Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Celebrity paedophilia

Elvis and Priscilla met on September 13, 1959. She was 14 (born May 24, 1945), he was 24 (born January 8, 1935). They got married seven and half years after first meeting: May 1, 1967.

Myra Gale Brown (born July 11, 1944) aged 13 married Jerry Lee Lewis on December 12, 1957. Jerry was 22 (born September 29 1935). He was first married at age 14 to a 17year old woman and went on to have five more marriages

Emmanuelle Seigner (born 22 June 1966) married Roman Polański on 30 August 1989 when she was 21 and he was 56 (having been born 18 August 1933).

Maybe my point of view is too narrow. I haven't studied anthropology, so I know nothing of other peoples who find young marriage and sexual congress normal. Maybe I don't know of enough people who had sexual contact at a young age and found it an enlightening, developing experience which they in no way regret. Unfortunately, I do know of a man who had sex at age 12 with his family's maid and it has affected him in a very serious way. I also know of a woman who had sex at age 20 with a man ten years her senior and still thinks that was too young to be engaging in intercourse.

Polanski's crime is shocking but I find the casual response of some commentators more shocking. Apparently, under-age sexual activity is very common. When did childhood kiss-chase games become so unchaste? Apparently, large age gaps aren't a problem. Why isn't the whole world in uproar that someone significantly older engaged with someone emotionally/romantically/sexually in a way that the younger person may not fully appreciate/understand? I find it all mind boggling. To me, sex with a child is rape whether you use physical force, coerce with threats about their parents, tell them it helps them become an adult quicker, will make them sexy and popular, or they will be given sweets and horse riding lessons in exchange. An abuse has occurred - an abuse of power and knowledge. An abuse of a position of responsibility, a duty of care. An older person automatically becomes a temporary guardian of a younger person, whether the age gap is a month or a decade. If you don't want the responsibility of protecting the younger person, don't be in a situation that requires it. Respect yourself and your companions. I don't doubt loving feelings can develop between any two people, but acting on it before either party is an adult is foolish and dangerous.

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