Are minors who have sex with adults 'victims'?

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Re: Are minors who have sex with adults 'victims'?

#21  Postby Mr.Samsa » Dec 22, 2011 5:03 am

Mick wrote:
Mr.Samsa wrote:

Yes of course, it is prohibited for the same reason that beating up your kid, or chopping their arms off, or making them work in coal mines for 20hrs a day, is illegal. Forcing someone into a contract which they cannot comprehend or understand the implications thereof is a violation of human rights.


I'm unsure how you're understanding the word 'contract' here though I imagine it's pretty broad if it's relevant to sex. But it seems to me that we 'force' kids into 'contracts' all the time, few of which they comprehend or understand. We force them to go to school for instance. We force them to do their homework and a hundred other similar things.


Good point, but that distinction would be comparable to asking why parents are allowed to give their kids vaccinations whilst not being allowed consent to having their liver removed because they wanted to sell it on the black market. The parents or guardians will necessarily have to make some decisions for the kids to ensure proper development and good health, but this wouldn't extend to them consenting to a kid working 20hrs in the mines, would it?
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Re: Are minors who have sex with adults 'victims'?

#22  Postby Mick » Dec 22, 2011 5:11 am

Mr.Samsa wrote:
Mick wrote:
Mr.Samsa wrote:

Yes of course, it is prohibited for the same reason that beating up your kid, or chopping their arms off, or making them work in coal mines for 20hrs a day, is illegal. Forcing someone into a contract which they cannot comprehend or understand the implications thereof is a violation of human rights.


I'm unsure how you're understanding the word 'contract' here though I imagine it's pretty broad if it's relevant to sex. But it seems to me that we 'force' kids into 'contracts' all the time, few of which they comprehend or understand. We force them to go to school for instance. We force them to do their homework and a hundred other similar things.


Good point, but that distinction would be comparable to asking why parents are allowed to give their kids vaccinations whilst not being allowed consent to having their liver removed because they wanted to sell it on the black market. The parents or guardians will necessarily have to make some decisions for the kids to ensure proper development and good health, but this wouldn't extend to them consenting to a kid working 20hrs in the mines, would it?



No, I suppose not. However, to say in an unqualified way that [f]orcing someone into a contract which they cannot comprehend or understand the implications thereof is a violation of human rights" seems false. given my earlier post, I think it needs to be softened.
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Re: Are minors who have sex with adults 'victims'?

#23  Postby Mr.Samsa » Dec 22, 2011 5:26 am

Mick wrote:No, I suppose not. However, to say in an unqualified way that [f]orcing someone into a contract which they cannot comprehend or understand the implications thereof is a violation of human rights" seems false. given my earlier post, I think it needs to be softened.


Indeed. I was really just aiming to push across a general point but I see how that can affect the validity of the statement. :cheers:
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Re: Are minors who have sex with adults 'victims'?

#24  Postby Mick » Dec 22, 2011 4:31 pm

I work with the developmentally delayed. It's interesting. Consider this. Some are more competent than others, right? Some of those who are more competent understand sex at a greater level than some of their peers, although all are nevertheless incompetent or are at least only marginally competent. Sometimes individuals with a bit more competence try to be sexual with those with less competence. Do we allow this? On the face of it, it does not appear that the person being sexualized has any appreciation of the act. On the other hand, the sexual person is sometimes not even competent himself.

What do we do? It's not ereasy to say.
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Re: Are minors who have sex with adults 'victims'?

#25  Postby virphen » Dec 22, 2011 7:16 pm

Mr.Samsa wrote:Very few psychologists would even argue that nonconsensual sex (rape) in general is inherently harmful.


Excuse me if this has already been picked up on in one of those many-split quote posts that I haven't been able to finish reading, but this just seems ... incredible, and goes against everything that I would expect. As I know next to nothing about psychology I'm prepared to consider that it's totally due to my ignorance, but would you care to elaborate?
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Re: Are minors who have sex with adults 'victims'?

#26  Postby cavarka9 » Dec 22, 2011 7:20 pm

virphen wrote:
Mr.Samsa wrote:Very few psychologists would even argue that nonconsensual sex (rape) in general is inherently harmful.


Excuse me if this has already been picked up on in one of those many-split quote posts that I haven't been able to finish reading, but this just seems ... incredible, and goes against everything that I would expect. As I know next to nothing about psychology I'm prepared to consider that it's totally due to my ignorance, but would you care to elaborate?


i am not going to like this I guess, but thankfully, law considers rape to be crime, enough to put people in jail for it with or without psychologists measure of harm.
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Re: Are minors who have sex with adults 'victims'?

#27  Postby Mr.Samsa » Dec 22, 2011 11:11 pm

Mick wrote:I work with the developmentally delayed. It's interesting. Consider this. Some are more competent than others, right? Some of those who are more competent understand sex at a greater level than some of their peers, although all are nevertheless incompetent or are at least only marginally competent. Sometimes individuals with a bit more competence try to be sexual with those with less competence. Do we allow this? On the face of it, it does not appear that the person being sexualized has any appreciation of the act. On the other hand, the sexual person is sometimes not even competent himself.

What do we do? It's not ereasy to say.


It is a tricky case, but I guess the law would view it like two minors, or a minor and someone within a couple years of age, e.g. a 15 year old and a 17 year old (assuming the legal age is 16).

virphen wrote:
Mr.Samsa wrote:Very few psychologists would even argue that nonconsensual sex (rape) in general is inherently harmful.


Excuse me if this has already been picked up on in one of those many-split quote posts that I haven't been able to finish reading, but this just seems ... incredible, and goes against everything that I would expect. As I know next to nothing about psychology I'm prepared to consider that it's totally due to my ignorance, but would you care to elaborate?


Maybe it would help if I clarified what I mean by "harmful". Since we're discussing what is relevant to psychologists, I'm only referring to psychological harm here, and what we know from studying rape victims is that not everyone experiences negative psychological effects from it. For example, take a girl who gets plastered at a party, and in her half-comatose state she is taken advantage of by a guy - whilst it's true that many would be upset and harmed by this experience, some would shrug it off with a "Man, I can't believe I slept with that guy.." (perhaps as a result of a rationalisation process where they try to defend the guy because he's normally so "nice", or they don't think they could be "raped", etc). If I recall correctly, most of the serious effects of rape are in part a result of the violence of the act (physical abuse, being held down, etc), or the feeling of betrayal and distrust because the perpetrator was someone they knew, but it can be the case that some people simply dismiss their experiences.

A lot of what causes an experience to produce negative psychological effects are the thought processes which accompany it. Those with strong belief systems and social support systems which reinforce the idea that it wasn't their fault can sometimes suffer no serious effects, in the same way a soldier killing people and witnessing the deaths of friends doesn't always develop PTSD, or someone who survives a car crash doesn't always suffer a fear of driving. I think those comparisons are important to make because I want to clarify that saying "rape is not inherently [psychologically] harmful" does not mean rape is a good or nice thing (and certainly is not justifiable on such a basis), in the same way that saying "killing/witnessing death of friends/crashing a car is not inherently [psychologically] harmful" does not mean those things are good or justifiable.

They are obviously very horrible experiences to have happen to anyone, and undoubtedly people will hope that they never have to go through it again, and such cases still need to be addressed by law enforcement, but the point is just that the effects from things like rape don't always generate psychological issues that need to be addressed by a psychologist.
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Re: Are minors who have sex with adults 'victims'?

#29  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Dec 23, 2011 2:53 am

Mick wrote:There was a poster here who stated that it's a social science which reflects the values of society. That's an interesting claim. I'd commit myself to something else though I'm unsure if it is any less provocative: Psychology and medicine are value-laden. Typically when we talk about harm, dysfunction, disorder, correction, etc. we're talking about negative states or conditions, malfunctions or things which need fixing. We're implying that things aren't as they should be or supposed to be, and to that extent it's subject to philosophical debate.

If the act was consensual and no one was physically harmed in some way, I wonder if the kid would feel like a victim either then or later on in life if no one told him or her that he or she was a victim. I wonder if, at least in some cases, society has a greater role in this than the deviant adult.


Poor science is done when scientists [natural or social] let their presuppositions rule. Religious or ideological beliefs have no place in science. In the religious case, we have creationists of various flavours. They ignore, dismiss, deny any of all evidence that contradicts or even seems to contradict their beliefs. A great example here is Michael Behe giving evidence in Kitzmiller vs Dover School Board District (2005).

An ideological example is Lysenko in the Soviet Union, circa 1927 onwards:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trofim_Lysenko

In other words, don't let faith [of any kind] rule your science. Margaret Mead is another example. Possibly even Issac Newton. [Clockwork universe run by god]....although with the instruments of his day could Newton have known that his model was flawed [the non-belief bit of it-the clockwork universe] ? Einstein's space-time equations correctly account for the orbit of mercury, and Newton's laws do not. All things considered, Newton did an excellent job with the tools at his disposal. We see fading evidence of the failed god hypothesis even today when Kenneth R. Miller posits that god may be acting at the quantum level. [Untestable as far as we know, at least for some time to come]. Although I must stress that he posited his quantum god idea in a popular work "Finding darwin's God" and not in a peer-reviewed science journal.

In other words, when scientists veer away from methodological naturalism, the output is usually shit.

The recently late Lynn Margulis [http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v480/n7378/full/480458a.html] struggled for 10 years to get her endosymbiosis theory to be accepted. She won. Why? Because good scientists regard evidence over dogma any day. Some of Margulis's other notions, which have less evidential support, enjoy less acceptance. There is a clear difference between advocacy for an idea in science and mere apologetics. Honest scientists will try to get their ideas accepted, and will fight that battle with evidence as a weapon. Apologists just dismiss evidence which does not conform to their worrld views.

This is where Thomas Kuhn [at least in his earlier work] over-emphasizes the role of society and culture in science. Good scientists can see past their religion, ideology and prejudies if they get the evidence. Einstein hated quantum theory, and yet he was one of the scientists that contributed data that helped Bohr and others formualte QT.
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Re: Are minors who have sex with adults 'victims'?

#30  Postby Mick » Dec 23, 2011 5:51 am

Why is the above poster talking about methodological naturalism, faith and so on? weird.
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Re: Are minors who have sex with adults 'victims'?

#31  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Dec 23, 2011 7:41 am

Mick wrote:Why is the above poster talking about methodological naturalism, faith and so on? weird.


I was commenting on Spoofed's OP. eg:-

Throughout history psychologists have made some controversial claims. Until the early 20th century is was generally agreed that masturbation was harmful, resulting in male circumcision (still practised today) and even clitoridectomy. Black people were 'proven' to be mentally inferior to whites, justifying segregation and their mistreatment. Homosexuals were considered mentally ill and subjected to hormone therapy. How can we be certain that today's 'experts' are not simply justifying societies prejudices?


In other words, do the science right, and you won't make as many errors as a professional scientist based on the current prejudices of scoiety. That was what my post was addressing.
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Re: Are minors who have sex with adults 'victims'?

#32  Postby Mick » Dec 23, 2011 5:44 pm

If you're addressing his point, why'd you quote me?
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Re: Are minors who have sex with adults 'victims'?

#33  Postby starr » Dec 23, 2011 11:16 pm

Spoonfed wrote:Throughout history psychologists have made some controversial claims. Until the early 20th century is was generally agreed that masturbation was harmful, resulting in male circumcision (still practised today) and even clitoridectomy. Black people were 'proven' to be mentally inferior to whites, justifying segregation and their mistreatment. Homosexuals were considered mentally ill and subjected to hormone therapy. How can we be certain that today's 'experts' are not simply justifying societies prejudices?

Despite great variation in age of consent laws (ranging from 18 in USA to 14 in Germany) most experts consider consensual sex to be inherently harmful to persons under the age of consent, even teenagers a few years below these arbitrary age based laws are considered 'victims' when they have consensual sex with adults. What evidence leads psychologists to conclude that sex is harmful to pubescent and prepubescent minors? What studies support the criminalisation of consensual sex with persons under the age of consent?

In the same way that African children labelled 'witches' start to believe they are genuinely evil, children labelled 'victims' start to believe they have been harmed i.e. a 14 year old having sex in the USA may see themselves as a 'victim' after the arrest of their adult partner and subsequent therapy sessions, while Germans of the same age might not (as 14 is legal). Clearly therapists can influence how minors view their sexual experiences.

Obviously young people need to be protected from exploitation and harm. Small children are not physically capable of having penetrative sex with adults, however not all sex acts involve penetration. In many cases sex is criminalised despite the consent of partners, use of contraception and lack of physical/mental harm. Can anyone provide me with relevant information explaining why consensual sex with minors is harmful and why? Are there only moral reasons justifying the criminalization of sex with pubescent and prepubescent minors, or does tangible evidence of harm exist?



To broaden what Mr.Samsa has said, from a psychologist's perspective nothing is inherently psychologically harmful. Particular experiences may be more or less likley to result in psychological harm.
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Re: Are minors who have sex with adults 'victims'?

#34  Postby Mr.Samsa » Dec 24, 2011 3:35 am

starr wrote:To broaden what Mr.Samsa has said, from a psychologist's perspective nothing is inherently psychologically harmful. Particular experiences may be more or less likley to result in psychological harm.


All we need now is for Lazar to chime in and it'll be like the good old days of RDF.. :grin:
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Re: Are minors who have sex with adults 'victims'?

#35  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Dec 24, 2011 4:08 am

Mick wrote:If you're addressing his point, why'd you quote me?

You seemed to have to be confused about the point of my post.
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Re: Are minors who have sex with adults 'victims'?

#36  Postby starr » Dec 24, 2011 4:20 am

Mr.Samsa wrote:
starr wrote:To broaden what Mr.Samsa has said, from a psychologist's perspective nothing is inherently psychologically harmful. Particular experiences may be more or less likley to result in psychological harm.


All we need now is for Lazar to chime in and it'll be like the good old days of RDF.. :grin:


:mrgreen:
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Re: Are minors who have sex with adults 'victims'?

#37  Postby Moonwatcher » Jan 03, 2012 8:50 pm

laklak wrote:Depends on the age of the minor, the age of the adult, the circumstances of the relationship, etc. There aren't any cut and dried answers. Unfortunately, the law has to draw a line somewhere and they can't look at each situation individually.


Yes. Age, circumstances, cultural upbringing. For instance, it may be one thing in a culture where someone has grown up with the expectation that they will be considered an adult with all responsibilities by age 14. The ability to make good adult decisions would be vastly different in a culture where people are still considered to be almost children even during their college years and are definitely not prepared for adult responsbilities before 18.
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