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Disparity in prosecution for teen
As a mother I have to ask, where the hell was her mom, when her barely teenaged daughter started dating someone three years older than her? I read recently that her mother was writing a parenting book; given this information and the apparent meltdown of her older daughter (which I find very sad, incidentally), I think its probably safe to say that Mama Spears is not one to be advising other parents on anything, except how to make their kids into money machines. Anyway ..
The controversy is not just that the underage, unmarried star of a childrens television show is pregnant. That alone might harm her career, but pregnant 16-year-olds are so common these days that high schools have nurseries in them. However, under state law, Casey Aldridge should be charged with statutory rape, which carries up to ten years in state prison merely for having a sexual relationship with someone under the age of 17; the statute does not require force or coercion as a condition precedent to prosecution, since it instead assumes that the girl is unable to consent due to tender age.
Do I think Casey will be charged? No, I dont. Do I think Casey should be charged? No, I dont. It is not as if Jamie Lynn is a naive young girl, because Im pretty sure she isnt given her lifestyle and family, and naive girls are who that law is designed to protect. Its also not as if Casey is a dirty old (young) man who took advantage of a young girl, or at least he doesnt seem to be since they have dated for yeas, and thats who that law is designed to protect against. However, these laws restricting sexual contact among the young dont take into consideration anything except age, so its possible that he could be charged.
In recent years, other teenage boys have been charged with statutory rape for having sex with a teenage girl - most notably 17-year-old Genarlow Wilson of Georgia, who was found guilty of statutory rape for engaging in oral sex with a 15-year-old at a drunken motel party. He was arrested, charged as an adult, tried, found guilty, and sentenced to a mandatory ten years in prison without the possibility of parole, and lifetime registration as a sex offender. He was released last year when the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that his sentence amounted to cruel and unusual punishment, but not before he had spent over two years in prison. Time in prison alters anyones life, especially if they are very young and the crime was not the type of crime which should land them in prison at all.
Genarlow was 17, and black. The girl involved was 15, and also black. Prosecutors claimed that, at the party, she was too drunk to consent, and thus they also sought a rape charge. However, the jury refused to convict on a charge of rape, thus rejecting the prosecutors argument about inability to consent due to intoxication. However, the law was clear: since the girl was 15, and sexual contact occurred, even if that contact was completely consensual it was statutory rape in that state, because it was assumed based upon her age that she cannot consent. He didnt force himself upon her in any way, shape, or form. She didnt want him to be prosecuted. And any girl who is at a drunken motel party with a bunch of football players in the first place is probably not so naive that they dont understand what happens at parties of that nature.
These cases all come down to a matter of prosecutorial discretion. Prosecutors can choose to pursue or decline any case, and decisions to decline are not subject to review except at the ballot box at the next election. Genarlow was an honor student, football player, and Homecoming King, and had no criminal record - by any measure a respectable teenager - but still, he was black, and lived in the South. You do the math.
The prosecutor in the Genarlow Wilson case stated that the case was not racially motivated, since the victim was also black. Okay, if thats true, why are there no white teenagers being arrested for the same crime? Is he suggesting that white teens never have oral sex at drunken motel parties? If so, that prosecutor is more naive than the average teenager. If not, then why were no white teenagers being prosecuted for the same crime in the state of Georgia?
Can we expect the law to be enforced, and for the 19-year-old who impregnated 16-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears to be arrested? After all, this obviously involved vaginal intercourse, not just oral sex, and there is a bigger age difference between Casey and Jamie Lynn, than there was between Genarlow and the young woman he was convicted of molesting. In fact, Genarlow was still underage at the time, whereas Casey is legally an adult and has been for over a year. Should the morality police come in the night, bearing pitchforks and torches, demanding that young Casey pay for his crime?
Of course not. Then again, we shouldnt have expected young Genarlow to be subjected to an angry mob either.
While we as a society have a keen interest in protecting the young from sexual exploitation, that includes protecting them from being sexually exploited by a prosecutor who seeks to make a name for himself, by sending a typical hormonal teenager to prison for a decade, and branding them a sexual predator for life, due to a law written by tired old men who like to pretend that their own daughters didnt know anything about sex until their wedding night.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I have gotten a number of comments from people who
dont seem to understand that this entry is not about Jamie Lynn
Spears. If, after reading the above, you still are tempted to leave
me a comment about how horrible I am, read it again. This entry is
not about Jamie Lynn Spears. It is about disparity in prosecution for
sexual contact with underage girls, when the male in question is
close to the girls age and the sexual contact was
Talking to Kids about Sex: Did You Do It
Do you think boys and girls need the same sexual advice?
No -- girls and boys have different risk factors and so advice needs to be framed differently for each gender
Yes -- what's not good for the goose is not good for the gander
I'm not sure, because it's still a man's world
If you catch your child watching Sex and the City or another program that contains sexual content, you:
Sit down and see what questions may pop up
Join your child and use the characters' actions as a springboard to discuss sexual choices
Order your child to turn the TV off
Sex ed in schools may help delay teen sex
AdvertisementSex education in school may encourage teenagers to put off having sexual intercourse, the results of a US government study suggests.
The study, published Wednesday in the Journal of Adolescent Health, did not whether the type of programme matters - that is, abstinence-only versus more-comprehensive programmes.
However, the findings do suggest that having some form of sex education helps delay teen sex, according to the researchers, from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.
In a national survey of more than 2000 adolescents between 15 and 19 years old, the researchers found that teens who had sex ed in school were more likely to put off sex until at least age 15. Furthermore, boys who received sex ed were less likely to have started having sex at all.
"Sex education seems to be working," lead researcher Dr Trisha E Mueller, an epidemiologist with the CDC, said in a statement.
In particular, she noted, some of the greatest benefits were seen in the teens who may need them the most - urban, African-American girls. In this group of girls, those who'd received sex education were 91 per cent less likely to have had sex before age 15 years.
Overall, male study participants who'd received sex education were 71 per cent less likely to have had sex before age 15 than those who'd had no formal sex ed. Among female participants, sex ed reduced those odds by 59 per cent.
Male respondents who'd had sex education were more likely to say they would used birth control the first time they had sex. No similar effect was seen among girls.
There were certain groups of teens who did not seem to benefit from sex education. Girls from rural areas were more likely to have ever had sex when they'd received sex education; and among white and Hispanic girls who eventually dropped out of high school, those who received sex ed were less likely to delay having sex.
The reasons are unclear, according to Mueller's team, and the findings may be due to chance because the numbers of study participants in these groups were small.
"Sex education," they conclude, "provides youth with the knowledge and skills to make healthy and informed decisions about sex, and this study indicates that sex education is making a difference in the sexual behaviours of American youth."
Study Links Explicit Lyrics With Teen
The American journal Pediatrics, in a study by think-tank RAND Corporation, examined the effect of "degrading" lyrics from artists such as Lil' Kim ("When it comes to sex don't test my skills, 'cause my head game will have you head over heels. Guys wanna wife me and give me the ring. I'll do it anywhere, anyhow; I'm down for anything.") and "non-degrading" lyrics from artists such as 98 Degrees ("When my eyes open I wanna see your face/Spendin' my days in your sweet embrace/Just one night with you could set me free/I get next to you and I get dizzy, dizzy/You make me think of things to come/I'm dreamin' day and night of making love.")
The study interviewed 1,461 adolescents between the ages of 1215 three times over a three year period. It found that in the two-year period between the second and third interviews, respondents who listened to music with sexually degrading lyrics were almost twice as likely to have engaged in sexual activity.
Steve Martino, the study's lead author, said in The Guardian, "Musicians who use this type of sexual imagery are communicating something very specific about what sexual roles are appropriate, and teen listeners may act on these messages."
The overriding theme of such sexually degrading lyrics
particularly in the realm of hip-hop positions women as the
submissive object of 'natural' male desire. Whilst the study doesn't
seek to pinpoint music, or hip-hop music, as the sole cause of early
sexual activity, it comes at a time when the issues of teen pregnancy
and sexually transmitted disease are of growing concern in the United
Source: by Daniel Zugna, images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://g8.undercoverhd.com/imgsresized/article/060807lilkim1.jpg&imgrefurl=http://undercover.com.au/News-Story.aspx%3Fid%3D282&h=250&w=250&sz=15&hl=en&start=80&tbnid=tkkzfWJBT_qpjM:&tbnh=111&tbnw=111&prev=/images%3Fq%3D:teen%2Bsex%2522%26start%3D60%26gbv%3D2%26ndsp%3D20%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN
Mixed Messages Fuelling Teen Sex
Government needs to 'change teen behaviour' Britain's celebrity-obsessed culture is also to blame for an increase in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and high levels of teenage pregnancy.
A report by the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) on Sexual Health and HIV said there was "no doubt" alcohol and drugs enhance sexual activity.
It calls for more action to deal with the crisis facing Britain's teenagers.
One measure would be to lift the 9pm watershed on condom advertising
"For example, there are restrictions on advertising condoms pre-watershed, and on showing a picture of a condom out of its wrapper. Our young people are therefore receiving distorted messages," it said.
The report said young people engaging in risky sexual behaviour are at greater risk of contracting an STI, becoming young parents, failing at school, building up longer-term physical and mental health problems and becoming addicted to alcohol and drugs.
A recent Unicef report put the UK at the bottom of a table of 21 countries for children's well-being.
It found that more children in the UK have had sexual intercourse by the age of 15 than in any other country, more have been drunk twice or more times aged 11, 13 and 15 than in any other country, and they are the third-biggest users of cannabis.
Professor Mark Bellis, head of the centre for public health at Liverpool John Moores University, said the link between alcohol, drugs and risky sexual behaviour was "fuel for a sexual health crisis".
The study said alcohol consumption needs to be cut, both by making it difficult for teenagers to buy it and by getting messages out at a young age.
It said there is a "need to realise what it is like to be young today", including that young people have desires to "experiment and explore" and "try something new".
Efforts should be made to ensure young people receive "clear and factual information on the effects of drugs, alcohol and sex, and exposing the myths".
The message should be part of compulsory education, the report says.
Early Teen Sex May Not Be A Path To
The finding is published in the current online edition of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, and runs counter to most assumptions that relate early teen sex to later drug use, criminality, antisocial behavior and emotional problems. The finding also contradicts parts of a study published earlier this year in the same journal that found a connection between early teen sex and later behavioral problems.
The researchers analyzed data on 534 same-sex twin pairs in the United States gathered at three time points over a seven-year period. By examining surveys of twins, the investigators were able to eliminate the genetic and socio-economic variables that otherwise might influence the behaviors of adolescents.
"We got a very surprising finding, particularly that early sex seems to forecast less antisocial behavior a few years later, rather than more," said Kathryn Paige Harden, the study's lead author and a Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology at the University of Virginia.
"There is a cultural assumption in the United States that if teens have sex early it is somehow bad for their psychological health," Harden said. "But we actually found that teens who had sex earlier seem to have better relationships later. Now we want to find out why."
Harden says she plans further investigations that will look closely at the contexts of early teen sexual activity, such as the types of relationships, whether they were casual or intimate, how old the partners were, where the sex occurred and why, and how long the relationships lasted. She and her colleagues will then try to relate that to later behaviors and attitudes.
"Our hypothesis as a result of this finding is that teens who become involved in intimate romantic relationships early are having sex early and more often, but that those intimate relationships might later protect them from becoming involved in delinquent acts later," Harden said. "People assume there is an association between early sex and later delinquency. It could be because teen sex transgresses parental expectations and is seen as impulsive or influenced by peer pressure. But people's concerns about early sex leading to delinquency may not be warranted."
Harden does acknowledge that early adolescent sexuality is linked to early pregnancy and disease, but these risks are not inevitable. She notes that in other Western countries, such as Australia, there are similar rates and patterns of teen sexual activity as in the United States, but drastically lower rates of teen pregnancy. She attributes this to a poor level of sexual health knowledge in the United States, ineffective contraceptive use and lower abortion rates.
"What we may have found is that strong relationships encourage pro-social instead of antisocial behavior," said Harden's advisor and co-author, Robert Emory, a U.Va. professor of psychology. "A thought experiment on this point is, if teens got married early, they would be sexually active early, but likely would engage in less antisocial behavior later."
Harden and her colleagues mined their data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally representative study designed to assess adolescent health and risk behavior. The data is gleaned from extensive surveys of teens that were collected in three waves between 1994 and 2002.
In addition to Emory, Harden's collaborators include Jane Mendle and Jennifer E. Hill, also U.Va. graduate students, and Eric Turkheimer, a U.Va. professor of psychology.
Adapted from materials provided by University of Virginia, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
Teen Sex Unsafe Even With Main
Teens have as much unsafe sex with their main sex partners as they do with their casual sex contacts, Brown University researchers report.
Sexually active teens say they use condoms more often with casual sex partners than they do with their main sex partners that is, someone they consider a spouse, a lover, a boyfriend, or a girlfriend.
But whether it's with main or casual sex partners, teens report some 20 unprotected sex acts per three months. The finding comes from a study of 1,316 sexually active teens. Celia M. Lescano, Ph.D., of Bradley/Hasbro Children's Research Center and Brown University was one of the researchers.
"Unfortunately, this reveals that teens may overestimate the safety of using condoms most of the time with a casual partner and underestimate the risk of unprotected sex with a serious partner," Lescano, said in a news release. "Given these high rates of unprotected sex, teens in both groups may be at risk for contracting HIV and sexually transmitted diseases."
Lescano and colleagues report their findings in the September issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.
Different Sex Partners, Different Risks
Lescano and colleagues recruited teens in three U.S. cities: Atlanta, Miami, and Providence, R.I. The teens ranged in age from 15 to 21 with an average age of 18. Recruited from primary care clinics and outreach efforts, 49 percent of the teens were black, 24 percent were Hispanic, and 20 percent were non-Hispanic whites. More than half (57 percent) were female. All were heterosexual.
The teens completed audio, computer-assisted self-interviews. They were asked about their sexual activity over the past 90 days. For each sex act, they were asked whether their partner was a "spouse, lover, or boyfriend or girlfriend." If so, the partner was considered a main partner; if not, a casual partner.
More than a third of the teens most of them males reported sex with a casual partner. Those with casual partners averaged more sex partners (3.24) than those reporting main partners (1.34). About 10 percent of teens with main partners also reported casual partners.
As previous studies have shown, teens used condoms more often during vaginal and anal sex with casual partners than with main partners. Even so, they used condoms only half the time far too little for protection from sexually transmitted diseases. And teens with main partners used condoms only 37 percent of the time.
As might be expected from these findings, teens with main partners reported having had as many sexually transmitted diseases as those with casual partners.
Serial Monogamy Not Safe Sex Strategy
Why do teens have so much unprotected sex? It's not at all clear. Obviously, teens consider casual sex partners risky. Yet Lescano and colleagues find that teens' decisions to use condoms are based more on a partner's attitudes toward condoms than on their own perception of risk.
And teens may feel a false sense of security about main partners. It's false security because so many teens with main partners also have casual partners. And it's false because serial monogamy having one "main" partner for a brief time and then another isn't an effective safe-sex strategy.
"Sexual health may be jeopardized when one partner views the relationship as a mutually committed one and the other partner does not," Lescano and colleagues note. "Given the high frequency of multiple partners, partner type ... does not confer safety."
The researchers conclude that when advising teens on safe sex, it's important to stress the need for consistent condom use regardless of the teen's feelings toward the partner, sense of the partner's commitment, or the length of the relationship.
Sources: By Daniel DeNoon, Lescano, C.M. Journal of Adolescent
Health, September 2006; vol: 39 pp. 443e1-443e7. News release,
Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center and Brown Medical School,
German Plan to Criminalize Teen Sex Put on
After facing fierce criticism, a proposal in Germany to criminalize teenage sexual activity was deferred. Opponents said the law, which would have lowered the age limit for prosecuting sex offenses, went overboard.
The German government was considering a plan to lower the age at which a person can be charged for perceived sexual crimes from 18 to 14 years of age, but the bill was halted on Wednesday, Dec. 12, a day before it was expected to be approved by parliament.
A decision on the draft, which was intended to protect youths from sexual exploitation and pornographic representation, has been postponed until early next year, a spokesman from the Social Democratic Party (SPD) told the DPA news agency.
"The valid warnings from the opposition and assessors have apparently had an effect," said Jörg van Essen, parliamentary leader of the Free Democratic Party.
Critics warned that the proposal would lead to a criminalization of normal sexual activity among teens and could disturb their natural sexual development.
Examples of punishable situations caused concern
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: "I want to assure you there is no obligation to have sex"
While the proposal spoke of punishment for minors who engage in sexual activity with an under-16-year-old that is "exploitative" or results in "reimbursement" in some form, heavy critique came when specific scenarios were brought up.
For example, if a 17-year-old invites a person of the opposite sex who is 16 or younger to the movies with the perceived intention of "making out" at some point during the evening, then the 17-year-old could be in deep trouble.
This situation could be construed as the older person initiating a financial exchange by picking up the tab while planning a sexual encounter with a minor as a consequence, even if there is no sexual contact between the couple.
However, Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries rebutted criticism from the opposition, saying that the sidelined bill would not criminalize consensual sexual contact between teens.
"No young person has to fear being punished when he invites a date to the movie theater and petting occurs," said Zypries.
Those opposing the bill have said there is no clarification in the actual text to clearly draw the line between what would and would not be punishable by law.
Pornography regulations central to proposal
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: That's far enough
The new law also foresaw an expansion of the definition of child pornography to include text and images that portrayed sexual actions between teenagers. This could even include photos of teenage girls in bikinis if the pose they strike is deemed "provocative" or the covered genital area is "prominent."
The criticism from sexologists and other experts was echoed by a number of German politicians. Jerzy Montag of the opposition Green party told Germany's Der Spiegel magazine that the law would send the "wrong signal" and that "changing the law to make it possible for the victim to be older than the culprit ignores the structure of power and experience."
Germany's current laws differentiate between child and youth pornography.
A law born from EU and US justice systems
Germany finds itself, like all EU member states, under pressure from the European Union, which requires new legislative action in the area of sexual criminal law in line with the United Nations' convention for children's rights.
But the proposed law appeared to go further than even the EU had demanded by making youths as young as 14 punishable as adults and by simultaneously raising the protected age from 16 to 18.
The EU law is primarily intended to protect minors from being forced into prostitution by illegalizing paid sex with a 16- or 17-year-old. Prostitution is currently legal in Germany at 16 years or older.
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Shopping for fruit in view of witnesses would be allowed
European experts had called the German proposal the action of a government "hostile to sex and hostile to teenagers," while the German Society for Sexual Research called the plan "sexual colonization," referring to the roots of the law in the US legal system.
In the United States, teenagers have already been punished under similar laws. A 15-year-old girl who sent naked pictures of herself to a friend over the Internet was recently charged with the spreading and ownership of child pornography. This would also become an issue in under the German proposal.
At the moment, the ownership and spreading of sexual material involving youngsters is only prohibited when the material involves "sodomy or sadistic pornography."
The SPD spokesman said that the question of whether it should be legal for third parties to possess sexual pictures of youths, if the youths willingly produced them, would need to be clarified before the draft could be resubmitted.
But none of this should stop us from trying to describe and understand the sexual behaviors of teens or any other group. Here are some statistics on teen sexual behaviors.
The Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit organization that focuses on sexual and reproductive health research, policy analysis and public education, reports that:
In most of the developed world, the majority of young women become sexually active during their teenage yearsthe proportion who have had intercourse reaches at least three-quarters by age 20.
Levels of sexual activity and the age at which teenagers become sexually active do not vary considerably across comparable developed countries, such as Canada, Great Britain, France, Sweden and the United States.
Teenagers in the United States are more likely to have sexual intercourse before age 15 and have shorter and more sporadic sexual relationships than teenagers in Canada, France, Great Britain and Sweden.
Source: www.Passion.com Statistics Info Source: www.Info.com