Virginia: It’s for Lovers
WaPo – Stern Warning on Sex With Minors
The blunt message will be pasted on billboards and barroom coasters across Virginia: “Isn’t she a little young?” it will ask in bold pink and white lettering against a black backdrop. “Sex with a minor,” the wording will continue. “Don’t go there.”
The Virginia Department of Health is launching a campaign in Northern Virginia, Richmond and Roanoke to stop men from engaging in sex with underage girls. Health officials say they hope their program will reduce the number of pregnancies that result from such illegal conduct.
The campaign, to begin this month with the distribution of hundreds of thousands of coasters, cocktail napkins and postcard-size messages in Arlington, Alexandria and Falls Church, is one of the few such programs in the nation, public health officials and consultants said.
“We are concerned about minors who are coerced into sexual relationships with adult men and the resulting health and social problems, which include pregnancy, fatherless children, sexually transmitted diseases and mental health problems,” state Health Commissioner Robert B. Stroube said.
Virginia health officials said they became alarmed when they reviewed state studies showing that in 1999 and 2000, 219 babies born to 13- and 14-year-old girls were fathered by men over age 18. They also cited nationwide statistics that show that men older than 21 are three times as likely to father children with junior high school girls than are junior high school boys.
The concept boggles the mind. Still, one would prefer that they target the program–and the law–a bit more precisely:
Virginia law makes it a felony for an adult to engage in a sexual relationship with a 13- or 14-year-old. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor for anyone 18 or older to engage in consensual sexual intercourse with a child age 15 to 17.
It’s fairly typical to have 17- and 18-year-olds in a single senior class at high school. Do we really want to make it illegal for high school kids to have sex with each other?