A frying pan for a cradle-snatcher

Did you feel uneasy when you saw 33-year old Tracey Whalin in chains, awaiting a possible sentence of 20 years for having sex with her son's 14-year-old friend, Sean Kinsella? I think a woman like that ought to be told that she's foolish for not being discreet and have her knuckles rapped for being so extremely naughty. But criminalised? No.

It's long been a tradition for young boys to get their first sexual experiences from an older woman. Sean cannot and is not the first boy to get his first sexual experience from the mother of a schoolfriend. Until recently, some fathers of boys who were sexually mature would say: "Now's the time to make you a man, my boy," and haul him off to some middle-aged prostitute to discover the facts of life. Indeed even John Major got off with a mature lady from across the road when he was a young man. But no one ever condemned her.

In the film The Graduate, a voice was never raised about the propriety of Dustin Hoffman getting laid by Mrs Robinson. Fourteen-year-old boys often have sex with their contemporaries and, though it's disapproved of, such cases rarely get to court, despite the fact that both parties are minors. Latest statistics show that over a quarter of men have their first sexual experience before the age of 16.

Mrs Whalin's greatest sin was in taking the boy away from his family - a move which he initiated, according to her. But, although it may be right for a man of 50 to be charged with having sex with a girl of nine, should the same laws be applied to an older woman taking advantage of a 14-year-old boy. Girls are more vulnerable; they can get pregnant, and their pregnancy may well ruin their lives. But whether a boy's exploits - which are by their nature active rather than passive - with an older woman would ruin his life is another thing. Not so long ago we would have tittered at such an escapade. Good for him to have sex so young, he must be a bit of a stud; good for her to have got her hands on a lusty kid, lucky woman.

In his song "Maggie May", Rod Stewart sang of just such a situation. "Wake up Maggie ... It's late September and I really should be back at school/I know I keep you amused/But I feel I'm being used." But it doesn't sound, from his reaction, that Sean felt like that at all. He just hated the fuss it all caused.

Had my 14-year-old son been captivated by an older woman, I would have hoped it was just a phase, which it would have been. If it had gone on for longer than a year, I might have gone around to her house and sorted it all out with a few yells, threats and a frying pan. Only as a last resort would I have involved the police, and I don't think it would have come to that.

The whole affair has been blown out of proportion, and the result is that most of us feel sympathy with poor Mrs Whalin, when what she really deserves is a very loud "Tsk! Tsk!"

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

    Recruitment Genius: Part-time Editor

    £8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...

    Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Executive

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exceptional opportunity has arisen for a pa...

    Recruitment Genius: Kitchen and Bathroom Installers

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of designer kitch...

    Day In a Page

    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
    Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

    The dark side of Mexico

    A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

    Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border