Laura Elizabeth Whitehurst, a teacher in California, was arrested yesterday and accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student that led to the birth of a baby. Apparently, the "relationship" lasted close to a year and largely took place at Whitehurst's home.
The boy's mother reported it to the police. The fact that this happened under the nose of the school and was probably well known by some students is pretty appalling. Even more appalling is the fact that if the genders were reversed -- if the teacher were male and the student female -- people would be up in arms over this. My guess is this way a whole lot of men are chuckling to themselves and thinking how lucky he is.
Well, he isn't "lucky" at all. Now, he is a father at 16, a decision over which he had likely zero control. Not only did this woman commit statutory rape, she forced him into a grownup role that will never go away.
Even if I could get past the statutory rape (which I can't), the reality is this isn't very different from the "abortion in cases of rape" argument we hear about all the time when it pertains to women. No woman should be forced to carry a baby she didn't want from sex she didn't want against her will. It would be like a second rape.
This situation isn't all that different. Even if he enjoyed the sex and wanted the sex, he was too young to legally consent to her. Even more, he is WAY too young to have chosen to have a baby.
This entire thing reeks of sexism and gender stereotypes. Teenage boys deserve to be protected every bit as much as teenage girls. They may think they are old enough to consent and may even think they are totally lucky (I have heard grown men say, "Where were THESE teachers when I was a kid?"), but they aren't.
A boy who is raped by a woman is every bit as much a victim as a girl. My heart goes out to this boy's family. I hope he gets the counseling he deserves and that whatever happens with the child he fathered, he is still able to go on to college and live the life he would have had if this hadn't happened to him.
Do you think he should be forced to pay child support and be responsible for this baby?
Image via Thomas Galvez/Flickr