Teens and Romantic Relationships and With Older Adults

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Should a 37-year-old date a 17-year-old? When does the age gap become unbearable? When does the law truly step in? These are the questions that arose for me while reading this story “Adult-teen relationships aren’t judged in some communities” . Roy Moore’s allegation shed light on culture in which older Christian men date teens. The story of Roy Moore may not be new, as this was a huge Washington Post investigation, but rereading the following paragraph “When Roy Moore, then 34 years old, asked 17-year-old Debbie Wesson Gibson whether she would date him, Gibson asked her mother what she would think. According to The Washington Post’s investigation into Moore’s alleged pursuit of teenage girls, which was published, Gibson’s mother replied, ‘I’d say you were the luckiest girl in the world.’” The 17-year age difference stood out to me as a woman and a clinical social worker. Words like rape, innocent, and abuse floated through my mind. I also thought of how this could possibly cause childhood trauma. I am very aware every state allows youths under 18 to marry in certain circumstances, such as with parental consent or judicial approval. I am also aware of the antiquated thinking mentioned in the article, which is a daughters’ labor is not as valuable as sons’ labor. I find this way of thinking appalling but understand breaking away from such teaching is not always easy. I applauded Easter for doing so and starting a support group and an organization for change because, as she states, “When you have never learned to make your own choices, you haven’t learned how to be in charge of your life. Working through that can be very scary”. That is true, but I am happy to learn these women have an alternative option.

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