However, just because not every teenager is harmed by statutory rape doesn’t mean that it’s an okay thing to do. Most of us know people who have driven while drunk, and gotten home safely without hurting themselves or anyone. Does that make drunk driving okay?
Of course it doesn’t.
Because the question isn’t “Is this always and in every case harmful?” The question is “Does this have a high probability of hurting someone else?” And with statutory rape, as with drunk driving, the answer is yes.
Interestingly, this is absolutely the situation male victims run in to. Society tells boys that of course they want to have sex, and an encounter with an older woman is good, not bad. It also tells boys to “man up” and not whine about being hurt.
Then we ask them whether being manipulated into having a sexual encounter with an adult authority figure hurt them, and of course they say, no. Which we then point to as evidence that sexual assault of teenage boys isn’t harmful.
Umm, no. We coached boys into that answer. That’s not evidence that sexual assault of boys isn’t harmful. In fact, there is plenty of evidence that it is, indeed, very harmful.