Over breakfast I was just reading about how there’s been a ‘minor’ but ongoing problem with military recruiters raping or otherwise having improper sexual relationships with their underage female recruits and I have some questions.
My main question is, when we’re all sitting around in feminist indoctrination camps and girl-power pow-wows, hearing from each other our stories of being assaulted, almost raped, raped, hit on by bosses, leered at by teachers who lowered our grades if we seemed to mind, and when we’re spending years telling each other, “Hey, it’s not your fault. You went along with what you had to go along with in order to get by.” who is sitting down with the boys and saying, “Hey, don’t have sex with girls who haven’t clearly consented to having sex with you. No, coercing them into saying ‘yes’ doesn’t count. We’re talking about affirmative consent, a delighted ‘Hell yes.’ Don’t have sex with minors. And don’t have sex with your subordinates, whose future job or school success relies on you being pleased with them. Also, a lot of teenage girls are really fucked up and can seem very much like consenting adults who are delightfully saying ‘Hell yes’ to having sex with you, hence the reason you don’t have sex with minors or with people you have authority over.”?
Let’s just set aside the instances of obvious rape. I think most of us can agree that forcing someone to have sex against their will is wrong. Holding out the promise of future success based on current sexual performance is wrong. Etc.
Instead, let’s think about this poor idiot:
Shedrick Hamilton uses the same phrase to describe his own actions that landed him in Oneida Correctional Facility in upstate New York for 15 months for having sex with a 16-year-old high school student he met while working as a Marine Corps recruiter.
Hamilton said the victim had dropped her pants in his office as a prank a few weeks earlier, and that on this day she reached over and caressed his groin while he was driving her to a recruiting event.
“I pulled over and asked her to climb into the back seat,” he said. “I should have pushed her away. I was the adult in the situation. I should have put my foot down, called her parents.”
As a result, he was convicted of third-degree rape, and left the service with an other-than-honorable discharge. He wipes the collar of his prison jumpsuit across his cheek, smearing tears that won’t stop.
“I literally kick myself … every day. It hurts. It hurts a lot. As much as I pray, as much as I work on it in counseling, I still can’t repair the pain that I caused a girl, her family, my family, my kids. It’s very hard to deal with,” he says, dropping his head. “It’s very, very hard to deal with.”
See, y’all, this is tragic to me. Here you have a girl who has clearly gotten the message that a woman’s real power over men is in her ability to manipulate them through sex, who’s trying it out on a guy who holds a lot of power over her. It’s fucked up but it’s understandable why she would want to even the playing field. How many of us, when faced with someone who holds a great deal of power over our futures don’t look for ways to feel powerful in return over them?
And this shmoe? Yes, he should have known better. He should have looked at this 16-year-old girl and seen a child playing with fire and refrained from being the one to burn her. But he also comes from a culture–ours–in which women are portrayed as being constantly willing and available for sex, in which girls, no matter how young, are portrayed as, at least, up for sexualized scrutiny, and in which men are expected to follow their penises, even when their brains should know better.
I’m not trying to excuse Hamilton. He’s in prison, serving his time, where he should be.
I’m just saying that, when a sixteen year old puts his or her hands on a grown person, that grown person should have sense enough to see that for what it is–fucked up–and not free reign to have sex with him or her.
But I’m worried, when I read what appears to be genuine sorrow and contrition on the part of folks like Hamilton if the problem isn’t, in part, that we rightly spend a lot of time outlining for girls what inappropriate behavior is in hopes of preventing them from becoming victims (or remaining victimized) but little if any time talking about what boys and men can do to keep there from being more victims.
Update on Monday, August 21, 2006 at 07:49PM
Short & Fat is totally my internet boyfriend today for this post, which reads, in part:
However, as I don’t have much choice today, I am once again confused as to how dudes my age get caught crackin’ with high school girls. Why? Sitting across from me are two girls, both reasonably cute, but clearly young enough to be my daughters (if some girl had let me impregnate her when I was 18 or so). The conversation was wretched. I don’t think it could be less intelligent if they tried. I mean I could see tapping an attractive mute, but these airheads are making my penis soft and I’m this close to jabbing out my ear drums with a plastic fork.