On September 25th, former congressman Anthony Weiner pleaded guilty to sending inappropriate texts and pictures to women, and specifically to a 15 year old minor. Yes, that’s correct; a 15 year old girl! It seems as if he did not realize the consequences of being a pedophile until he walked into the courtroom for his trial where he burst into tears. Unfortunately, this seems to happen a lot. Men will act inappropriately, send lewd messages to minors and feel invincible until they are charged for their crime. They lose their reputation, their wives, their clean criminal records and yet even then, they retain their privileges and self of entitlement.
“The prosecutors are skeptical that I have truly changed and I don’t blame them, I repeatedly acted in an obviously destructive way when I was caught” Weiner said. Yes, we are humans and make mistakes, but one must act upon fixing their mistakes and bettering themselves. You cannot keep repeating wrongful actions without looking at the consequences just because you hold a high position, have more money, are older, or are privileged in some way or another.
“The prosecutors are skeptical that I have truly changed and I don’t blame them,” he said. “I repeatedly acted in an obviously destructive way when I was caught.”
This destructive behavior can be seen in numerous instances when people in power, like former secret service officer Lee Robert Moore and former Baltimore Police Officer Timothy George, were caught sexting minors. Weiner has been sentenced to 21 months and despite admitting his wrongdoing, appealed to be moved to a jail in Pennsylvania or “or another lower security prison”. These people are now labeled as sex offenders and have upturned their lives but do not face grave consequences because they had enough money, power, and privileges. For comparison, Lee Carroll Brooker, a 75-year-old disabled veteran suffering from chronic pain, was given a life sentence for growing marijuana for his own medicinal use.
Why do people choose to manipulate their powers in this way? Why do we often hear about adults sexting and molesting minors? Well, sexting is a form of an addiction. Dr. Charles Samenow, a psychiatrist and professor at The George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences believes that addiction can result from emotional and psychological factors like unhealthy relationships, difficulty forming attachments, mood and anxiety disorders. He says that people that are addicted to sexting such as Weiner should serve as a model to treat people with chronic substance abuse disorders by requiring them to hold accountability and responsibility, but also by providing them support.
Those who are in higher positions of power are able to submit to their sexual fantasies without caring about the repercussions because they know they can use their privilege to get out of the fines or sentences. One such example is Brock Turner, who was released from prison in merely 3 months. It is important to make people like Weiner and Turner own up to their actions and serve a long time where they can reflect over their wrongdoings because if this pattern of sexting continues, it won’t be long before it becomes normalized in society and the victims will suffer without receiving any help.
Without major consequences, predators — especially those with power — will continue with their disturbing habits. We do not want to live in a world where teenagers receive disgusting texts and images from people double or even triple their age. It is up to us to make sure that pedophiles and sex offenders understand that there is no place for their repulsive actions and that no matter how much money or power they have, they need to face the consequences of their actions and receive the psychological help they need.