At What Age Does the Watchtower Consider It Abuse?

by bavman 5 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • bavman

    If a 16 year old is enticed and molested sexually by a say...a 19 year old how does the society view that do you think?

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    My guess is that they would consider it fornication and not abuse

  • blondie

    The WTS officially says they will follow the laws of the land in this regard. But if they don't report it, they are of course free to do whatever they want depending on the body of elders.


    Child Sexual Abuse

    Although child sexual abuse laws vary, states define sexual abuse from the minimum definition standards created by the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA; Jan. 1996). Under this law, a perpetrator of child sexual abuse is defined as "a parent or caretaker who is responsible for child's welfare" and sexual abuse is defined as:

     The employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct or any simulation of such conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct; or the rape, and in the cases of caretaker or other inter-familial relationships, statutory rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children or incest with children. 

    The key element that distinguishes child sexual abuse from other sex crimes is that the perpetrator is defined as being in a custodial or caretaker role (S. Cohen, National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information, personal communication, March 27, 2002). Such roles are typically defined as a parent, relative, adult living in the home, baby sitter, neighbor, teacher, faith community leader, and coach. Not included in child abuse definitions are individuals whom one is dating or with whom one has a romantic relationship. Such roles are not deemed as a custodial or caretaker by the law. Further, under the law, one is prohibited from being in a romantic relationship if there is a custodial duty. However, statutory rape and rape can occur in dating or romantic relationships.

    Rape and Statutory Rape

    It is difficult to discuss rape and statutory rape laws without an explanation of the differences between the two. Conceptually, rape laws are more similar between states than statutory rape laws. Rape is generally defined as, "Unlawful sexual activity (especially intercourse) with a person without consent and usually by force or threat of injury" (Garner, 1999, p. 1267). Although it is recognized that definitions of rape include sexual behavior other than intercourse, for brevity, this article will discuss rape in the context of legally defined intercourse. Further, school counselors may deal with students who are involved with or who have been victimized by someone of the same sex. State laws may distinguish same sex (homosexual) intercourse from other sex (heterosexual) intercourse. Acknowledging the inequity of this distinction, this article will focus on laws that regard intercourse as some form of illegal sexual penetration.

    Statutory rape laws are much more diverse and complex and, thus, are difficult to discuss in general terms. There are two primary difficulties that arise when attempting to discuss and explain statutory rape laws. The first difficulty results from the enormous variance in how statutory rape is labeled from state to state. Although the term statutory rape is commonly used, it is usually not the term used to describe the crime in states' legal statutes (Davis & Twombly, 2000). Examples of terms used to describe statutory rape include: sexual assault, statutory sexual assault, unlawful sexual conduct, gross sexual imposition, criminal sexual penetration, sexual contact, sexual offense, and carnal knowledge (Donovan, 1997). In some states, Alaska for example, the statutory rape is termed sexual abuse, thus, leading to possible confusion with sexual abuse as defined by CAPTA noted above. To further complicate the legal definitions, many states use the noted terms in conjunction with designations of degree of offense (e.g., first degree, second degree). For example, New Mexico classifies levels of rape and statutory rape by using terms such as first-degree criminal sexual penetration and third-degree criminal sexual contact (Donovan). School counselors are strongly advised to learn the legal terms for statutory rape in their state.

    The second problem that arises in discussing statutory rape centers around the enormous variance in how statutory rape is defined by various state laws. In general terms, statutory rape is "unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under the age of consent ... regardless of whether it is against the person's will" (Garner, 1999, p. 1267). Complicating this definition is the fact that the legal age of consent varies from state to state depending on the age difference between the two partners. For the most part, many states have an age level below which sexual intercourse is prohibited and considered rape regardless of consent. This specified age is one that the state has concluded that the child is not competent to make decisions regarding sexual behavior with anyone, regardless of the partner's age. States vary on the age of consent, but it is usually between 14 and 16 years. States also have an age range somewhere between this age level and late teens where intercourse is prohibited if one of the parties is older by a specified number of years. This age difference is usually somewhere between 2 to 5 years. Intercourse between partners with these age discrepancies is defined as statutory rape. Finally, there is an age level that, if both parties have reached or are older, consenting sexual intercourse is legal; this age is usually 16 to 18 years.

  • rebel8

    They follow the laws of the land (so they claim), but does that impact how they view the incident--rape vs. fornication? I would think they wouldn't accept the legal definition of the age of consent.

    In the incidents I observed, it was always considered fornication no matter the age. It was always the female's fault because girls and women are always accidentally (or intentionally) seducing the poor men who are at the mercy of their hormones.

  • blondie

    You're right, rebel8, that is why I added the qualifying words. Unfortunately, JW elders aren't they only ones who hold a child responsible no matter what the age. I know a neighbor woman who said her nine-year-old niece had "seduced" the man.

    And elder bodies vary as to their interpretation too.


  • hamsterbait

    How long is a piece of string?

    If a girl of 14 is baptized, then the elders will ask what kind of underwear she had on. If it was not navy blue linen then she may well have been asking, if not gagging for it. If coersion was used then she simply succumbed to temptation. This is especially so if she did not scream ( irrespective of the method used, whether verbal threats or a gun to the head)

    The whole WTS stand on this stinks - don't tell me the Holy Spirit had anything to do with the crap they printed over the years.


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