Monday, 20 March 2017

Edinburgh's Precocious Children

Short lapse from Lenten discipline for this sad tale of Edinburgh life.

*Warning: Statutory rape discussion ahead.*

I first saw this story in a Scottish newspaper two days ago and was inspired by the shocking headline to read further. What I read made me feel extremely sorry for the Polish boy who--as I remarked to B.A.--was nevertheless in a state of mortal sin. Hopefully his parents have dragged him over the coals and sent him to confession.

It is interesting hat the judge did not mention "cultural issues", as is occasionally done. The sexual dissolution has made inroads in Poland, but I would be surprised to hear that parents there allow their twelve year old daughters to traipse about at night, talk to boys at taxi stands, and feel free enough to go with strangers to parties. Thus, I can well understand why, when these Edinburgh 12 and 13 year olds told a 19 year old Polish stranger that they were 16 and 17, he believed them.

The observations I can bring to the discussion is that I see any number of (I think--it's hard to tell) pre-teen girls on the Rough Bus wearing skin-tight leggings over their round bottoms and occasionally I shudder at a child's thick make-up. The make-up bothers me much more than their cheerful call-outs to strangers since this is Scotland and chatting happily with strangers is a time-honoured Scottish custom. However, it is a total contrast to life in Poland, where people do not smile at strangers, let alone strike up friendly conversations with them on the bus. In my experience, if an adult woman like me looks at a male stranger, he will know at once and stare back, thinking goodness knows what.

Hopefully this very sad story is at very least a warning to young men who come to Scotland that sometimes girls who act and look like and claim to be older girls are actually only 10 or 12. A commentator asked if boys should be expected to ask for ID, and my answer is "Yes."  Other commentators have echoed my grim thoughts about the girl's parents, but not only parents are to blame for the behaviour of twelve year olds. Pop culture has been selling sex to children for decades now, and local children eat up pop culture like ice-cream. When B.A. shushed a pair of noisy girls who were harassing two quiet girls on the Rough Bus, they began to sing some pop song they had down word-perfect.

I am not sure what this says about me, but the part of the story that had me tight-lipped with anger was the twelve-year-old's worrying to others that she might be pregnant. It was not enough that she had had a one night stand with a "fit" guy she met in a taxi queue---no, she had to have some DRA-MA. This, I tell myself, is unfair. She is, after all, only twelve. And presumably pregnancy worries are a natural and unpleasant part of pre-teen sex lives.

On the other hand, considering that her lust (but for what?) and lies led to a young man's name and photo being splashed across Britain's national newspapers, I do wonder how much slack we should cut a girl just because she's twelve. He's named; she's not. She lied. He didn't. She may have known what they were doing was against the law in Scotland. He didn't knowingly consent to having sex with a girl her age. (When he found out she was only 12, he burst into tears.) Nevertheless, headlines call him a rapist. She isn't called anything. So far any public anger I've seen is directed towards her (unnamed) parents.*

*Update: Well, Poles have something to say, (Roughly) e.g. " To zepsuta moralnie dziewczyna jest winna." (Roughly, "It [her behaviour] is morally wrong; the girl is guilty.") They are also fighting among each other about Queen Jadwiga and telling lurid stories about the behaviour of modern day teenage Polish girls. "World has gone to dogs," says one grumpy chap.


  1. I didn't read the article, as the only difference between this one and so many others is that the poor guy seems to have been truly naive and not "out for something." But your column reminded me of a time when one of our high school girls texted 6 of her very best friends that she'd seen a handsome 25 year old coach on our staff out at a public function, and that they'd gotten drunk and slept together. Naturally, all 6 girls forwarded the text to their very best friends, and the whole school had the story within minutes. The coach was immediately interrogated, and even though he had an alibi, he left the interrogation and went to throw up on the football field. The girl ultimately confessed that she'd fabricated the whole thing. But our principal didn't expel her, which I thought would have been too good for her. She had slandered him and done him tremendous harm, and because she was a minor, she could get away with it. We've all been young and exercised poor judgement, but some things should still be punishable, else how do we learn?

    1. Oh my goodness. The poor coach. The poor 25 year old coach! I am not sure what kind of punishment would fit her crime, although expulsion would certainly send her and everyone else a message.

      As for the Edinburgh chap, unless the twelve-year-old jumped him in the taxi (perfectly possible), it looks as if he WERE out for something, only not with a twelve year old!