You Can't "Have Sex With" a Child.

The local news at 11 just reported a sting in my area to arrest men who went to a house to "have sex with" a thirteen year old boy or girl (no women showed up to do so apparently, but this was not mentioned). Naturally I immediately fired off an email challenging this language:

"I'm watching your 11 pm news cast, and I have to point out that it is impossible for a man (or woman) to "have sex with" a child. Any sex act with a child is rape, since they are incapable of giving consent. Please change your reporting language to reflect this important truth. This is not inflammatory language, it is simply accurate. Thank you."

I only saw the news because my dad is visiting. I never watch it when he's not here. Maybe it's my civic duty to watch and send this email every single time rape is described as "sex" whether the raped person is a child or an adult. And it's not "alleged rape" either - a rape has occurred, only the identity of the rapist is "alleged."

I sort of thought I was living in the twenty first century and not the nineteenth.

Also, I have to give a shout out to my neighbor Yolanda. Her daughter Marissa is my daughter Katie's best friend. She went along with us to hold Katie's hand while she had her ears pierced tonight. It was dark when she asked if she could come and I told her to ask her mom, and she asked me to walk her over. She said, "My mom told me not to walk home in the dark alone because of stranger danger and the rapist across the street with a red car." (I think that this is a great rule for a six year old who weighs maybe 40 pounds soaking wet. Adult women should be able to walk wherever they please in the dark, because they can weigh their risks.) I am SO FRIGGING HAPPY that another parent called a "child molester" what he is, a rapist.

Most of my psychiatric social work colleagues object when I call "child molesters" rapists. I think it makes them squirm inside. Which it should. Molestation is a euphemism of the worst possible kind. Rape should not be prettied up verbally so we get comfortable talking about it, especially where children are concerned. I would no more say a child was "molested" than that a woman or man was "interfered with." Social workers are like priests, we hear everything, and it's often not easy to handle the degree of evil some people are capable of.

I have a patient whose dad raped her starting when she was ten and continued until he impregnated her at thirteen, at which point her mother and the courts had to believe her - the DNA matched. (I am bound to confidentiality, but there are so many little girls out there in the same situation that this doesn't break it.) Her dad spent a few years in prison. And I mean less than five. For raping a ten year old over and over, until she was thirteen - well, actually until she was fifteen, because CPS didn't see fit to take her out of the home where her dad repeatedly raped and impregnated her and her mother KNEW, while the trial was pending for two years and he was "free on his own recognizance" as the saying goes.

HINT TO CPS: A scumbag who rapes his ten year old until she is thirteen and gets her pregnant doesn't HAVE any FUCKING recognizance. And then there are parents who sell their three year olds for sex in order to smoke a pipe of crack or ten a day. Social workers hear everything. Sometimes I wish I didn't, but most of the time I'm glad that I'm there to tell, sometimes as the first person the victim/survivor can trust. I feel that my knowing about all this evil does the world good in some small way. I am a witness. I can call the deniers and the minimizers on their horrific shit and the consequences of those cover up phrases and actions. Just to clarify, I don't think rape is "better" when an adult experiences it, not at all. But child rape makes me, universalist though I am (I think of heaven, if it exists, as an ER, where the sickest souls are treated first), hope at times that there's a hell.