Stop minimizing sexual abuse

Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

I am writing in response to the Feb. 24 article “Man who had sex with 12-year-old jailed.”

This article stated that the sexual relationship between a 12-year-old and a 25-year-old man was consensual. Defence lawyer John Brown is quoted as comparing the issue of consent to that of “underage sex workers.”

This demonstrates an obvious lack of understanding regarding the issues of legal age of consent and the realities of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. We should expect our lawyers to know better. It is deplorable that Mr. Brown implied that “underage sex workers” and 12-year-olds lured into sexual relationships with adults are actually consenting to the activity and responsible for it.

Let’s be clear about this — a 12-year-old child can never legally consent to have sex with a 25-year-old. Our laws understand that children do not have the power and control to make such choices. Why would anyone in the justice system think the victim in this case provided informed consent?

As a lawyer, Mr. Brown knows full well that buying children under the age of 18 for sex is illegal.

Further, they are not underage sex workers. They are not child prostitutes. They are sexually exploited children and youth.

Imagine hearing an adult simply dismiss you as “an underage sex worker.” Imagine listening as a lawyer explains to the court that you consented to

child abuse. Imagine that child is your daughter, son, grandchild, niece or nephew.

Our children and youth are being sexually exploited, sexually abused and lured into sexual relationships with adults. These experiences are traumatic and damaging.

Shamefully, adults are having sex with children. There’s loads of responsibility to share — and none of it belongs to our children. These kids are not to blame. As a society, we are failing at protecting our children and youth from sexual exploitation.

We must stop minimizing the abuse of our children.

Angela Crockwell

Community Youth Network

St. John’s

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • Herb Morrison
    March 09, 2011 - 06:56

    Several weeks ago an article written by Pam Frampton met with the same deafening silence. I agree with Mary when she says that this type of silence is really sad. Is the silence an indication that the masses agree with the decisions that were handed down and the rationale used by the judges to justify how they reached these decisons?

  • mary
    March 08, 2011 - 14:29

    The lack of comments on this letter to the editor is really sad. There is a news story on CBC website about a guy getting house arrest (less than a year) for two cases of sexual assault. Both of the women involved said they would never have spoken out if they had known what the outcome would be. The Judge apparently commented that noone else had come forward - so?? Sometimes I think that we are going backwards in our attitudes towards sexual assault and abuse. Or maybe, like those two women, I am naive and thought that we had advanced further than we actually have.

  • Herb Morrison
    March 07, 2011 - 09:12

    My understanding of the law of the land tells me that anyone under the age of sixteen years cannot consent to engaging in any type of sex-related activity. This includes activity ranging from sexual touching to sexual intercourse. In addition, attempting to lure a child via the internet is also illegal. Consequently, I cannot understand how any lawyer would consider that a twelve-year old is capable of the age of consent. The exploitation of human beings regardless of the context in which that exploitation occurs should not be acceptable in our so-called civilized society. With regard to sexual exploitation specifically., why would it come surprise anyone to learn that sexual exploitation is of both woman and children happens both in the world in general, and in Newfoundland and Labrador in particular. When women are referred to as nice pieces of gear, and another expression, which really makes my skin crawl and blood boil: if they are big enough to bleed they are big enough to butcher, small wonder that sexual exploitation in general and the sexual exploitation of children in particular takes place. In recent years there have been efforts made to underscore the seriousness of all sex-related offences. Consequently, that is why the term sexual assault is used within the legal system to describe any form of illegal sexual activity ranging from touching for a sexual purpose, to forcible rape. So, attempts are being made to deal with the problem of sexual exploitation in all its’ forms. Unfortunately, you can change laws but changing attitudes is another matter.