Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Predatory Children

To the observer, there is rarely anything as entertaining as sitting back, coffee and cigarette in hand, watching a bunch of people working themselves up into a mouth-frothing state of outrage. As a general rule of thumb, I measure these things in my own way – that the level of outrage exists in direct inverse proportion to coherence. Such is the situation with a Prosecutor labelling a 13 year old girl as being sexually "predatory". That she was the victim in a case involving sexual activity with a 41 year old man only poured fuel onto this bonfire of stupidity.

The wall of loathing – and censure – that has crashed upon this prosecutor is disturbing on many levels, mostly because it rests on the assumption that 13 year old girls cannot be sexually predatory. To insist on this is to descend to such a depth of stupidity that I cannot follow the "argument" without excising a fair chunk of my cerebellum. To insist that no 13 year old girl wants sex, makes up her mind and initiates it, even enjoys it, is to spit in the face of experience, biology and history. It is to be so blinded by ideology as to deny reality – a worrying place in which people can find themselves.

Obviously, to point out that 13 year olds can be sexually predatory is to invite comment. Most of it based on straw-doll arguments. To say that such children can be sexually predatory is not to defend the men who succumb. It is not to argue for a lowering of the age of consent. And it is not to argue that "she was asking for it" (though she literally did, it seems). It is no more, and no less, to state a fact – that people under the age of 16 can have a sexual will and act to achieve it.

This is repellent to some minds. It flies in the face of their world-view, it is to challenge the sometimes twisted ideology that inveigles some crevices in the child protection movement. They cannot encompass the idea that children can be sexual, let alone predatory. I find this worrying, even frightening, that such a denial of reality can take such deep roots that to challenge it is beyond civilised discourse. Such stupidity craves challenge.

It is possible to advocate child protection whilst accepting that some children are sexual beings. It is possible to admit that some people under 16 can have sex willingly, without trauma, and yet not be advocating sex between them and adults. In short, no matter how sexually predatory a child may be, it does not excuse – even implicitly – the adults involved.

Once this is accepted, even slightly, then the Outraged move on to their ultimate argument – that children (even if sexual) are not sufficiently endowed with emotional or moral reasoning to be allowed to make sexual choices. This may or may not be true; it is largely irrelevant to my argument. For the very same people who heap abuse on anyone who dares throw the reality of biology into the faces of the po-faced are the ones who cheerfully insist that children who have sex with other children are abusers and should be thrown in prison.

Interesting.... So kids are not sexual. Or even if they are, they are not responsible. Ever. Unless we decide they are. Then we throw them before the courts and hold them accountable for the very sexuality we deny they are capable of being responsible for.


Unravel that. Then get back to me. But feel free to park your outrage and engage your brain first. If you dare.

93 comments:

  1. Oh Ben! I have followed your blog for a long time, but I'm out of here after this.
    The point of the outrage (which I share) is that a 13-year-old is a child who, in order to get anywhere near the description of her in court, has to have been the victim of sexual abuse in the past. You clearly dispute that, on what evidence I have no idea. Large numbers of children who are undoubtedly the victims are put through hell in court, and this just encourages that treatment. And how you manage to equate those of us who are angry about this case with your "po-faced" ones is beyond me.
    Your conclusions are very odd.

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    1. I was having sex at age 13, I was never the victim of sexual abuse. I engaged in acts with older men and often lied about my age. I did it because I was extremely mature for my age (emotionally and sexually) and boys my age were too awkward and inexperienced. I am 26 years old now and married to someone only two years older than me. Although I was very promiscuous when I was younger, this early sexual activity did not leave any lasting effects on my psychological health or overall well-being. As a matter of fact, I would say I probably engaged in this kind of behavior because I lacked a stable role-model, and that the men I dated when I was younger played a large role in shaping who I am today.

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    2. So you weren't a sexual predator at all, you were a child whose unmet emotional needs led you into sexually precocious behaviour. This tallies with the comment above yours, with which I heartily agree.

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    3. @Anon 4.06pm And you assert that no 13 year old girl can be autonomously sexual, it must be due to abuse. I'm assuming you have heard of biology, puberty and history? 'm assuming nothing; but your ideology leads you to deny children's sexuality and insist on abuse as an explanation. If you are leaving because you dislike a challenging perspective....ho hum.

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    4. @Sirikit, Interesting of you to put an overlay of your own interpretation on Anons sexual behaviour, rather than take her view on face value. Why are we so insistent that children cannot have autonomous, biologically driven sexual desires? Why the need to pathologise this?

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  2. Although I don't agree with everything you have said, I think what you do is pose more questions.

    I have taught such girls - I have taught 12 yr old prostitutes, 14 yr old pregnant girls, and it wasn't that long ago that the news was filled by the alleged 12 yr old dad (allowed to be so because the mother of the 15 year old girl was knowingly allowing them to have sex).

    Where the situation becomes abusive between children is in the difference in age and any use of coercion. It is also important to make sure we distinguish the age difference: the law is very different for sexual acts BEFORE and AFTER age 13. But this does not negate also, the possibility that sexual intercourse between one 13 and 15 yr old could be considered non-abusive, whereas with a coercion fact involved, another 13/15 situation COULD be considered abusive. It is important not to use the term "consent" for any sexual act with or between a children under the age of 16, who are not legally able to give consent.

    The problem lies in the absolute legal, moral and ethical responsibility of the adult (16+) in any sexual situation. Granted, if we are talking about a 13 and a 16 year old there is a problem. Technically the 16 year old could claim that "consent" was given (making it statutory rape, not rape). And let's be careful not to huff about this. 13 and 16 could be anything from 13yrs 1 day and 16 years 364 days old, right up to 13 yrs and 364 days and 16 and 1 day (age difference thus being closer to only 2 years.

    Having worked with children and young people for many years, you can see a massive transformation in sexual attitudes and sex drives in some children when they go through puberty. One pupil I taught was a sweet, quiet, intelligent girl in year 7 (aged 11-12)...but by the next academic year, aged only 13, was already beginning to not only be sexually promiscuous, but sexually aggressive in her attitudes...and appetites.

    However, a 13 yr old and a fully grown adult. Sorry, but no matter how pushy the girl is, the adult has the legal and moral DUTY to say no and not allow the sexual situation to happen or occur.

    I don't agree with your lumping of all those in support of child protection together as one mindless, blinkered group who are all ignorant or refusing to recognise other possibilities.

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    1. In Ben's view, all those who feel that children have an unconditional right to protection by all adults are po-faced, hysterical killjoys. Funnily enough, though, as one of those hysterical people (who refuse to park my outrage and engage my brain, ie buy into Ben's viewpoint) I would extend the same consideration to young Ben as I would to other children. It seems Ben is more upset by what was done to him (which I agree was terrible) than what is done to other children. Perhaps if he is lucky enough to have a child of his own it would open his eyes. It is one of the many wrongs wrought upon him that he was not given a few more decades on the outside to build a family of his own (in my opinion - I may be out of order here).

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    2. @Sirikit, yes you are out of order. Park your psychoanalysis and just read what I say - there is no subtext, let alone one rooted in history. Note that I have never denied that I held full responsibility for my crime at the age of 14.

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  3. I used to help out at a youth club (would never do that now I know how prevalent false allegations of abuse are) but I do know from that experience that some of the kids there (some as young as 11 - tragically) were having sex. On getting to 'know' the kids it turned out that most if not all felt utterly unloved at home and were searching for 'love' in the wrong places. Some were having sex to impress their peers who were happy to brag about it on the streets and in the club. These were kids who were all under the age of 14 years.

    Yes it's wrong. But look into the reasons why these kids have sex rather than blindly assuming that they must have been sexually abused.

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  4. "Yes it's wrong. But look into the reasons why these kids have sex rather than blindly assuming that they must have been sexually abused."

    Couldnt agree more

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  5. No halfway intelligent or knowledgeable person would deny that a 13-year-old child can be sexual. But this is a case where her sexuality or non-sexuality isn't really the issue. Prison staff who are accused of abuse, sexual or otherwise, will always lie, if in fact, they are guilty. Coercion is frequent, and a child has little defense against an adult, especially one in authority. The prison sentence for the adult is appropriate, and the prosecutor's "predatory" accusation is inappropriate. I don't bother to read comments on articles that, by their nature, generate frothing at the mouth, so you're probably quite right in objecting to the level of outrage. I just think you go too far. Unlike your anonymous reader who is now "out of here," I'm somewhat disappointed, having just begun to read your blog. But sometimes buttons get pushed and we are also guilty of frothing at the mouth.

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    1. Why was "predatory" not correct? The facts were- "On March 20 she again went to the flat and Wilson claims to have told her that they had to stop seeing each other. He said that her response was to ask if she could change out of her school uniform. Wilson said that he had left the room and when he returned she was sitting on a sofa wearing only a T-shirt. She had then started kissing him and touching his genitals, but he had pushed her away."

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  6. There is no harm in grabbing the bull by the horns and discussing the topic openly. It is the coy, taboo treatment of sexual abuse that is actually what allows it to happen more.

    In fact, if the public were allowed to talk more openly about who does the MAJORITY of abuse (including sexual abuse), there would be less rage placed at the likes of Savile and more fingers pointed where most of this abuse occurs!

    I am a little confused as to why everyone wants the judge's blood when it was the prosecutor who brought the comment to the table in the first place!

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  7. The child's emerging sexuality is not the problem, it's the assertion she was predatory. Predation implies full awareness of consequences of the desired outcome along with the power to make it happen, including overcoming the resistance of an unwilling 'victim'. None of these features of predation can be true of a 13 year old child sexually exploited by an adult.

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    1. @angrymammal. You re-wrote the dictionary there, so lets put reality back into the frame shall we? Being predatory doesn't require power, let alone the power to make anything happen. It only requires that there is an intent (no matter how futile). So, yes, 13 year olds can be predatory - as long as we don't buy into your redefinition of the word.

      And she was "sexually exploited"? Never let the facts obstruct a good burst of outrage -"On March 20 she again went to the flat and Wilson claims to have told her that they had to stop seeing each other. He said that her response was to ask if she could change out of her school uniform. Wilson said that he had left the room and when he returned she was sitting on a sofa wearing only a T-shirt. She had then started kissing him and touching his genitals, but he had pushed her away. "

      Hmmm.

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    2. Not good enough, intent alone isn't enough to warrant the label 'predator'. Where there is a predator there is prey, but the power differential between adult and child is such that the adult is always in the position of control and simply cannot be preyed on by a child.

      Regarding your quote - So the accused claimed in court he didn't sexually exploit the 13yr old child, that's a surprise. That's hardly fact or proof it didn't happen and presenting it as such I would have thought beneath you.

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    3. Before pontificating, read the damn case. That appears to be beneath you.... My quote above was taken from the events accepted and agreed by both Defence and Prosecution - not to be merely dismissed as offenders minimization.

      To say an adult cannot be preyed upon by a child due the power differential is again to re-define "predatory". You continue to do that, it suits your ideological stance here. But the definition of predatory does not require equal or greater power, or even hope of success - intend is central. But hey, if the world makes you uncomfortable, lets just redefine it?!

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    4. The world doesn't make me uncomfortable, but hearing supposedly intelligent people supporting and rehearsing the justifications for a sexual deviants abuse of a child makes me angry. Responsible adults don't do that.

      I can find one other blog carrying that quote, show me your source.

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    5. Is that what I am doing? Merely by stating the facts of what happened says nothing about the adults moral or legal responsibility - neither of which I have attempted to minimise or deny for a second.

      If she came on to him, then she came on to him. Deal with it. Deal with the fact that some kids are knowingly sexual. That's not justifying abuse, and it's silly to say such a thing. To deny children's sexuality and bury it under an avalanche of ideological verbiage about "justification" and "responsibility" is shameful - it is to flatly deny reality. And that is not only inherently dangerous and offensive, but it undermines any notion of Justice.


      http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/content/coverage-predatory-13-year-old-sex-attack-victim-exposes-failings-mainstream-news

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    6. @angrymammal. What sort of mindset thinks that admitting the reality of childrens sexuality somehow contains within it a justification for abuse? That is very worrying. Just because kids may want sex doesn't mean adults should indulge them. That's certainly never a view I've ever propagated, nor a view I would ever condone.

      The idea that admitting children's sexuality helps justify abuse makes it sound as if men have no self control, as if we are all tempted by the sirens' song. Which is a dangerous and silly path to go down.

      Acknowledging that some kids can be knowingly sexual is merely to nod at biology and individual development. It justified nothing on the part of adults.

      Except in your dangerous ideology.

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    7. Yes Ben, it's exactly what you're doing. You're giving airtime to the warped justifications of not only this child sex offender but many thousands more, including those who haven't yet offended but will welcome the ready made excuse when the time comes.

      The child was sexually aware, so what? That doesn't make her a predator. The adult had greater power, control and responsibility for what happened in this offence than the child could possibly have. If the adult had done the right thing there would have been no problem.


      The whole 'i'm just stating facts' doesn't stand up. The source for your quote isn't referenced and I can't find it anywhere else. Again, not good enough.

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    8. Yeah, the Press Gazette is a well known work of inflammatory fiction. Ho hum...

      I am not justifying anything. If children are sometimes sexual beings, that doesn't justify adults having sex with them. In may do in your weird ideology, but not in mine.

      It isn't an excuse. It wasn't used as an excuse in this case - he pleaded guilty and was convicted - and won't be in any future ones. You are being plain silly in this insistence that admitting the known biological fact of children's sexuality can lead to horrors beyond imagining. Such stupidity is a particularly dumb new phenomena that should be resisted. Or should we just keep flatly denying reality just to fit your views?

      What makes the girl predatory in this case was her predatory actions. This doesn't for a moment negate the adults responsibility. Why can you not see that? And just what did the adult do in this case...?

      Here are a couple of obvious statements to factor in to your musings-
      Just because kids may be sexual, doesn't absolve or justify adults actions.
      Just because a child may be predatory, doesn't excuse the adults response.

      You are arguing as if the one negates the other. As if admitting predatory sexuality in an under 16 year old mitigates adult responsibility. It doesn't. That's why I see this as just stating the facts, and why you load those facts up with scary ideology.

      She came on to him, undressed and grabbed him. He made his excuses and left. That you flatly refuse to encompass these facts, or that you do but claim they are too dangerous to be spoken, justifies my writing of the original post in spades.

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    9. From the outset I've made clear the child's sexuality is not the problem and it's not me that's confounding emerging sexuality with predatory sexual behaviour. It doesn't matter how sexual a child may be, they cannot prey on adults simple as that. Claiming this child victim was a predator remains without foundation, it is not a fact (your source still doesn't stand up and you've been selective about what you've posted) and is at best a value judgement.

      Actual predators of children can justify to themselves abusing children by holding beliefs that children can and will consent to sex. When one of those people read your views on this they will not recall your condemnation of their child abuse, they will remember that you and others here agree with them that they can become the prey of a sexually predatory child.

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    10. I refuse to held responsible for your refusal to do any damn research, or for how my words are misinterprated. My meaning is clear.

      And are you saying under 16s are incapable of consenting to sex? And I mean in reality, not in legal terms?

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    11. The law is the reality, an under 16 having sex with an adult has not consented. It's blunt but it's what we have and it's right we have it.

      I've read plenty on this. Your link doesn't give a source for what you presented as fact and I can't see it corroborated anywhere else so I have no qualms disregarding it.

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    12. The law is a sociopolitical construct....

      You could, of course, just email the Press Gazzete... But you prefer to substitute your own "facts" of what MAY have happened. Ho hum.

      I specifically didn;'t ask about the legal status of consent. I explicitly asked you if you believe that under 16 year olds cannot give consent in the developmental, biological sense.

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    13. I answered quite clearly, children cannot consent to sex with adults.

      You presented unsubstantiated 'facts', backing them up is your job if you want to be credible, not mine.

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    14. Just to clarify. You are asserting that people under the age of 16 are incapable by virtue of their personal/emotional development of meaningfully consenting to sex?

      Forget the law, that is not my question. If you prefer not to answer my question, just say.

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    15. And if you think the Press Gazette is an unreliable source, I'd love to know where you got your facts about the case specifics in order to pass judgement?

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    16. "people under the age of 16 are incapable by virtue of their personal/emotional development of meaningfully consenting to sex?" When it's with an adult, this is true,, because of personal, psychological or emotional development but also the power differential between adult and child. Can two 15 year olds consent meaningfully to sex together? Perhaps but not without consideration of a load of possible confounding factors.

      Your link sourced several other claims but not the section you posted as fact, I've called you on it so where's the court transcript or some other verifiable corroboration?

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    17. I'll swap you my sources for your sources....

      So kids under 16 can't meaningfully consent to sex with adults? What a silly denial of all we know of sexuality - as opposed to what we assert! The differential between ages is, um, ages. Not necessarily power in any form, let alone more power than complicated relationships between adults.

      I find your whole thread to be a denial of reality, human history, biology and research. It is ideology substituting for known truth.

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  8. I can’t for the life of me see what relevance OP’s diatribe has to the present case where a bloke in his forties pursues a thirteen-year old, gets her to his house and uses her sexually. He had kiddie porn already, so was hardly a disinterested innocent abroad when he first encountered the girl. His actions were predatory.

    The barrister in the case said this:

    ‘There was sexual activity but it was not of Mr Wilson’s doing. You might say it was forced upon him despite his being older and stronger than her.’

    That’s OK, that’s what the defence may well say when so intructed…… except that it was the prosecuting barrister who stood up in open court to make that dangerous statement.

    That is why this case is attracting such dismay.

    The trouble with CPS themselves becoming associated with the idea that kiddies are predatory & asking for it is that the next old man in the dock is more likely to use that justification. Then we’ll end up with a sort of apartheid ---- where any little girl not looking sufficiently ‘innocent’ ends up being outside the protection of the law, and free game.

    Sex offenders are notoriously reluctant to see what they’ve done as morally wrong (legally wrong, yes ---that’s why they take care to cover their tracks). They also tend to ‘think’ that the victim wants/needs their sexual attentions. I'm not surprised that the CPS are doing what they can to avoid association with the views of their own (but self-employed) counsel.

    I don’t know what Ben’s on about, to be honest.
    Geoff

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    1. Prosecutors represent what they believe to be the truth of the matter, NOT simply the statements that will lead to the harshest punishment. Theoretically that is how they act-how far it goes in reality is a different issue.

      They are supposed to approach the case in the line of "these are the facts we have, we believe this shows X is guilty, lets show them to the jury/judge and see what happens." So if the facts show to the prosecutor that this was not a case of grooming, that this was a case of "predatory behavior" then they should present that to the judge. Not as an excuse for the behavior, but as an explanation as to what occurred and to allow the judge to reach a decision on that basis.

      Not that the above stops what was said being bloody stupid. The Prosecutor knows the world watches these cases. So he should pick his words carefully. This quote could have been phrased differently. It should have been made bloody clear that it was not a mitigating factor. Otherwise people will use it to justify to themselves sleeping with underaged people.

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    2. I agree, Geoff! I also fail to comprehend Ben's persistence in wanting to prove somehow that child victims aren't always, automatically, guiltless or non-compliant in the crimes and abuses perpetrated upon them. Why is this an interesting or important discussion? To me, it's like saying, 'But SOME Jews were bad people and deserved to die, and others may have wanted to commit suicide but not had the courage, and SOME Nazis were jolly decent people and had Jewish friends'. Yes, but is this at all relevant or important, and is it worth causing upset and indignation by banging on about it? If Ben took that line, he'd be labelled a Holocaust apologist, by the 'hysterical, po-faced' folk he goes on about. As it is, he comes across as a child abuse apologist, no matter how often he states that child abuse is abhorrent. It sounds like a disclaimer now,and I'm starting to have grave reservations.

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    3. Isn't the case about a particular child and a reaction to a statement made about that particular child? People who didn't like the statement have claimed that it is never the case an individual under the age of consent could behave in a predatory way for some definition of "predatory". They have generalized it. In the case of the people taking heat for the particular remark, surely it's the specific case that's important?

      In the case of Nazi's, you surely aren't claiming that the specific details of what an individual Nazi had done wouldn't be important? If you were claiming that he'd abused/harmed somebody but the victim said "actually, no I'm fine and he never did anything I didn't want him to" that that wouldn't be relevant?

      Surely when you are dealing with a specific case, the specifics of the case are what is important rather than generalities? Is the claim that the generality is so important that the times when it might not be true need to be denied?

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    4. Godwined so quickly? Internet you disappoint me.

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    5. Anonymous, you've just invoked Sirikit's Law - in any online discussion of Nazis, someone will, sooner or later, mention Godwin...

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    6. @Geoff, this is what - "On March 20 she again went to the flat and Wilson claims to have told her that they had to stop seeing each other. He said that her response was to ask if she could change out of her school uniform. Wilson said that he had left the room and when he returned she was sitting on a sofa wearing only a T-shirt. She had then started kissing him and touching his genitals, but he had pushed her away." Thats the crime. Those are the agreed sequence of events.

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    7. @Sirikrit. The last time you popped in yoy called me a rape-apologist. Then withdrew it. Now You accuse me of apologising for child abuse. You tread on thin ice, mostly intellectually. If you can read justification in the face of my repeating that sex with kids is wrong them you substitute your own twisted reality for my very clear words. If I thought that sex with kids was okay, 'd say it and fight my corner - as always do.But I don't, and I expect you to withdraw that disgusting allegation.

      Not that am surprised. It's hardly unusual for those challenged by an idea or set of facts to reinterprate reality in order to avoid addressing difficult and complex points.

      I've been pretty clear. I flatly challenge the idea that no 13 year old can be predatory; that none are emotionally and sexually developed enough to want sex and try to get it. The basis for my saying this is a little thing called the whole of human history and human development, all we learned about sexuality before the ideologues moved in. And contemporary cultures around the globe. The idea that sufficient maturity and competence only kicks in on the 16th birthday is risible. It may be legally so, but in terms of actual lived experience and individual development it is a socially contructed arbitrary number.

      You say, "I also fail to comprehend Ben's persistence in wanting to prove somehow that child victims aren't always, automatically, guiltless or non-compliant in the crimes and abuses perpetrated upon them. Why is this an interesting or important discussion?" Because truth is always important. Because how we deal with these com;plicated issues is important, and in order to do so properly then we need to discuss it and face hard facts. We shouldn't have Judges and barristers being suspended and sentences increased on the basis of a blind ideology - no matter how much comfort the certainties offered by that ideology are.

      You can have all the "grave reservations" you like over my discussing this. Its importance may be signified by the fact it set the news agenda for a few days - its hardly an obscure item I dragged up.

      Your slurs are disturbing. You are relying on my benevolence not to delete your comments calling me an abuse and rape apologist - serious things to say. Don't assume that I will always be so willing to give you space to libel me in such a disgusting way, particularly as you write from a non-identifiable profile. I have the stones to stand publicly behind what I say.

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    8. I find it indicative of the weakness of people's argument when they have to attack the person making the argument rather than putting forward cogent, sensible debating points into a ... well, a debate!

      The simple FACT is that some 13 yr olds are far more sexually advanced than others. Their attitudes to sex and promiscuity often being formed by awful or unstable backgrounds...but not always the case.

      The issue NEEDS to be debated, it needs to be discussed, not in order to "apologise" for abusers, but because by denying it the time it needs to be discussed is irresponsible. In fact, for all those people who are trying to accuse Ben of being an apologist for abusers please consider this:

      If we do not address the promiscuity and sexualisation of our youth we are allowing untold numbers to fall victim of abusers who will capitalise on the opportunity this gives them to use such children for their own gratification. Ben has NOT said anything about removing the legal definitions of "abuse" (the adult still holds responsibility to say no) but what he is suggesting is that we DO discuss this issue intelligently rather that with mock-intelligence which is just fuelled by useless emotional outbursts.

      The kind of emotional outbursts that do nothing for the safety and protection of children: whether they are promiscuous and predatory or not.

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    9. @Geoff, the day that you can happily complain about a Prosecutor giving a true account of events because it leads people to "dismay" is just about the point you should question your view of Justice. Truth is truth; we must respond to what it is, no matter how difficult. To suppress it because it does challenge us would be shocking.

      And people wonder why the reaction to this case is hacking me off....

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    10. Maybe, for once, the CPS were being honest and stating fact.

      Reading all the comments on here I can't help feeling that these people have forgotten their own early teen years.

      They are also forgetting that the 'age of consent' is an arbitrary political line (only just lowered for gay sex). Many countries have very different ages of consent (I think Spain is 13).

      When I was a teen there was often lots of elements of sexual activity (though not intercourse) from the ages of about 11 up and, from my memory, all of these were instigated by the girls who were mentally and sexually ahead of us boys. Does that mean that the girls abused us then?

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  9. If you don't know what Ben is on about, try reading THIS too. Sheesh, some people really don't like discussing issues do they?!

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/yes-child-abuse-victims-can-be-predatory-8750569.html

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  10. Who would win in a death match between Jon Venables and Mary Bell?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Bell

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_James_Bulger

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    1. Does either of them have a flamethrower?

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  11. Precociousness and predatoriness are two different things.

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    1. Yay Darby! Your comments always hit the spot. :-)

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  12. Ben. I won't comment much and that is only due to lack of time, not lack of respect. As I do maintain that your mind is deeply inspective, intelligent, on the ball, and so on. And as per other media will go down in history in a good way. As history demonstrates... sometimes, one is only heard after death. C'est la vie and the opposite.
    And so... Methinks what 'tallguy' said was on the ball. I won't cite cases, as that gets tedious. But you got it in one. 'The public' are scared of notion that 13 year olds can be predatory. The 'justice system' (ie two people, then an uninformed public) does not like such vocabulary. Well. Time to get real, isn't it. Sexuality and urges arrive long before the age of criminal responsibility (taking the base-line). Neurology, sexuality, having a quick feel of oneself (who else will be honest here?!) and discovering someone else who may help.. it's all but inevitable if gone out to seek.
    I am glad that sentence was suspended. If there were a predator in this issue, it was her. Sure, he may have enjoyed it. That doesn't to my mind make him - morally - a criminal. Legally, sure. Because children - however defined - are always victims - however defined.

    And you know full well that I absolutely disagree with my last statement. x @tarakatesanders

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  13. Legal capacity involves the ability to comprehend the legal nature of one's actions. By nature, I mean that a person has sufficient awareness of the likely key legal consequences gained through life experience. If those key legal consequences are not understood, consent is diminished.

    The legal incapacity of a minor to consent sexually is a conclusive presumption. It cannot be rebutted by presenting contrary evidence. In that sense, it differs from the other presumptions, such as innocence and paternity, which can be rebutted by clear and convincing contrary evidence.

    Legal capacity applies a uniform standard by which a society has agreed (by law) to hold a person fully accountable for the consequences of their actions. I think the defence was trying to probe the validity of such a conclusive presumption about consent in the face of such reckless behaviour.

    The central issue is about the fairness of subjecting a child to an adversarial cross-examination of their motives. What sort of lasting damage could that cause?

    Our courtrooms see defence barristers use badgering, innuendo, hyperbole and sarcasm to demolish the credibility of a rape victim. As a society, we can decide that we still do not want our kids to face the full rigour of a legal cross-examination about whether they gave consent.

    On that basis, the conclusive legal presumption in a child's favour should remain. It was for the judge to apply that presumption in respect of the inadmissibility of 'evidence' of predatory consent.

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  14. PrisonerBen, you are the first sane human being who I have agreed with all their points of view regarding this story. Having seen what some 13 year old girls can be like, I was one, some years ago mind, was truly shocking. During the 80's when I was in my teens, some 13 year olds were very promiscuous, to the point it'd make your hair curl as my nan would say. So having grown up with that around me, when all hell broke loose for the term 'predatory' being used in conjunction with the girl in question, I was the one left shocked. You'd be surprised how these girls minds work.

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  17. Prisonerben - misrepresenting yourself there, a little. As you talk about throwing in "biology" try throwing in the "law"..........................and ask yourself, why some children are sexually active and eager to please adults, mostly men. I do not deny we are all born sexual beings, but we need to draw a line, or your argument would construe and allow a child of 3 to fondle an adult man's penis - sexual activity or curiosity? Maybe you are a prisoner, in your own warped, if thought by some, intelligent head!

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    1. I think you have read a different post. I have argued that under 16s can be sexually autonomous human beings. I've also repeatedly said that this does not for one moment excuse any adults engaging with such children.

      My "argument never has, never intended to be, and isn't, a justification for any sexual activity with children - no matter how sexual they are.

      Quiote why people are having difficulty with this is beyond me. Kids can be sexual. Fact. They can be predatory. Fact. Neither excuses adults from having sex with them. Fact. These are not mutually exclusive facts. Once you appreciate that, it can be seen that I am in no way excusing or minimising adults behaviour in these situations.

      Delete
  18. You wrote - (The idea that sufficient maturity and competence only kicks in on the 16th birthday is risible. It may be legally so, but in terms of actual lived experience and individual development it is a socially contructed arbitrary number.) Okay - just as humans are sexual beings, we all have an instinctive desire to say, survive, prolong our lives.....ergo - children, of any age can engage in discussion and the decision with a surgeon to transplant their liver, as the one they have doesn't work.............no - that shouldn't and will never happen either - the age of consent is not arbitrary, it is the best we can devise to cover all contingencies. Nevertheless, you manage to state FACTS, as if you are always right, and clearly believe you are, so no need to engage in further debate.

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    1. Interesting. My point, as ever, is to say that some people under 16 are capable of making sexual decisions. Do we agree on that? Equally, I say that this is no defence for adults engaging with such children. We agree on that?

      You clearly do feel the need for debate, because you responded to the post and comment. And yet haven't disputed a single one of the three things I laid out as "facts". Feel fee to do do.

      And yes, the age of consent being 16 wasn't the outcome of great pondering or analysis. It directly happened as a response to a moral panic in the press over 13 year old prostitutes - that being the age of consent at the time. It may well be useful to have it at 16, but lets not pretend its wholly rational.

      Now, please challenge my 3 facts....

      Delete
  19. I have spent the last 3 hours reading the abstract and the blog, plus the feedback and i have one question! if the legal age of consent was based on individual maturity would preceptions and views differ? We seem to debate about the age of consent yet i was sexually active at the age of 14. To my parents dismay i was intelligent and headstrond hence iwent on and had my first child at 15 and 2 more after that. However i at present have a fruitfull career as a social worker and flourishing prospects for my children who thus are thriving beyong measures. So based on my soial circul and for those around me i have to proclaim that it certainly comes down to the individual in question.
    For example in asia there are no age restrictions when one is old enough to engage in any sexual activity as it is culture so one might say " who defines the accurate age to determine ones sexual activity as we are all individuals and can be influencial when we need to for our own gratification. which leaves me with a thought, who is wrong and who is wright as society and goverment deem to be the ones implementing all the rules and regulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  20. Thus possessing developed your all around me personally, any time all hell shattered loose for your time period 'predatory' being used with the young lady under consideration, I became normally the one left stunned. Choosing amazed how these young ladies heads perform.


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