This morning, on a nationally syndicated morning talk show, an 'expert' (put in parentheses here because I often question the credentials of those who appear on newsmagazine shows) was brought on to discuss the phenomenon of children molesting children, at younger and younger ages.
I am not saying that this doesn't happen, and that it doesn't sometimes involve physical force or coercion, but the expert involved brought up the topic of what has often been called 'playing doctor' - that is, *two children of relatively close age and of either sex or different sexes exploring each others bodies in mutual consent, out of curiosity.*
The expert went on to say that this could be horribly detrimental to the development of a child.
I seem to recall several instances of 'doctor' when I was a child, and I remember it being dealt with fairly well when parents/adults found out, and I don't feel scarred.
So the question is, do you think in the above starred section's situation (beginning with "two children...") that this should be considered molestation and that appropriate legal action should be taken?
Or do you think this is just another case of over-reaction and subsequent legal overaction?
OR, do you think I provided too much background and made the question too confusing?
------------------ "Two little girls, growing out of their training bras/This little girl breaks furniture, this little girl breaks laws/Two girls together, each a little less alone..." ~Ani DiFranco, "Two Little Girls"
I think that is completely out of hand. I remember when the first highly publicized case of this came up: an 11-year-old boy was playing "doctor" in the front room 9with an open window) with his nine-year-old sister, and a neighbor called the police. The children were removed from the home. later, it was cleared up, but both kids had to go through court and temporary displacement because of this.
A psychologist without a bias can ppretty easily determine if a child has or has not been traumatized. If the children involved were simply doing what children do (exploring bodies, looking at them, etc.) and neither is harmed, nor appears harmed, not only do I think that certainly isn't molestation, I think it is healthy and neccessary. The trouble we get into when we're quick to assign, rather than *assess* sexual trauma, is that we may end up instilling shame and sexualization when there was none. Want to talk about detrimental to development?
Everything is thought of as sexual harassment these days. Girls at my school are always filing sexual harassment on people for talking about them. Two children touching isn't mollesting, but neither are words. Active steps are taken against sexual harassment such as calling someone's butt big or talking about someone's breasts. It's gone way too far. Sexual comments used to make girls feel desirable, in my opinion, now they're a crime.
Posts: 8 | From: Portland, OR, USA | Registered: Aug 2000
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An interesting perspective to keep in mind is that cultural perspectives vary. I was talking to a classmate of mine from Colombia a while back and I was complaining about the men in Spain, who constantly acted in a manner that I would consider "harassment" (commenting out loud about women's clothing, appearance, attractiveness, etc. as they passed in the street or whatever). Gabi had a totally different perspective, though. She said that she really missed those comments, because in her home country when she went out all dressed up they let her know that she really looked good!
Now don't get me wrong, I still find such comments obnoxious. But that conversation did open my eyes to the fact that one woman's harassment may be another woman's compliment. The line really gets drawn when the person to whom the comment is being made gets uncomfortable, especially if the person making the comment is doing so INTENDING to make the recipient uncomfortable. Sometimes that's really obvious ("Hey babe, nice boobs!" shouted across the hall) and sometimes it's not so clear ("That dress you're wearing has really nice lines. I like it.")
Genuine molestation among young children does happen; unfortunately, it's usually modeled on adult behavior they've seen. But sometimes kids are just kids, and in that area, as in any other related to relations between the sexes these days, it seems like the lines are getting really fuzzy. ~sigh~
That's a really excellent batch of points there, Lady. Have I mentioned lately how happy I am to have you here?
I think, though, the biggest problem we're dealing with today is simply that our culture has become so litigious. In other words, things are bound to get all mixed up when there is a dollar to be made, and in many cases, thousands of them.
It makes people question other peoples motives, it makes people consider filing a complaint about something they are unsure about, or that could easily be handled by communication and so forth.
But ultimately, like you said, Lady, it is in the eye of the person who feels harassed. In the case of young children, it is sticky, but again, a qualified counselor can usually figure that out without a lot of effort. In terms of young adults and adults, we simply have to take someone's word on it, and start proacytively. In other words, one tells the person who you feel is harassing you that you feel they are and want them to stop what they're doing. If they continue, then there is no question that that is indeed harassment, because you have asked them to stop. Bothering or hounding someone beyond the bounds of courtesy is what harassment is, sexual or otherwise.
It's when that gets forgotten, or when people OUTSIDE the situation start talking harassment that it all gets so murky. But there are times and places for these things, and you know, if a woman waalked up to a man in the street and told him his penis looked small or told her boss that he had a nice set of testicles, she'd probably end up with a black eye or no job, not a lawsuit. So looking at it by taking gender out of the equation is sometimes helpful.
Why thank you, Miz S. I'm happy to have a "here" to be.
I've heard people argue that expecting a woman to speak up and tell somebody she feels harassed is a "blame the victim" mentality. I disagree, for the most part. People (including yours truly) can be pretty thick-headed at times and genuinely not realize that what they're doing is wrong for a particular person or situation. However, if a person continues the harassing behavior AFTER they've been asked/told to stop it, then I say throw the book at 'em (preferably one of those 30-pound unabridged dictionaries...).
I feel that the method you described for dealing with what you considered to be sexual harrasment was a bit dangerous.... It is not appropriate for people to strike each other to cause pain. I feel anyway... If a girl comes up and touches me in a way that I feel wasn't justified should I punch her? I think if you hit people you should expect to get hit back.... Thats called assault and battery....
quote:Originally posted by starpoet: Arlington Virginia is multicultural and the high schools could get pretty rough with sexual comments. I learned to fight back with words in several languages.
A couple of times when guys touched me, I hit them. Short punch, closed fist, like Daddy taught me. I don't recommend it as a course of action, but I started being left alone
(I say guys because I never had a girl touch me sexually in high school if I didn't want her to do so.)
I guess my point is that I handled the problem myself first and always.
Posts: 5 | From: Traverse City, MI, USA | Registered: Aug 2000
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I think, Chickenrider, that one of the points we have been making here is that appropriate behavior differs depending on the circumstances. Starpoet's actions were effective, and stopped the harassment where a polite request might not have. I'm certainly not saying that physical violence should be everybody's first resort, but I wasn't there, and I'll wager that she did what she felt was appropriate for that time and place.
Posts: 943 | From: Missouri, USA | Registered: Jul 2000
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quote:... If a girl comes up and touches me in a way that I feel wasn't justified should I punch her?
If she grabs your crotch? Yes. You are quite justified if she harasses you. I've never been touch by a guy (it's great being in the unpopular group) but if I was, he wouldn't be seeing straight for about a month.
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