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Recasting Consent: Agency and Victimization in Adult-Teen Relationships (From New Versions of Victims: Feminists Struggle With the Concept, P 82-107, 1999, Sharon Lamb, ed. -- See NCJ-182872)

NCJ Number
Lynn M. Phillips
Date Published
26 pages
This chapter considers power dynamics, agency, victimization and potential outcomes of adult-teen relationships.
A renewed public focus on statutory rape affords feminists an opportunity to raise consciousness about adolescent girls’ needs, as well as the complexities of consent and coercion. Current reactionary legal strategies and oversimplified portrayals of young women as “prey” suggest the need for continued feminist efforts to illuminate the perspectives of teen women while redirecting attention to the often problematic contexts within which they make their sexual decisions. Understanding power in hetero-relationships in general, and adult-teen relationships in particular, can be furthered by exploring the nuanced and dialectical nature of consent and coercion in young women’s experiences. While individualistic, punitive, after-the-fact approaches to adult-teen relationships may temporarily ease the anxieties of adults who wish to advocate for girls, true advocacy must involve broader efforts to provide them the resources they need and the justice they deserve, both within and outside their relationships. Notes, references