'As young as ... fill-in the blank'
By: Peter Herman
"As young as fourteen..." is typical of phrases which lead many news stories about sex and signals to the consumer that they should be prepared to be morally outraged.
So, exactly how many were as young as fourteen? One? A dozen? Many more? Forget honest or careful reporting in anything touching on the sensational case of purported billionaire suicide Jeff Epstein. Infotainment sells, facts not so much.
The Epstein debacle has brought to the fore a memory that I never really forgot and that has helped me reframe current reporting into a much more likely scenario.
When I was fourteen, I was part of a group of teens helping out in a day camp for young children. One of the female helpers was, in the parlance of the day, "stacked". Tall and with a formidable bosom, she looked at least eighteen and could even have been taken for twenty or more. She would have been the envy of most adolescent boys.
Not long after our initiation as "counselors in training" this "woman" approached me and said, "you know Peter, I am only fourteen." This declaration was said matter of fact by a young girl in a woman's body who simply wanted to fit in. This was not something I could then comprehend. I was struggling with homosexual attractions to my peers at a time when homosexuality was still an illness that I expected to eventually cure myself of. The message seemed to be that this voluptuous girl was not out of reach, and this was not something I was ready to deal with. So, rather than acknowledging the revelation, I responded blankly.
It was not long afterwards that this "girl" began to be very abusive and lost no opportunity to humiliate me. In my naïveté, I was at a complete loss at understanding her actions. One time, when we teenage helpers were treated to an outing, we were relaxing on a lawn as my nemesis affectionately held in her lap the head of one of the boys from our group. As I looked longingly at that boy, she, obviously misinterpreting my gaze, stared back at me with a look that seemed to say "See what you're missing. You should never have rejected me!” The humiliation continued through the summer. Afraid to reveal my homosexual feelings, my anger was left to stew.
That anger, rekindled by recent events and an almost forgotten memory, informs me on how the many women and men who look back at earlier sexual experiences can reframe them as traumatic. Though my youthful experience was emotionally painfuI, it was not traumatic. Neither should youthful sexual experiences freely engaged in, inadvisable as they may have been, be considered traumatic. I can only laugh at these self-styled victims when I think of the truly traumatized people all over the world who have suffered deprivations, hunger, maiming, and murders of loved ones as well as unimaginable tortures. I was not traumatized and neither were most of these boutique victims. But now, supported by a new toxic social narrative, they can revel in their imagined victimhood.
From the news reports there is no evidence that these women, as girls, were forcibly raped or were even made to act under duress. What we do see are young people at the time who were for the most part surely older than fourteen, having answered solicitations to model or give massages, being given hundreds of dollars apiece. There are obvious questions that the media do not seem to address. Where were the parents? Were these parents not aware of the monies given to these greedy girls? Why do the media not make the connection between the covetousness of these girls then and their current even greater grasping as adults on the dubious grounds of trauma? Were these parents also totally oblivious of the whereabouts of their progeny? Are the media ignorant too of the fact that these "children" would be held fully responsible for any crime were they to commit one? But in the case of sex absent force or duress, the media will always present the younger partners as the innocents.
My own experiences as a teen, observing from the sidelines, made me quite aware that many girls fourteen and up were quite capable of exercising their wills. Many were also sexual and willing, when available, to consort not only with peers but also with men much older than themselves. Because it's not part of the accepted narrative, we lose sight of how ordinary these willing relationships are. Kinsey's data set shows that adolescent girls having their first sex with older males do not enjoy it any less than when they have first sex as adults with peers. That pattern is exemplified by examples such as the late gossip columnist Liz Smith, who, as an adult, defended her amorous experiences with a much older man when she herself was a teenager.
If we look at the more egregious case of those invasively touched by the gymnastics doctor Nassar, these too, now as grown women, are relishing victimhood. Many of them reported feeling "uncomfortable" by behavior that was made to seem medically indicated at the time but indeed was not. We will never really know how many of these uncomfortable feelings, framed now as truly horrifying, were at the time considered less important than the need to remain in a program for competitive and highly skilled gymnasts.
Of course, that doctor should be sanctioned with consequences such as loss of medical license and perhaps two or three years in prison, but the essentially lifetime sentence he has received is one that even multiple murderers seldom get. How many boys have been tested for hernias or children been probed by anal thermometers ? Should we give every pediatrician the third degree following each procedure to determine if the examination was medically indicated or if he or she enjoyed performing it? How many doctors will now think twice before choosing their professions? And do not think that women considering medical careers will be immune from unwarranted scrutiny.
Susan Clancy, the author of The Trauma Myth, rediscovered the standard view of psychology before the 1980s: that there is no evidence that sex per say causes "trauma" for young people but that such trauma can be conjured retrospectively by harsh societal reactions and subsequent culturally sanctioned reframings of memory. Today deviation from the received ideology is prohibited, to the point that Dr. Clancy was piloried for her heresy.
The media have helped demonize disapproved sexuality totally out of proportion to truly significant problems. While the Amazon, "the lungs of the planet", is burning, sea levels are rising, and populations are starved out of their ancestral lands, the media distract us with scandal. It's high time to recognize the absurdity of these sexual obsessions and their cynical exploitation by the forces of private plunder who are putting civilization itself on the brink of total collapse.
source: Article < "As Young As [fill-in the blank]" > by Peter Herman; www.nambla.org/as_young_as_fourteen.html; NAMBLA.org; 23 September 2019