It is one thing to advocate for children regaining their natural, God given right, to explore, enjoy, and take part in age appropriate sexual activity. It is quite another to advocate breaking the law which prohibits them from doing so, especially when secrecy is the necessary companion of this activity.
Research shows that many children, especially girls, who have sexual awakenings at the hands of an adult partner, have serious emotional problems later on in life. This, in my opinion, is caused by one of three things: the activity was not consensual, the pressure of having to keep the secret (and thus not have anyone with which to discuss her feelings), or the activity was discovered and her friend was skewered on the lance of injustice, while she was brainwashed into victim status.
The fact is, neither sexual experimentation, nor erotic engagements with a partner of their choice, is harmful for children. However, in the current climate of the western world, led by the puritanical right wing of the U.S.A., sacrificing children on the alter of "decency" (their word, not mine) in the name of protecting them, is standard operating procedure. People would literally rather see their children in pain than in the throes of orgasm. If we are to advocate for children, shouldn't we avoid putting them in this situation?
I do agree that it is time for a new sexual revolution; one that includes children. I will also agree that is is time for us to come out from under the rock and band together for that purpose. Where we have a difference of opinion, is when you suggest (I know you didn't come right out and say it) that covert sexual liasons, in this climate of repression and intolerance, is somehow the right thing to do.
"Those of you who continue to mouth the same dreary old platitudes, the same old "I love kids too much to put them through such trauma" are overlooking the fact that this attitude, as stated below in the excellent post which inspired this one, is self-defeating for us and does nothing but strengthen the hand of the oppressor."
Everytime a child is discovered engaging in sexual activity, the oppressor puts a figurative gun to her head. If it was with another child, then she is "naughty" and can't be trusted. If it is with someone older, then he is evil, and she is a victim. We cannot use children as shields and cannon fodder, even if it is to regain their right to be fully human. The consequences for them (and us) are just too severe.
It is, as you say, a better tactic to fight for the kids' right to a sexual identity and to age-approriate sexual activity, as opposed to our right to have access to them. It seems to me that before we are allowed to enter the picture (above ground), several things must happen. First among them I think, is that society must re-evaluate the role of sexuality in a modern, 21st century world. We know how to make it safe and we know how to prevent unwanted pregnancies. People must understand, that with the ability to produce a population increase at will, we no longer need to think of the prime role of sex as procreative. Instead, sex should be viewed as a wonderful way to express love and friendship, and can be safely engaged in by ALL human beings at every stage of life. Make no mistake about it, SEX itself is the issue.
Another prerequisite, as I see it, is the need for REAL sexuality education, instead of the abstinence garbage that we now have in most schools. Children should be taught about the pleasure aspect, and how to give and receive it, along with how to keep safe from the unwanted, negative consequences. They should learn about exploitation at the same time, and in the same manner, that they learn about consent. They should learn about the dangers at the same time they learn about the joy. With this much more comprehensive approach, the child will be able to give or refuse informed consent as they choose.
These are some of the things we must work for before pedosexual activity can be engaged in successfully and without harm. We must not emulate the barbaric custom of using kids as shields against the enemy. Civil disobedience is a powerful weapon and a legitimate act so far as the consequences of that act are visited only upon those engaged in it. When the consequences spill over onto the innocent however, I think the legitimacy of the act must be called into question.
This essay originally appeared as a post on Girl Chat.