Monday, August 09, 2004

Sick, sick world
I have intended to post on this for a few days now. If you turned on the TV last week you were probably bombarded by media coverage of the prison release of former teacher and convicted child rapist Deborah Letourneau (I think that's her first name). In a sick and twisted "relationship" with one of her sixth grade students, Debbie bore two children by the young boy.

Issue #1: Why was this such a huge story? It was not simply a matter of a quick story that Debbie had finished her prison sentence as was being released, it was extended coverage from release, to appearance at the local sheriff's office to register as a sex-offender, to interviews with the victim, now a young man of 21 years. Even just the advertisements of the upcoming interviews with the victim sickened me. It was as if the media was still salivating over the sex of the story. Though journalists tried to treat this coverage as professional, it seemed more to me that lurking behind their questions was a pagan fertility homage that could be described like this: "Hey, this kid scored in sixth grade!"

Issue #2: I suppose now that both Ms. Letourneau and the victim are legal adults, they are able to decide whether to pick up where arrest, conviction, and prison forced them to leave off. I am not surprised that a court would lift the restriction that kept them apart. But it seems to me that more than the victim's current age is at issue here, or at least ought to be. Though the victim is now 21, I don't pretend that he is really capable of thinking clearly about whether it is for his good that he reunite with Ms. Letourneau. Let's face reality, folks. The victim was a child who was preyed upon and sexualized at a very young age. I would imagine that his understanding of the truth and meaning of sexuality is still warped and that having had such an intense experience at such a young age has almost precluded his ability to form an appropriate, meaningful relationship with another woman that could eventually lead to commitment and sexual fulfillment.

I know I have made many assumptions there. I just think the whole situation is sick: sick when it first happened and sick in its current headline status. I view the victim as someone most likely still imprisoned by his teacher's abuse.

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