I read this Observer column of Victoria Coren-Mitchell and couldn’t agree more. I do not know Adam Johnson, nor am I familiar with this particular case, I am, however, with a different one. Steven van de V., a Dutch Volleyballplayer. Who is about to get a sentence of four years for rape. The man is now 21, was 19 when he attended the UK and had contact over Facebook and other social media channels with a girl of 12 years.
12 years. I don’t know how exactly the contacts unfolded, I only know that they have had sex at least three times. Three times, when you’re 12. If you agree to that or not at that age, that’s just wrong. For this Steven van de V. to think this is totally OK. I also do wonder how mature a girls’ body even is at that age?! I think this case reaks of paedophilia. It is not normal to be lured into sexual activity being a 19-year-old when the ‘offered’ other party is 12.
And yes, he knew her age.
As Victoria Coren-Mitchell states: why does this upset me so much?
I think it’s simply because society doesn’t seem to care. Rape is not to be taken seriously. Rape isn’t an issue for many men. For them it’s a question to whetether the contact was voluntarily or not. That factor seems to be far more of a discussion than anything else.
To me, this isn’t important. For lots of people, it seems to be. Because then it’s less bad.
Surprise, surprise, people: we have laws for that. Fact is: having sex with a minor is illegal.
Adam Johnson seems to claim he was pretty much lured into it. A weak excuse. Especially because lured or not, it seems to me he knew exactly what he was doing. He could have said: ‘no, I don’t want this to happen, I get in trouble’. To himself, if anything. He should have stepped out the situation, as that is what adults are supposed to do.
If I think back on how I acted when I had that tender age of 12 years, I feel a lot of shame. Thankfully, the only places where this shame hits me, is when I read my own diaries.
These men should know better. Especially in this age and era. Pushing the law aside for your ego and orgasm is a lot more damaging nowadays than it ever was before. These stories will never be hidden. Every new partner of these girls will be able to read their stories. And they themselves are never considered harm free. Ever.
And I do think sporters have a larger responsibility when it comes to these offerings. Being that much in the public eye, they must be aware of all the temptations around. Are they not aware that girls like this may believe they are out and about with their dreamprince? I don’t think so. These sports men are fully aware of their status and they use it.
I do happen to live in a country where one (chanceless) political party tried, not too long ago, to lower the age where kids are technically adults. Here that is set to 18. They wanted it lowered, as they are paedophiles and deeply wish for their love to be legal.
But no, sorry. The best interests of the child should always be first.
So ‘only a few months until I am of legal age’, is a weak excuse too, but it’s always worse to take advantage of the girl in question. It’s as if she’s on a bike, the man is in the car and she tells him: you can drive as fast as you can, I’ll just be here on my bike and nothing will happen. You know that’s not true. You know she will crash. Wait until she’s with a car. Then you drive safely.