Ayelet Waldman's new piece in Salon about the haphazard application of statutory rape laws is spot-on. It's an issue fraught with inequities based on race, sexual orientation, gender and class.

I had a relationship with one of my teachers when I was in high school. He was 22-23 and I was 16-17. I knew exactly what I was doing and there was nothing criminal about it in the least. If he had been a year younger and I had been a year older, we might have met at a frat party at Sewanee instead of in my classroom. But technically, it was illegal.

It was illegal in the same way that a 26 year old man involved with a 13 or 14 year old girl is illegal, although to me, there is a clear qualitative difference, yet the law makes no distinction.

And as Waldman points out, these cases are far more likely to be prosecuted when they involve homosexuality or interracial relationships.

It's a very interesting piece and leaves me wondering how we can draw a bright line that protects children and prevents adult abuse of power against adolescents, but allows for the fact that teenagers are sexual beings.

1 comment:

Chris Nystrom said...

Did the fact that it was illegal make it more exciting? Did you ever talk about it being illegal? Do you think he ever felt guilty about it?