My 8th grader was describing an acquaintance of the same age, and I paraphrase:
Her rallying cry is, “Let’s go f*** some sh** up!” She says never posts *full* nudes of herself, so it’s okay. She’s obsessed with having a boyfriend, and she keeps asking me what it’s like to actually talk to a boy.
This is the middle school narrative: If you sext, brandish vulgar language, and organize your life around the quest for a boyfriend, you’re the sophisticated one — even if you’ve never had a real conversation with a boy before.
An appropriately-mature thirteen-year-old girl is a person who has a wide variety of friendships with girls and boys her own age, as well as those younger and older than herself. She’s probably beginning to think about marriage. Combine those two facts with a half-decent childhood featuring a responsible, caring father who loves his wife and children, and she’ll quickly come to another conclusion: Young teenage boys are in no way marriage-material.
Why should they be? They’re kids. He may be a wonderful young man with all kinds of potential, but he’s not there yet. If you’d actually talk to him, you’d know that.
In our popular culture, sex-status is the big thing. The kids have learned from their parents that the purpose of sex is to gratify one’s desires, and that a girl’s worth is measured in sexiness. The kids have adopted that philosophy wholesale.
The idea of a person simply not having sex is so foreign that even certain Catholic bishops can’t get their heads around it. Parents, meanwhile, delude themselves into thinking that their boys aren’t using porn:
A junior high school principal said to me recently that she invited a specialist in porn addiction to give a talk at her school about this, but parents balked, saying their kids didn’t even know what that was.
This is not simply a matter of getting a smartphone out of your kid’s hands. Remember my telling you about the family I know who removed their kids from a school because fifth grade boys in her son’s class were watching hardcore porn on smartphones their parents gave them? The boys were building a pornified culture of boyhood. Fifth graders.
Given that the bulk of popular music revolves around the quest for sex, and has for at least a generation, it’s difficult to see how boys wouldn’t do the thing they keep hearing about on the radio when they ride in the car with mom and dad.
When asked, “How do you know a guy likes you?,” an 8th grade girl replied: “He still wants to talk to you after you [give him oral sex].” A male high school student said to a girl: “If you [give me oral sex] I’ll give you a kiss.” Girls are expected to provide sex acts for tokens of affection, and are coached through it by porn-taught boys. A 15-year-old girl said she didn’t enjoy sex at all, but that getting it out of the way quickly was the only way her boyfriend would stop pressuring her and watch a movie.
. . . As the Plan Australia/Our Watch report found, girls are tired of being pressured for images they don’t want to send, but they seem resigned to send them anyways because of how normal the practice has become. Boys then typically use the images as a form of currency, to swap and share with their friends. Often times boys will use the revealing pics to humiliate girls publicly if there is a bad break up.
This is dark enough, but it goes darker. This is from an e-mail I received from Kim Williams, a coach with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, who also works with Lighthouse for Life. She’s describing what’s happening in the sleepy suburbs of a boring mid-sized city:
True Story 1: A young teenage girl was befriended by a young man on Facebook. One day she expressed anger at her parents in her status and he said, “Let’s meet up and talk about it.” She went to meet him and he was NOT a teenager. It was three adult men who took this girl to a hotel and abused her endlessly for days. Fortunately – and against the odds – she was rescued.
True Story 2: A high school sophomore from the Blythewood area [growing suburb popular with corporate executives] was befriended by some older boys. They gained her trust and invited her to some parties. At one of these parties they drugged her drink. She didn’t know what happened that night but the next day she heard from the guys. They had video of her performing sexual acts and doing drugs. They blackmailed her with this video and trafficked her for MONTHS. She was physically free to come and go from her own home but she was a mental prisoner who snuck out each night to “work” all while going to school and doing her daily routines. Eventually she went out to “work” one night and did not return. Weeks later the police found her – again against the odds – being sold by the hour at a local hotel.
These accounts are horrific to hear but they happened to minors from upper middle class families right here in the Midlands. These girls are not what most would expect to be “typical” victims of sex trafficking. The reality is nobody is exempt from falling victim to this crime. Education and awareness are the keys to prevention. Please be willing to learn more about the realities of sex trafficking here in South Carolina and help keep our children safe from these predators.
Why is there such a market for teenage girls in a sleepy Bible Belt town, to the point that pimps are willing to risk kidnapping charges and worse in order to abduct upper class girls and sell them locally?
You can almost hear the eighth grade boys scoffing at those pathetic men who have to pay for what they can get the girls to give them for free.
There is no magic remedy that will guarantee your teens will live chastely and stay out of harm’s way. But you can be certain that if your understanding of human sexuality is all about the quest for gratification and sexual status, your children are going to learn that from you.
Artwork: Brothel Scene, 1540, Brunswick Monogrammist (fl. between 1525 and 1545) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.