This is our truth, tell us yours
Content note, this post links to the rape and abuse of young girls in Oxford.
*Picture a young lad around 15 or so being offered £10 to suck someone off. He is unsure about his sexuality, and as so often happens has found the men who are unsure themselves, or in denial. He would have done it for free but is savvy enough to not mention this. £10 is more than enough for his Saturday night out. Technically he is an exploited child, so exploited he returns next week, and finds other men, some who just want to masturbate and watch porn, others who want to pay. As he grows older he cuts out the middle man and simply goes to gay bars and gets his drinks brought, a setting which offers more comfort and a better selection of men,
Does it matter if I tell you he was a public school boy who went on to Oxbridge, with a loving and attentive family? Does it matter if I tell you he stopped cruising because he got bored with it, but still goes to the odd gay sauna from time to time? Does it matter if I tell you he is happily married and at peace with his sexuality now in a way he never dreamed as a young teen?
Today people were tweeting about a 16 year old who has apparently been told she is too young to have an abortion. I dont have the background to the story, I was struck by how young people are constantly harmed by the idea that magic numbers are more important than their consent. How nuance is thrown out of the window in defense of rhetoric and tweeted out to that effect. To be instantly accused of supporting the rape and molestation of children.
** A 13 year old girl gives evidence in court, she has been beaten , raped, moved around the country so men could pay her abuser to rpae her. So devoid of love has her life been that she thinks this attention is love, and as many survivors of childhood abuse will tell you any attention is preferable to returning to a life of nothingness, of loneliness.
The authorities see her as the problem, a run away, a bad girl, a problem to be solved rather than a child to be listened too, after all no good girl would sell sex, Complaints to the police ignored, running away simply meaning you are caught and returned to the care system that has left you feeling unloved and unlovable.
Both these are underage sex, both technically could not give consent. Indeed when the boy in question was picking up men for beer money the age of consent for men was 21. Those who insist that the two cases are the same are blinded by their internalized whorephobia. They see money changing hands and focus solely on that, and so disgusting do they find it they blind themselves to the realities of the world.
Oddly this is exactly the same attitude the police and social services in the UK have shown over and over again as they have failed exploited and vulnerable children. In Oxford, in Rotherham, in Rochdale they saw the girls as willing partners because money was involved, we still have the oxymoronic label of child prostitute even though a child cannot consent to sex. The fact they were children overshadowed by the fact they were (supposedly) prostitutes, and therefore less worthy, less important, lesser.
Some people under the age of 18 have sex for money, this is a fact. Some people under the age of 16 have sex, this is also a fact. Sometimes those two groups intersect. (Remember underage in a sex work context means under 18). Each individual has their own story as to why they are having sex. Recent cases in America of underage sex workers escaping from their supposed rescue highlighted how little use a pearl clutching black and white approach has. A study in New York of underage sex workers showed that very few of them had pimps or were on drugs, they were just kids getting by in the best way they could. Was their best ideal? The answer to that is long, complex, and yes, nuanced, but is a 16 year old having an abortion ideal? Until we live in an ideal world is it not time to look at reasons, and choices instead of attacking anyone who dares say the world if a complex place?
* The boy grew up and reader I married him.
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