Statutory rape is defined as sexual intercourse with a minor. The laws concerning statutory rape were established because it was considered foolish to have sex or perform any sexual acts without being married. It acted as a chastity belt protecting the virtue of young women. These laws depicted men as the habitual guilty party. This is one reason that raises the question of statutory rape laws patronizing girls and discriminating against boys. Maybe it is not the laws themselves that are unfair, but the distribution of sanctions.
There are instances when the laws defend both genders, but in some cases it is evident that they lean towards the female. Statutory rape is an unjust act that is worthy of harsh punishment ; as one looks at former cases, the details of the law and the judicial system’s view, one can see that they are patronizing to girls and discriminating to boys because of the varied punishments and outcomes. Even though the laws were set up to protect the purity of young women, they now help others.
For example, the laws also assist mentally challenged, as perpetrators may find it easy to take advantage of them. Since the laws were established for the betterment of women, the judicial system responds in favor of the rights of women when dealing with statutory rape cases. To fully understand one must know about statutory rape laws. The crime of Statutory rape varies by State, so does the punishments. Sandra Norman-Eady, an attorney in Connecticut, has a post on OLR Research Report of a State by State listing of the statutory rape laws and their evident variations.
For instance, in Tennessee, the site lists the law as “… Statutory rape is to sexually penetrate a person at least age 13 but less than age 18 if the actor is at least four years older than the victim. Any actor under age 18 must be tried as a juvenile and cannot be transferred to adult court. ” (Norman-Eady). The punishment for that is two to six years in prison. While in Florida the law states “…Unlawful sexual activity with certain minors if someone age 24 or older engages in sexual activity with someone age 16 or 17. ”(Norman-Eady). The punishment for committing this crime is up to fifteen years in prison.
According to, one (1) in five (5) women have dealt with some kind of rape, and one (1) in six (6) boys will be sexually abused before they turn sixteen. This makes it sadly obvious that this crime happens to girls more often than boys, but not much less. So when a boy is the victim, they too deserve equal justice and the opportunity to plead their case. All too often males are dismissed or stereotyped in issues of domestic violence and rape. It is not equal justice and the time should fit the crime for everyone. Society is largely to blame for the double standards that exist today.
Females are sometimes portrayed as the assumed innocent party, when they can be just as guilty. These assumptions come from personal views beliefs and morals and should not be part of evaluating legal matters of any nature. Because of societal pressures, boys feel that if they even admit to being a victim they will be shunned. So instead, they may conform to the expectations of their environment, even bragging about having been involved in sexual acts with an older person.
For those that do this, they may even believe that they can now be considered a man. On the website Avoiceformen. om, an anonymous post states “…Officers and other professionals may even redefine the act so as to make it acceptable. Even the male victims may view it as a positive experience and not a crime, leading to gross underreporting. ” This author is telling us how he feels those at the initial stages of this process will influence how the male population reports these acts. In this 2011 blog by Akiba Solomon, the question is asked to the FBI on a website “…For UCR reporting purposes, can a male be raped? ” The answer that was given shocked many people and left most of them enraged.
The FBI replied by saying “…No. The UCR Program defines forcible rape as “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. ” In addition, “By definition, sexual attacks on males are excluded from the rape category and must be classified as assaults or other sex offenses depending on the nature of the crime and the extent of injury. ” It is a shame that law enforcement does not see males as equal to women in these types of situations and it is only considered rape when it reaches a certain degree of behavior.
That is equivalent to telling an African- American they can’t be considered black until they are a certain skin tone. Rape is Rape; either it occurred or it never happened you can’t have a guideline to when it can be considered real or not. To think that a man cannot be raped is absurd; a man can be violated and raped, just as a woman can. The lines are created in the definition. Not only in law enforcement, but the media and society can be guilty of the same. Dr. Phil, for instance, chewed out a male that was on his show and told him that men can’t get raped.
To make such a statement on such a large platform is irresponsible. His opinion and advice is viewed and followed by a large number of people who watch his show. Think of all the people he convinced or offended, the man on the stage, perpetrators, and even other victims afraid or embarrassed to report violations. In 1996 there was a trial for a young man in California that was a victim of statutory rape. Not only did he get raped, but his rapist got pregnant. The trial was not only about the statutory rape, but was also being made to pay child support.
Avoiceformen. om says “…That this act was illegal and may have constituted coercion was apparently lost on the court”. In this statement the court is contradicting the law that says he is not old enough to give consent. Yet the court said he is old enough to be willing to do so, and if he is willing, than he was not raped. If the victim was a girl, it would have been handled differently, and she’d have her justice. Even if the girl gave consent, the offender would still have to deal with the consequences.
He should be responsibility of caring for his caring for his child, had he willingly participated in its’ conception. If a girl is raped she has options like the abortion pill, an abortion and adoption. In this case, the victim is not only dealing with the fact he was raped, he is considered a child by law, now given legal adult responsibilities. Had he raped the girl he would have been sent to juvenile detention, not adult prison. Another example given in Avoiceformen. com, is where a fourteen year old was being harassed by his rapist to pay child support for the child conceived as a result of her crime. There was no focus on his receiving any justice for being raped; instead, there was a child support trial.
It is evident that the system is flawed and these cases prove the laws can be biased in some States. Females have choices to abort or put children up for adoption when they are a result of rape. Should males be afforded options as well? Where is the justice? Not only in statutory rape cases but other rape cases as well. So making him pay child support is making him agree to being raped. In A Voice for Men there is also a case where sperm was stolen via the discarded condom, and used to impregnate a woman.
The post states “…Two separate cases indicate that even when sperm is stolen or a man is forcibly raped, the man remains liable for child support”. This is another example of putting the responsibility back on the male for the female’s ill intent or illegal act, is also patronizing to females. These are just a few cases that prove that statutory rape laws are more lenient in some States and discriminatory and patronizing to woman in others. Therefore, this law should not be determined State by State, but instead one Federal law for all States to follow.
Having each State determine where the lines are drawn only encourages true predators to go where they will not be prosecuted for what they know may be inappropriate or unacceptable behavior. There are probably many cases where people fall in love regardless of age and engage in sex or sexual acts and one may be a minor and consent. For this reason, there should be one federal set of criteria and standards. States make these determinations and definitions inclusive of opinions, beliefs, societal norms, groups, and history, stereotypes and personal opinions, all which have no place in making laws.
Our judicial system is designed so that you are innocent until proven guilty, not vice versa. Patronizing and favoring females puts males at a disadvantage. Stereotypes and pressures of environments, society and peers can deter male victims to even report such incidents. It should not be that way. America is believed to be a country that is equal, so we should uphold that claim. To use gender as a weakness or strength is unjust and can alter one’s life forever.
Courtney from Study Moose
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