What in the World Is Andrew Sullivan on About?

He is becoming apoplectic over the idea that "statutory rape can be consensual," saying of rape that it is always forced: '"forcible rape", as if there were some other kind.'

Does Sullivan actually not know the definition of "statutory rape," or... or what? I can't imagine. Because in a state where the age of consent is 18, when an 18-year-old woman sleeps with her 17-year-old boyfriend after the senior prom, she has just "raped" him. But that she "forced" him to have sex with her without his consent does not gibe with my knowledge of 17-year-old men.

The argument for statutory rape laws is surely one of informed consent, not of consent, right? The idea is that while a 13-year-old girl may agree to have sex with a 40-year-old man, she is too young to actually know all that this agreement entails. We have statutory rape laws for much the same reason that minors are not allowed to sign a business contract on their own: not to protect them from being forced to sign it, since we don't need special laws concerning minors for that, but because we deem them too inexperienced to make such decisions on their own.

After all, forced sex is already illegal without statutory rape laws, whatever the age of the victim. For what purpose does Sullivan think these laws were written if they are also about forced sex?

UPDATE: Sullivan admits the obvious. But what was he thinking in the first place? He writes, "In context, I see that [statutory rape is often consensual] now." In context? Like, in the context of what statutory rape actually means, I realize what it actually means?


  1. Having technically been the victim of statutory rape, I have to agree - the paper cut I got the other day was a more traumatic experience for me.

    1. I never knew, Daniel. Well, this explains everything, you poor boy.

  2. "150 Republican congressman voted for a bill that would allow abortions only for "forcible rape", as if there were some other kind."

    From his link: "their high-priority No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act that would redefine rape."

    Aside from the stupidity you mention, that is pretty blatantly misleading. I find Sullivan's Obama cheerleading and GOP demonizing (as if its shortcomings need to be exaggerated!) so irritating that if I thought Obama was going to lose, I'd be tempted to vote for him just so I can watch Sullivan squirm as we get more of the same.

  3. The 'context' is getting caught. Sullivan thought he could get away with a cheap shot at one of his hate fetishes (there are so many), but got called on it. Hence 'in context'.


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