The news is reporting a reduced sentence for a teacher in Montana accused of statutory rape. Stacey Dean Rambold was given a 15 year sentence for three counts of raping a 14 year old girl, who later committed suicide before her 17th birthday. I heard a snarky report on the radio this morning, that the mother of the victim was in the courtroom shouting, “You people suck.” I am sure with all the press over her comment, she wishes she had been more eloquent. But, like me, I am assuming she was rendered practically speechless by the judge’s decision … I’m surprised she didn’t throw in an expletive or two. Her mom believes the rape was one of the contributing factors to her suicide.
Statutory Rape laws are based on the belief that until a person reaches a certain age, they are incapable of consenting to sexual intercourse. Therefore, society needs to protect them. In many U.S. states, the age of consent is 18. In many European countries, the age of consent is 14.
Forget about the legal for a moment. What are the psychological ramifications?
Children who engage in sex, even willingly are at long-term increased risk for:
– Depression and other mood disorders
– Low self esteem
– Warped body image
– Sexual dysfunction because of painful initial experience
Couple all this with the shame and humiliation when statutory rape is exposed, and it makes a great argument for locking up adults who prey on children.
Let me echo the sentiment of the victim’s mother … people suck and should be held accountable. Teachers, in their unique situation of power, should be punished for taking sexual advantage of their students.