As many of you know, we here at CAGE have been fighting for our loved ones by speaking out about the insidious scheme created by law enforcement (LE) in response to a perverse federal incentive. With the rise of QAnon, fake news, and prevailing fear-mongering about the fictitious ‘stranger danger’, the salacious lies told, to keep the racket prosperous, have been quickly embraced.
Jace and I have recently had a number of conversations about inclusivity, sexual identity, and the extreme prominence of these ideologies. He believes people go too far to push LGBTQ+ and sexual alternatives to the simple man/woman dichotomy. He is not opposed to any person’s sexuality, he just doesn’t see what the fuss is all about. What our younger generation doesn’t understand is history. Or should I say they know it, but haven’t lived it. He doesn’t understand not being in an environment of acceptance. Current generations (X,Y, and Z) are much different than we were. They were raised online, privy to a diversity previous generations have never known, in an era where sexuality is open, where in certain places it is chic to be LGBTQ+. The previous generations of ‘hiding in the closet’, conversion therapy, ostracism – those mostly still exist in the minds of the elders, and small towns where not having been out of the county is considered something to brag about.
To that point, as it is older generations who typically lead decisions on legislature and policing initiatives, young people are easy prey to the proactive sting ruse on adult sites. I can’t say how many times I have heard someone say “I agree there was inducement but did you read the texts? He’s guilty.” I wrote an email to the WA state SOPB committee members trying to explain – I hope I managed to plant even one person’s mind with an alternative idea of what many, if not most men who respond on adult sites are thinking.
I’m attaching it for you all to read. It’s personal, so a little embarrassing 🙂 But then so is my fight to stop these stings!
Dear members of the Alternative Sentencing Subcommittee, 8/3/22
In our last meeting we were presented with an opinion that anyone who willingly participates, in a conversation concerning sex with a minor, is ultimately, and explicitely, complicit. I was not given the opportunity to respond, even though I requested it at that time. I personally find that position to be an obvious bias, and I ask that you allow me the minute or so it would take you to read this letter, to state my rebuttal.
I’m truly glad that this group recognizes that proactive stings very often use unethical, and in fact illegal tactics, such as inducement, confusion, and coercion, to entrap unsuspecting men.
Legally, after it’s been shown that the target has no predisposition toward the crime, and that the crime was created in the minds of law enforcement, eagerness to fulfill the crime is not supposed to be a deciding factor of guilt. Unfortunately all too often juries are swayed by the carefully crafted, police led conversation, and the abhorrence of the implied culminating action itself – specifically the thought of a physically harmed actual child.
In reality these men are presented with what is most often assumed to be a consenting adult, who wishes to re-live or fantasize about, being a minor in a sexual experience. Fueling a potential partner’s fantasy cannot create certainty that the fantasy itself is shared by these men. That logic implies no one would ever chose to entertain, or encourage another, to fantasize about what turns the other on sexually, if they themselves found it distastful. Most people recognize sexual desire does not reside in logic or truth. Take the series ’50 Shades of Grey’ for example. A blockbuster by any measure. Should one believe that everyone who read the book, or saw the movie, secretly desires an actual dominant/submissive scenario? Or that if given the chance they would all be willing participants?
In complete honesty I have a large stack of erotica next to my bed. My ex and I would fabricate and verbalize erotica weekly, as a normal part of our healthy sex life. The dirtier the better, taboo is welcome. Are we too ‘deviants’?
Making that leap, that the ability to participate with a partners verbal fantasy, automatically indicates ones own proclivity to that desire, reminds me of other historical fallacies concerning sex. Such as believing that a woman wasn’t raped if they experienced an orgasm, or became pregnant. At one time these, and many other obscure ideas, were accepted as ‘science’. Confirmation bias is a powerful, human reaction to an emotionally charged topic.
The truth is, these men show up often in spite of their intended partners fantasies, not because of them. To hold one’s desire to connect with a consenting adult against them is illogical. To point to such a conversation as proof that the target is ‘behaviorally deviant’ is also illogical.
I hope you will contemplate that there are alternative reasons why men show up to engage in consenting adult sexual behavior, even when the fantasy depicted is not their own. In my research I have found 10 reasons why men travel, after being told they are communicating with a minor, and I would be happy to discuss those scenarios with anyone who wishes. Thank you for your time and consideration. I truly appreciate all of your efforts.
Kathleen Hambrick (Co-Founder of CAGE)