children's civil rights
Hamilton02 at aol.com
Hamilton02 at aol.com
Wed Apr 23 13:28:13 PDT 2008
The categories that are being blurred here are not the difference between
civil rights and not. There is a repeated error in this thread. Sexual abuse
is not sex for children and is not the opposite of consensual sex -- it's an
expression of violence by adults against children who cannot defend
themselves. It's not a near-crime that could have been obviated if only the child
consented and/or enjoyed it; it's a serious crime.
As a descriptive matter, I think that "emerging civil rights" is a far
better descriptor of the increasingly better treatment of children under the law
of abuse than any other available category. We are in the midst of a
transition from property to personhood, and the farther children have been permitted
to evolve from property and laborers-at-will to being persons who have rights
against sexual and physical assault by adults, the more they have been able
to demand governments protect them.
Tinker may have been wrong in the sense that children's civil rights should
not include such a right. But all rights are matters of constitutional
line-drawing -- here the issue is whether the child's right to be free of violence
is to be balanced against the parents' right to control the child. This
bodily integrity right is a foundational right, surely prior to rights to food,
shelter, and other social welfare argued for by others.
In a message dated 4/23/2008 1:25:16 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
emaltz at camden.rutgers.edu writes:
Discussing the efforts to prevent the sexual
abuse of children as vindicating the "civil
rights" of children strikes me as fundamentally
misleading. We would not describe efforts to
protect people generally from physical harm as a
vindication of civil rights, and in principle the
protection of children is no different. Indeed,
to the extent that child sexual abuse is viewed
differently, it is because children are being
denied something which in adults some view as
more akin to a civil right--the right to engage
in consensual sexual activity. I am not arguing
that "consent" from children--however that term
is defined--should be deemed effective, but
simply noting that the right to be free from
abuse is of an entirely different genre.
Moreover, discussing the prevention of sexual
abuse with civil rights generally invites the
conflation of this issue with questions such as
those raised in Morse v. Frederick--a decision
whose only flaw was that it did not overrule the
pernicious doctrine of Tinker v. Des Moines.
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