Sexual Exploitation of Teenagers"Adolescent Development, Discrimination, and Consent Law"

Sexual Exploitation of Teenagers"Adolescent Development, Discrimination, and Consent Law"

Jennifer Ann Drobac

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780226301013

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

Sexual Exploitation of Teenagers examines the sexual exploitation of maturing teenagers by adults. It explores why scientific facts concerning adolescent neurological and psychosocial development are incongruent with protective laws concerning juvenile consent to sexual activity. Adolescents may not have the wisdom—the emotional, intellectual, and experiential tools—to handle challenges, such as sexual harassment. The book recounts the stories of several teenagers who filed federal or state anti-discrimination cases. It analyzes these cases in light of evolving law and gendered social attitudes concerning sexually active women and youth. From case stories, readers can evaluate the factors, including adolescent development and judicial bias, which arguably play a role in exploitation cases. The book also highlights conflicting criminal and civil laws, detailing the legal and social mixed message received by adults and teenagers. It traces why personal injury law, sexual harassment law, and statutory rape laws fail to protect American teenagers adequately. The book concludes that while teen sexual exploitation remains problematic, corrective remedies more congruent with teen developing capacity exist. For example, “legal assent,” a new proposal affords adolescents autonomy but also allows them to correct their errors by retracting their “consent” when they realize during their minority that they have made a mistake. The book provides a thorough interdisciplinary discussion of the science of adolescent development, the problem of sexual exploitation, and sexual harassment law. It proposes legal, administrative and public policy changes for how parents, jurists, and concerned citizens might better protect American teenagers from sexual coercion and abuse.