This week we’ve seen a very dark day in England’s judicial history, it’s a week that’s seen two young boys placed on the sex offenders register after being tried by a jury in Court 7 at the Old Bailey: the crime – attempted rape, having been cleared of actual rape only a few days earlier. But these are children: by all accounts none when questioned had any understanding of the mechanics of rape or sexual behaviour, they’re simply children, and it’s an extremely dangerous day when we start criminalising this country’s children for exhibiting natural inquisitive childish behaviour.
Sure, we must try children who transgress into violent or aggressive acts, but all children experiment, often with others – and if we apply our horrified tabloid sexualisation to these fundamentally innocent act we run the risk of turning children and teenagers into monsters because we apply adult laws, adult thought and adult morals onto those too young to understand any of these things.
The simple fact is that none of those involved, certainly not an 8 year old girl should have known what sex was in any way that was complex enough to make an allegation – We’ve over sexualised our children, over-exposed them to a media and a culture that thinks children can be adults, and that’s just got to stop. We can’t go back to some golden age, because there never was one – kids have always figured out what is what in some respect, but please – can’t we just do enough to give our children back their childhood?