolkids. (What are you, some kind of homophobe?)

We must note in this context the extent to which American legal, educational and cultural standards have shift away from (b) toward (a). Even as legislators in many states have raised the statutory age — from 14 to 16 in Texas, for example — and increased penalties for violators, they have in many cases created so-called “Romeo and Juliet” exemptions. So while the 18-year-old with a 15-year-old girlfriend may be shagadelically protected by such a loophole, on his 19th birthday he becomes a criminal sex offender.

Returning from the realm of pure hypothesis, then, what of Rachel Brock who at age 18 (allegedly) began to victimize a 14-year-old boy? Perhaps the “Romeo & Juliet” exemptions in some states would have protected her if she had been 17 when this occurred, but on the day she turned 18, Rachel would have automatically gone from “girlfriend” to “abuser.”

Full stop: How did we get here?

It is not impossible to trace the history of American jurisprudence in such matters, nor need we be ignorant of how the prevailing standard shifted over the course of decades from “Thou shalt not” to “consenting adults.” If we now find ourselves confronted with arguments about sexual law that offend most people’s sense of  propriety and justice — will the Brock women be defended by radical protesters calling themselves the Cougar Liberation Front? — we know the route by which we reached this destination.

Yet this is probably not a destination so much as it is merely a junction we are passing through en route to somewhere else. Some say they know where the road ultimately leads, and they say that this particular road is paved with good intentions.

(Go ahead, Sady Doyle, denounce me for “slut-shaming.”)

We recall Justice Kennedy’s reference to an “emerging awareness . . . in matters pertaining to sex,” which drew the attention of (oppressive patriarchal christofascist godbag) Justice Scalia. If the “emerging awareness” standard, sufficiently powerful to overturn the most ancient understandings of Anglo-American common law, becomes entrenched via stare decisis, who can say how much further such awareness might emerge, or in what direction? Who knows whether in 20 or 50 or 100 years this awareness might permit — even celebrate as an indefeasible “right” — what now we condemn as among the most odious of crimes?

And so we continue onward, as an eminent jurist once famously phrased it, Slouching Toward Gomorrah.


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