"We both knew it was wrong."
A fellow mama bear shared this story with us, about a 33 year old youth pastor charged with sexually abusing a 15 year old girl under his mentorship, noting the news channel that shared it on their Facebook page, had plenty of comments to the effect that a 15 year old girl knows what she is doing, and that she probably wanted and consented to the sexual relationship.
(FYI:The offender is married with 3 children and was also found to be in possession of child pornography.)
So lets get a few things straight....
1. Regardless of what this girl knew or understood - he was the adult. He was in the position of authority. His job was to guide her in her faith, not exploit her for sexual gratification.
2. Even if she knew it was wrong, she is 15. The law, in no way shape or form, puts any sort of responsibility upon a child, to "share the blame." This is not a car insurance claim "what was the condition of the road that day?" - No detail of the relationship enables him (or anyone) to put any responsibility upon this 15 year old girl.
3. Even if she threw herself at this man, he had the responsibility to do the right thing - request reassignment, refuse to be alone with this girl - in order to protect himself, and her. We all have come into contact with a 15 year old - we were all once 15 and probably had a crush on an adult, whether it was someone famous or the attractive teacher, coach, or youth pastor. 15 year olds are YEARS away from having a fully developed brain and are literally not capable of making sensible decisions all the time, their age doesn't diminish the abuse when an adult takes advantage and seduces a child, or acts upon the advances of a minor (which it doesn't seem to be the case in this situation.) Furthermore, if a child is seeking a romantic relationship with an adult, it is more likely a sign that they may have experienced previous abuse, and not that they are mature enough to understand what they are consenting to.
4. Just because sexual abuse doesn't involve bruises - doesn't mean that it isn't traumatic.
“Survivors are damaged to different degrees by their experiences. This does not depend on what happened physically. A Survivor who has been raped will not necessarily be more damaged than a Survivor who has been touched. The degree of damage depend on the degree of traumatic sexualization, stigmatization, betrayal and powerlessness, the child has experienced.
This in turn depends on a number of factors such as:
* who the abuser was;
* how many abusers were involved;
* if the abuser was same-sex or opposite sex;
* what took place;
* what was said;
* how long the abuse went on for;
* How the child felt and how she interpreted what was happening;
* if the child was otherwise happy and supported;
* how other people reacted to the disclosure or discovery of the abuse;
* how old the child was”
― Carolyn Ainscough, Breaking Free: Help For Survivors Of Child Sexual Abuse
So please, if you ever feel the need to put responsibility on a victim of sexual abuse (for victims of any age) open a book, instead of your mouth.