Ed Note: I'm going to start including a few guest entries in my blog from a couple of friends of mine in an attempt to expand my blog's content a bit to cover other important issues without my having to do too much extra work! I hope you will find them interesting. The first is an entry from Bobby Lilly about a frightening situation where teens are actually being prosecuted for raping each other while engaging in consensual sex.--lr
I've always wanted a forum like this but haven't had the time to set up my own blog so I'm thrilled to be here. I do want to warn your readers though that, while the provided link to the FFE speakers network gives them a lot of information about who I am and my concerns, it still shows me as the chairperson of Californians Against Censorhip Together even though Cal-Act no longer exists. It was an interesting ride for more than a decade though ;-) and for all too many years my life revolved around my political work
Now days, things are different. I've got an internet job working on-line from my office at home and I finally have the time to try to master the world of digital photography and be the artist I've always dreamed of becoming. These days I have to confess to being a Photoshop-aholic and I am just another activist working with a variety of groups on a variety of issues but not the political junky I once was.
For years, I focused on the importance of sexual speech and still consider myself a sex positive feminist even though those terms may be out of fashion these days. But both sexual speech AND sex itself still need someone defend it from prudery and speak the truth about it. There is still a crying need for sexual sanity in the US today.
A friend passed on the following story which I think deserves much more publicity and, hopefully, a demonstration of outrage from all of us to the paper which had this article, if not in larger venues as well:
Take a look at: Teens have right to have sex, lawyer argues
By Jamaal Abdul-Alim for the Journal Sentinel.
While it may seem ridiculous for any prosecutor to charge teens with rape for engaging in consensual sexuality, it is both a travesty of justice and a tragedy of the first order that this nation's legal system has been so co-opted (or should I say corrupted) by an anti-sexual mentality/morality that children were charged with RAPE for innocent sexual exploration.
I can only hope that situations like this will raise an alarm that finally wakens the American people from their passive acquiescence to the nightmare of our legal system being hijacked by extremists on both the left and the right for their own political agendas. This should outrage us all.
The prosecutor deserves to be booted out of her position for her callous treatment of two 'troubled' (i.e., rebellious) teens. I can't believe she dared to tell the press, "The reason I charged this case was because of their attitude," Kornblum says. "I believe they had to be brought before an authority." "Not to punish the children," she said, "but to help them through various court-ordered services."
Yah, sure that's WHY she charged them with RAPE!!!...she should be ashamed of herself. Prudery, whether on behalf of the sex-negative left or the anti-sex religious right, runs rampant in this country these days and has harmed too many of us in too many ways to list here. It has to end.
So, why don't you take the five minutes it will take to write a letter to the on-line edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel right now at: http://www.jsonline.com/news/editorials/submit.asp and DO something about it.
Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:
Teens have right to have sex, lawyer argues
By JAMAAL ABDUL-ALIM
Last Updated: Aug. 20, 2003
When an Oak Creek woman found her 14-year-old daughter nude in the woman's bed with a 14-year-old boy, the teens didn't strike her as being overly concerned.
"They both freely admitted that their intention was to 'have sex,' " records quote the woman as saying. They "were confrontational and remorseless."
The teens even "challenged" the woman to call police. So she did.
Now, the couple's would-be sexual encounter in October has both of them facing serious criminal charges.
Their case takes a course through the intersection of morals and law, a bustling crossroads at a time when sexuality has become a greater focus of youth culture. While authorities say their prosecution is meant to help, not punish, the teens, a lawyer for one of them contends 14-year-olds have a right to privacy that allows them to consent to sex with each other, and has challenged the constitutionality of the law.
The boy is being held in secure detention on a charge of attempted second-degree sexual assault, a felony that carries a possible juvenile prison term.
The girl pleaded guilty to fourth degree sexual assault, a misdemeanor, but is charged with violating her probation; a warrant has been issued for her arrest.
Neither is being named because of their ages.
Don Linke, the boy's attorney, argues that children's privacy rights include the right to make "important decisions."
"One of those types of decisions is whether to engage in sexual relations," says Linke, who will argue his position today at Milwaukee County Children's Court. If Circuit Judge Tom Donegan rules against Linke, the case could go to trial.
But prosecutors say children have no right to have sex.
"Sex between kids is not legal," said Assistant District Attorney Lori Kornblum, who is prosecuting the case.
According to the law, "Whoever has sexual contact or sexual intercourse with a person who has not attained the age of 16 is guilty of a Class C felony." There is no mention of consent.
Linke suggests the statute is intended to prevent older teenagers or adults from abusing or exploiting younger, more vulnerable children, not to prohibit consensual sex among teenagers.
Kornblum said that while many instances of consensual sex among minors get handled informally, she felt compelled to bring charges in this case.
"The reason I charged this case was because of their attitude," Kornblum says. "I believe they had to be brought before an authority."
Not to punish the children, she said, but to help them through various court-ordered services.
Linke says there are other ways for the court to intervene without the children having to be found delinquent, such as filing a petition for protection or services.
Beyond the teenagers' sexual activity lurk a host of other problems.
Court records reveal that both come from troubled backgrounds and struggle with the same issues, such as attention deficit disorder and parental abandonment.
Prosecutors did try to cut the teens some slack.
The boy - originally charged in October - secured a "deferred prosecution agreement" in March. All he had to do was stay out of trouble until Aug. 6 and the charge would have been dismissed. But not long after the agreement, his father reported that the boy "refuses to follow rules." That prompted prosecutors to reissue the charge.
The girl - who was not given deferred prosecution because all parties involved agreed she needed services - was placed on probation, and ordered into Wraparound, a monitoring and treatment program designed to help emotionally disturbed youths at home instead of at costlier institutions.
But after she repeatedly spent the night out without permission, a warrant was issued for her arrest Aug. 5.
It could not be determined Wednesday if she had yet been arrested.