March 21, 2006

Double Standards

So, in the wake of the Debra LeFave case, in teacher molestation cases how much does the gender of a victim have to do with the punishment of the perpetrator?

While I fully realize that LeFave would have most likely received prison time had the teenage boy been willing to testify against her, I find it curious that she got off with house arrest, while as the linked article points out, a male teacher who molested a young girl got five years in prison. The husband has, in the past, commented that this was most likely not molestation because, well, boys and girls are different. As he says, "You can't rape the willing," meaning teenage boys are walking hard-ons and that they're pretty much always up for it. (pun intended) They wouldn't be traumatized by having sex with their teacher; they'd be proud of it. And if you'll notice in the article, the victim did not want to testify because of the "media frenzy" surrounding the case, while any trauma sustained pretty much went unmentioned. Take what you will from that.

Which leads us back to the original question: how much does the gender of a victim of teacher molestation have to do with the punishment of the perpetrator?

And, to take it up a notch, are we kidding ourselves when we say that the molestation of a teenaged boy by an adult woman is the same as the molestation of a teenaged girl by an adult man?

I don't know. I believe this boy was molested. I don't believe adults should be having sex with fourteen-year-olds, no matter what gender. I think she should have been put in prison for the same amount of time as that male teacher was. I also think LeFave should also have to register with the state as a pedophile, because that's what she is. I believe in equality under the law, and that means equal punishments as well as rights.

What say you?

Posted by Kathy at March 21, 2006 11:26 PM | TrackBack

Well, geesh. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I don't worry any less about the sexual molestation of my boys just because they aren't girls.

I guess if you wanted to be technical and literal and detached from the whole thing, the molestation of a boy by a male teacher would be more akin to molestation of a girl by a male teacher.

The way I see it, it's all inappropriate touching and the fault and blame and prison sentence belongs to the ADULT of the equation.

And she should be a registered sex offender. With or without an asterisk by her name.


Posted by: Margi at March 21, 2006 11:46 PM

Gotta agree with you here -- despite the anatomical differences and social attitudes, child m0lestation is still child m0lestation. A fourteen-year-old boy might indeed be proud of being victimized thus, but that doesn't make him any less a victim of a twisted predator. I knew a guy (years ago when I was in the Army) who'd been m0lested by his mother -- needless to say he had serious anger issues and certainly wasn't anyone I'd have introduced my sister to.

Posted by: Bob at March 22, 2006 01:32 PM

Giving her this punishment-lite sends the wrong message. Even if a boy isn't as "traumatized" as a girl would be, an adult still preyed upon a minor and exposed him to potential disease and possibly having to deal with a pregnancy.

Posted by: Paula at March 22, 2006 02:24 PM

I totally agree with you. Plus, if she had been 20 years older and not so attractive, I doubt she would have gotten a slap on the wrist.

Even Mary Kay LeTourneau got some time.

There's been too much behind the hand snickering ala Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher" surrounding this, IMO.

I've got a 15-year-old son, and I'd be kicking some serious ass.

Posted by: Atilla The Mom at March 23, 2006 09:19 AM
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