Kaitlyn Hunt: Civil Rights Hero or Sexual Predator?

And let me just say (again if I already did, I don't remember), as a parent I'd be fine with Kaitlyn's offer of leaving the state and ceasing contact.

Stengah wrote:

The parents say she was acting out, and she did run away from home. According to the parents, this was before they knew she and Kaitlyn were in a relationship.

Her parents knew. The timeline was that they were informed of the relationship by their daughter's basketball coach in November, the girl ran away in January, and the parents had Kaitlyn arrested in February.

And I'm still not seeing any harm, especially harm that Kaitlyn did to the girl. A teenager acting out against their parents is not harm. It's being a teenager. I can see how the parents might not like it, but it's not harm.

Crispus wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:

No matter what Kaitlyn was legally classified as, she was still a high school senior dating a high school freshmen. They were both teenagers. Period. And if teenagers hooking up was illegal our jails would have been full long, long ago. As much as we might try, we can't legislate away biology.

You keep saying this, but I'm personally pretty comfortable with laws designed to protect 14-year olds from having sex.

You imply that it's unlikely that the 14-year old was mentally or emotionally harmed by this, but I'd warrant that studies would more commonly show that sexual relations this young have many more negatives than positives. Can't check on that now since I'm at work and I'm not about to be caught googling for "sex too young", but I'd be shocked if studies have shown there's no ill effect from relations of this nature.

And I'll be shocked if these mystical studies show that these ill effects are as pronounced as you think (and like you, I'm not googling that on the company PC either). Plenty of kids lose their virginity at that age. We should be swimming in broken people if your assertion is true.

Crispus wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:

No matter what Kaitlyn was legally classified as, she was still a high school senior dating a high school freshmen. They were both teenagers. Period. And if teenagers hooking up was illegal our jails would have been full long, long ago. As much as we might try, we can't legislate away biology.

You keep saying this, but I'm personally pretty comfortable with laws designed to protect 14-year olds from having sex.

You imply that it's unlikely that the 14-year old was mentally or emotionally harmed by this, but I'd warrant that studies would more commonly show that sexual relations this young have many more negatives than positives. Can't check on that now since I'm at work and I'm not about to be caught googling for "sex too young", but I'd be shocked if studies have shown there's no ill effect from relations of this nature.

Then there should be laws against high school seniors having sex with high school freshman, not just 18 year olds having sex with 14 year olds. That's what bothers me, and I think bothers a lot of other people in this thread: we understand the need for bright line rules that sometimes result in individual cases of injustice (although that's where prosecutorial discretion comes in) but what grade you are in school is a bright line, too. I think most people would agree that as long as you're in the age range that we would normally expect for a certain grade of school, your grade is going to be as good--if not better--than your chronological age as a guide to your level of maturity.

OG_slinger wrote:

No matter what Kaitlyn was legally classified as, she was still a high school senior dating a high school freshmen. They were both teenagers. Period. And if teenagers hooking up was illegal our jails would have been full long, long ago. As much as we might try, we can't legislate away biology.

You keep saying this, but I'm personally pretty comfortable with laws designed to protect 14-year olds from having sex.

You imply that it's unlikely that the 14-year old was mentally or emotionally harmed by this, but I'd bet that studies would more commonly show that sexual relations this young have many more negatives than positives. Can't check on that now since I'm at work and I'm not about to be caught googling for "sex too young", but I'd be shocked if studies have shown there's no ill effect from relations of this nature.

Edit - fixed wording - not sure where that 'warrant' verb came from

Crispus wrote:

You imply that it's unlikely that the 14-year old was mentally or emotionally harmed by this, but I'd bet that studies would more commonly show that sexual relations this young have many more negatives than positives. Can't check on that now since I'm at work and I'm not about to be caught googling for "sex too young", but I'd be shocked if studies have shown there's no ill effect from relations of this nature.

There is little (credible) research out there linking adolescence sex and mental and emotional harm.

The idea that there's a linkage between sex and things like depression and suicide was first championed by conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation to support their push for abstinence-only sex education.

Subsequent academic research has shown that that linkage is much, much weaker (and nonexistent for boys). And for girls the effects can be ameliorated by contraceptive use, hinting that any potential emotional issues stemming from sex are related to anxieties about pregnancy and diseases, things that could be adequately addressed with better sexual education and access to contraceptives.

Most studies out there are primarily concerned with tracking things like unintended pregnancies and STDs. And, while those things happen more frequently the younger the person in question is, they are also heavily correlated to a load of other factors, such as race, age and education status of parents, alcohol and drug use of parents, alcohol and drug use of teenager, adequate sex education, access to and use of contraceptives, etc.

Simply put, the age of a person engaging in sexual intercourse is not the primary driver of risky sexual behaviors (basically, unprotected sex) that might lead to potential mental or emotional harm. Of course the big problems with this research are that it's essentially only focused on opposite-sex encounters and tends to not to count anything but vaginal penetration as sex.

I would argue that any mental or emotional harm that teenagers experience because of sex comes from the clash between religious or moral beliefs and biology. Teenagers are biologically wired for sex. Hell, they're supposed to have sex. You only get mental and emotional harm because of sex when some idiot with a cross and a funny hat gets in the way of millions of years of evolution.

Well, there is emotional weight as well. They may be good for the act itself but might have serious issues in the cuddling (and after) stages.

Nevin73 wrote:

Well, there is emotional weight as well. They may be good for the act itself but might have serious issues in the cuddling (and after) stages.

Emotional harm from... cuddling? Is there some new euphemism that uses the word cuddling that I'm unaware of?

Nevin73 wrote:

Well, there is emotional weight as well. They may be good for the act itself but might have serious issues in the cuddling (and after) stages.

About a quarter of the population had sex before they were 15. If there were actually crippling emotional damages caused by having sex too young our society would have stopped functioning a long time ago.

Emotional damage is much more likely to come from the religious and moral obsession with the virginal status of women than the actual act of sex itself.

OG_slinger wrote:
Nevin73 wrote:

Well, there is emotional weight as well. They may be good for the act itself but might have serious issues in the cuddling (and after) stages.

About a quarter of the population had sex before they were 15. If there were actually crippling emotional damages caused by having sex too young our society would have stopped functioning a long time ago.

Emotional damage is much more likely to come from the religious and moral obsession with the virginal status of women than the actual act of sex itself.

As noted in the Prop 8 thread... I think we, as a society, would be much better off if we stopped trying to act like sex is some religious act rather than a natural function of biology. Teach kids how to do it safely, but don't make it out like you're about to find God and understand the universe in someone else's genitals.

I dated a senior in high school when I was 14, and I felt perfectly able to consent for myself to doing that. We never slept together - I knew I wasn't ready and was upfront about that with him - but I had plenty of hormones and certainly those 'tingly' feelings were making themselves known.

My parents were only concerned that I not be coerced into doing something I didn't want - and we talked about it. I had their trust, and I never did anything I didn't want to. And the senior I was seeing never pushed the issue either.

In Kaitlyn's case, I see little difference. They are both kids in high school - most of my friends were dating seniors (and in one case a girl my age was dating a college boy, and that did sort of creep us out as he was a dick, and we wondered why he couldn't find college-age women to date) - and most of my friends were sleeping with these guys, too (including the girl with the college-age bf). No ones parents ever called the cops on anyone. If they had, most of the so-called 'adult' guys in my high school would be in prison.

I think branding Kaitlyn as a sexual predator for the rest of her life is hugely out of proportion with what happened. Is it technically the law to brand her this way and ruin her life - yes. Is it right? No, not in my opinion anyway.

14 year olds have sexual desires. I think in addition to protecting young people from actual predators ("help me find my lost puppy" scenarios, and creeps in white Camaros like Paul Bernardo), we also should be more open about sex, about safe sex, about desire, about how to tell the difference between simply getting off and actually being with another person in a meaningful way. Will they still make mistakes? Sure. But, if I can say this, they would be informed mistakes (to some degree) and when the mistake is made, we support them, we talk it over, we get them help if help is needed.

After reading the content from that link, it seems like the girlfriend's parents made no effort to talk things over, to talk about their fears, anger, worries, or anything else - they went straight to declaring Kaitlyn to be some sort of child-molesting monster who ruined their daughter. This feels more like a knee-jerk reaction, and even a little retaliatory.

This was a poor way to handle it - and I'm guessing that in that same high school, there are any number of older "adult" teenagers dating younger, not yet legally considered an adult, teenagers. Why single out Kaitlyn and her girlfriend?

TL;DR - I don't agree that Kaitlyn should be branded a child abuser.

OG_slinger wrote:

Emotional damage is much more likely to come from the religious and moral obsession with the virginal status of women than the actual act of sex itself.

We simply cannot shake our Puritanical beliefs about sex no matter what. We deify and demonize sex at the same time and expect that people should completely accept such a tortured juxtaposition.

Mimble wrote:

TL;DR - I don't agree that Kaitlyn should be branded a child abuser.

The mental health community would agree with you.

The DSM-IV has clear parameters on what would constitute being a child abuser and/or a pedophile.

Kaitlyn doesn't even come close to any definition.

Phoenix Rev wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:

Emotional damage is much more likely to come from the religious and moral obsession with the virginal status of women than the actual act of sex itself.

We simply cannot shake our Puritanical beliefs about sex no matter what. We deify and demonize sex at the same time and expect that people should completely accept such a tortured juxtaposition.

Mimble wrote:

TL;DR - I don't agree that Kaitlyn should be branded a child abuser.

The mental health community would agree with you.

The DSM-IV has clear parameters on what would constitute being a child abuser and/or a pedophile.

Kaitlyn doesn't even come close to any definition.

Yet again Rev, if you had been saying stuff like that in church while I was there, I might have stuck around longer.

Demosthenes wrote:

Yet again Rev, if you had been saying stuff like that in church while I was there, I might have stuck around longer. :)

All in good time, my pretty.

All in good time.

/maniacal laugh

I dunno, churches in Wisconsin had beer and brats after service, it never got me going back.

When I read some of the responses, I agree from a logical and rational standpoint. Yes, less stigma for young people having sex, yes more comprehensive sex education.

Unfortunately, it is nice to want things. Florida has no standardized sex ed curriculum, it mandates abstinence only to be taught. The University of Florida did a good study some time back. In my gut, I do not think this is exceptional, rather normal.

It is nice to want things. But does anyone here really think there is a snowball's chance in hell of even getting standardized and accurate information on contraception, let alone accurate information on homosexual sex? Pop over to the discussion about education-it is a political issue in most states at the state or local level. It is often the worst demonstration of non-representative elected government out there. Special interests from the far right have insinuated themselves into the school boards in Texas and Arizona.

KingGorilla wrote:

I dunno, churches in Wisconsin had beer and brats after service, it never got me going back.

Even if I were a born-and-bred Wisconsinite, beer and brats after service still wouldn't get me to attend if their theology was garbage.

When I read some of the responses, I agree from a logical and rational standpoint. Yes, less stigma for young people having sex, yes more comprehensive sex education.

Unfortunately, it is nice to want things. Florida has no standardized sex ed curriculum, it mandates abstinence only to be taught. The University of Florida did a good study some time back. In my gut, I do not think this is exceptional, rather normal.

On the other hand, Illinois just recently banned abstinence-only sex education.

It is nice to want things. But does anyone here really think there is a snowball's chance in hell of even getting standardized and accurate information on contraception, let alone accurate information on homosexual sex? Pop over to the discussion about education-it is a political issue in most states at the state or local level. It is often the worst demonstration of non-representative elected government out there. Special interests from the far right have insinuated themselves into the school boards in Texas and Arizona.

The reality of standardized and accurate information on contraception and homosexuality only occurs when people want it badly enough. But that doesn't necessarily mean it is from a lack of trying.

There are many who are fighting the good fight of getting that information out to teens, including this program in Cleveland where fellow students are trained to teach their friends and high school colleagues about contraception and sex. Additionally, most of the progressive churches offer sex education courses via the church that are exceptionally comprehensive and very robust.

As for your comment about the school boards in Texas and Arizona, I am sure there are far right special interests that have a hold on some of them. However, sex education in the State of Arizona is left to the districts and some won't touch the issue while others like the Kyrene district have a pretty bold plan that discusses birth control, STDs, different kinds of sex (oral, vaginal, anal, etc.), and human sexual anatomy. My local elementary school system has a very good sex education program that is very age appropriate.

But, to your point, there were/are plenty of school boards in liberal Connecticut, where I pastored my first church, that were just as conservative as some of the school boards in Arizona, and that state does not mandate comprehensive sex education, but only requires medically-accurate information on STDs and HIV be offered to students.

I understand it is maddening at times trying to figure out why this nation in particular can't seem to simply deal with reality and address facts regarding sex like 1) teens will have sex, 2) abstinence-only based education doesn't work, and 3) the Puritanical legacy lives on, but I sincerely believe there is reason for great hope.

I skimmed the last two pages so I may have just missed it, but I'm surprised no-one has mentioned the way in that their homosexuality really impacts this case, not legally, but morally.

The proportion of homosexual people is not very large, and I would imagine that in this country and at these ages the fraction of gay people of those that are publicly out its small as well. How big is the school these two went to?

Generally in this sort of situation the pertinent advice would be "I know you like him/her, but there are plenty of boys/girls your own age." Was that remotely the case for these two?

Now I'm wondering if Kaitlyn Hunt is simply a stupid person.

Gay Florida teen Kaitlyn Hunt sent back to jail over explicit texts, images

Enough with the texting, a Florida judge told Kaitlyn Hunt after hearing testimony about thousands of text messages -- some of them explicit -- the Florida teenager reportedly sent to her underage girlfriend after being ordered not to while awaiting trial on charges of having sex with the girl.

20,000 texts? That's like three days worth for teenage girls.

OG_slinger wrote:

20,000 texts? That's like three days worth for teenage girls.

I think you missed the part where Hunt was sending videos of herself masturbating and other completely inappropriate pics. As much as I have some sympathy for "kids being kids," Hunt has been told time and time again to stay away and this sort of behavior pretty much gives the middle finger to the other girl's parents, the prosecutor, and the judge who previously had offered a relatively lenient plea deal. Not to mention the behavior has crossed from teen with a crush into creepy stalker territory.

At this point, I'm not feeling all that bad if they throw the book at her.

jdzappa wrote:

I think you missed the part where Hunt was sending videos of herself masturbating and other completely inappropriate pics. As much as I have some sympathy for "kids being kids," Hunt has been told time and time again to stay away and this sort of behavior pretty much gives the middle finger to the other girl's parents, the prosecutor, and the judge who previously had offered a relatively lenient plea deal.

I didn't miss that part. I'm simply not surprised that teenagers would show such question judgement when they feel they are madly in love and have a Romeo and Juliet thing going on.

What this does is make the girlfriends parents story sound more plausible. Earlier in the case, it was easy to dismiss them as bigots and accept the "They don't like homosexuality, so they're throwing the book at this innocent girl" frame. Now, the "We've tried everything to protect our daughter from an aggressive older partner we don't approve of, so if she won't stop, we ask that the law be enforced" line that they've said was the case sound much more plausible.

I don't like the idea of selective enforcement, but her later actions make the bias argument a lot harder to swallow.

Kaitlyn now just seems like a spoiled, horny, teenager who likes to flaunt authority. Which is hardly unique, but she's about to learn a troubling lesson about consequences of flaunting the justice system.

The geek in me just wonders why they didn't use Off the Record IM or Snapchat.

Yeah, judgement is not real strong with this one.

Oso wrote:

What this does is make the girlfriends parents story sound more plausible. Earlier in the case, it was easy to dismiss them as bigots and accept the "They don't like homosexuality, so they're throwing the book at this innocent girl" frame. Now, the "We've tried everything to protect our daughter from an aggressive older partner we don't approve of, so if she won't stop, we ask that the law be enforced" line that they've said was the case sound much more plausible.

I'm not so sure. The detective admitted during cross-examination that the younger girl did initiate contact with Hunt as well, so it's not like this was all a one-way street of an oversexed Hunt preying on the girl.

And I'm not so sure about the younger girl's parents. Hunt's lawyer mentioned that they attended a church that views homosexuality as a sin and the parents effectively stripped their daughter's room bare as punishment for the relationship along with some mentions of physical and verbal abuse. It has to be taken with a grain of salt, but I really doubt they would have taken it this far if Hunt was a boy.

OG_slinger wrote:
Oso wrote:

What this does is make the girlfriends parents story sound more plausible. Earlier in the case, it was easy to dismiss them as bigots and accept the "They don't like homosexuality, so they're throwing the book at this innocent girl" frame. Now, the "We've tried everything to protect our daughter from an aggressive older partner we don't approve of, so if she won't stop, we ask that the law be enforced" line that they've said was the case sound much more plausible.

I'm not so sure. The detective admitted during cross-examination that the younger girl did initiate contact with Hunt as well, so it's not like this was all a one-way street of an oversexed Hunt preying on the girl.

And I'm not so sure about the younger girl's parents. Hunt's lawyer mentioned that they attended a church that views homosexuality as a sin and the parents effectively stripped their daughter's room bare as punishment for the relationship along with some mentions of physical and verbal abuse. It has to be taken with a grain of salt, but I really doubt they would have taken it this far if Hunt was a boy.

It would probably depend on whether they disapproved of the boy as much as they disapprove of Hunt. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the disapproval stems from Hunt also being a girl, though I doubt it. I think the vast majority (if not all) of the disapproval stems from the age difference and Hunt not respecting the dating boundaries* they've set for their daughter. I think they're likeliest scenario is that they're both spoiled, horny, teenagers who likes to flaunt authority. I do think they'd have taken it this far if Hunt was a boy who slept with their daughter and refused to stay away, it just never would have made the news.
*Boundaries as in how sexually active she can be, not the gender of the people she can date.

Stengah wrote:

It would probably depend on whether they disapproved of the boy as much as they disapprove of Hunt. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the disapproval stems from Hunt also being a girl, though I doubt it. I think the vast majority (if not all) of the disapproval stems from the age difference and Hunt not respecting the dating boundaries* they've set for their daughter. I think they're likeliest scenario is that they're both spoiled, horny, teenagers who likes to flaunt authority. I do think they'd have taken it this far if Hunt was a boy who slept with their daughter and refused to stay away, it just never would have made the news.
*Boundaries as in how sexually active she can be, not the gender of the people she can date.

Yeah, it's certainly possible that Kaitlyn's gender figures into this, but that's pure conjecture. Without more proof, there's not a good reason to accuse the parents of opposing this due to homophobia. A lot of parents would be upset about their 14-year-old having sex with an 18-year-old, regardless of gender, even if many here don't see that as a big deal.

OG_slinger wrote:

Hunt's lawyer mentioned that they attended a church that views homosexuality as a sin and the parents effectively stripped their daughter's room bare as punishment for the relationship along with some mentions of physical and verbal abuse.

I hadn't thought of this before, and this is off topic, but I wonder if we'll eventually see some cases where gay minors are removed from parents who hold these sorts of views. I could see it argued that this is necessary to preserve the child's right to live their own life, and also to preserve their safety in case the parents took part in homemade or church-run 'gay conversion' therapies. I suppose the age of the child would also be a factor.