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Should teenage behavior be criminalized?
I’m speaking of course of young Genarlow Wilson of Douglas County Georgia who was sentenced to 10 years of PRISON for consensual oral sex with a 15 year old girl when he was 17.
The two were caught at school In flagrante delicto and were immediately expelled.17 year old Wilson was charged and convicted of Aggravated Sexual Assault even though the victim testified on Wilson’s behalf and stated that she consented.
The law in Georgia has since been changed and this particular case should have been over. However, Wilson is still in State Custody.
The real question is the criminalization of teenage activity. In Georgia, it is not illegal for adults to engage in oral sex. This is a new fact – it’s only been the last 5 years or so that Georgia had one of the remaining sodomy laws on the books. It was overturned about the US Supreme Court a few years ago. So, why should it be illegal for teenagers, who have all the key moving parts, to engage in similar activities?
Mind you, criminalization, like abstinence teaching, abstinence clubs, ignorance or other things do little to curb teenage sex and pregnancy. In fact, girls who have been exposed to abstinence only teaching are more likely to engage in oral or anal sex. While a hummer won’t get you pregnant, it does open up other issues outside monogamous relationships like disease.
I will always have a different view of the maturity of teens. You see, my maternal grandparents eloped when they were very young. My grandmother was almost 15 and my grandfather had just turned 19. Back in 1939, their parents were upset and my great grandmother tried to get the marriage annulled. Now, my grandfather would be charged as a pedophile and would be on a sex offender list for the rest of his life.
Some folks will say that things were different then. That kids were expected to be more mature then. But I would disagree. This didn’t happen 100 or 200 years ago. It hasn’t even been 75 years.