The Delaware County Fair was a few weeks ago, and in the aftermath, a statutory rape accusation that allegedly took place between a 20 year old fair worker and a 14 year old attendee.
In the aftermath of the story breaking in one of the local papers, I happened to remark that it was creepy to think that this happened at the fair…a place that up until then, I felt fairly confident was employed by non predators.
After I made the comment, I was “reminded” that the alleged rape was “statutory”, therefore implied that it wasn’t really a rape because the 14 year old child said yes. Allegedly.
Now I don’t know about you, but when I was 14 I was pretty naive and my self esteem at that point was all but non existent. I’d love to say for sure that I would not be tempted by an older guy paying attention to me, but I very well may have fallen into the same situation. A teenage girl’s psyche is a very delicate thing and the word yes is sometimes, often, the easy word to say when put into a situation that has somehow gotten out of control.
A person’s brain is not developed at 14. It is prone to make rash decisions, that carry dangerous and life altering consequences. At 14, it is difficult to detect those risks in the moment. This is why there are laws against smoking or voting before age 18, why its illegal to drink in the US before 21 (and 18-19 in many other places). This is why there is such thing as an age of consent, here in the US…it’s to try to allow time for brains develop before having to face adult decisions such as deciding whether or not to have sex.
The 14 year old was not mature enough to say yes. The 20 year old, however, was mature enough to know better. Statutory or not, rape is rape.
I am gearing up for a busy weekend. Thursday (today), after I get done work at 9am, will be the only day where I have absolutely nothing to do. On Friday I am picking up a few hours of overtime. On Saturday our town is having an out door farmers market in which the Lion’s Club will be selling hot dogs. On Sunday the Lion’s Club is holding the annual pancake breakfast. And somewhere in there I’m aiming to make a pie for the American Legion’s Memorial Day pie sale.
I am tired, and I haven’t even gotten started. In fact, I probably won’t participate on Saturday…although, no doubt I’ll walk down to see what’s going on.
I don’t like being busy. I don’t like rushing from one activity to the next, without a chance to just be. I like my space. I like having time to curl up with a book, or my laptop or even Netflix and just enjoy the company of myself.
And a lot of times I feel like I am in the minority. It seems like we are living in a society hell bent on always being busy. Part of it is out of necessity I am sure…lots of people need to work overtime, or multiple jobs to make ends meet. Or work jobs where they are required to put in insane hours. But there are just as many people who willingly say yes to every opportunity that comes their way. There is always such a rush to get to the next thing that I just can’t understand how anyone is able to enjoy what they are doing in the moment.
Are those people even enjoying what they are keeping busy with? Or do they stay busy because they are scared of just being still? Or do they even know how to just sit on the couch and watch tv, or read a book…or just sit quietly. Maybe that scares them into constant movement.
Personally I love stillness. I find that I have a better understanding of myself and that when I do decide to participate in something I truly enjoy myself because I choose not to live my life as a busy person. My life is rich, just as rich as the person who crams 30 hours of activity into a mere 24 hours.