What would you do to your 17 year old son?

If you found out he had attempted to rape a 15 year old girl?

Yes, I am referring to the Kavanaugh case.

But really. Lets say you are a parent of a 17 year old boy. You find out thru sources he did it, you confront him. He becomes angry at first but then breaks down sobbing that he did it and he is now really, really, sorry.

What are your options? I can only think of the following:

  1. Turn him into the police which will mean a trial and him possibly serving time plus being required to register as a sex offender.
  2. Talking things over with the girls parents and working out some sort of resolution where he agrees to apologize and never speak of this again.
  3. Nothing. Besides smacking the boy around and vowing to never letting him out of your sight again and hoping this goes away.
  4. Moving.
  5. Sending him away to go to say a boarding school or to live with another relative.

What do you all think?

Of those, the one that comes closest to acceptable is the first but I live in a place where being convicted of a crime isn’t a life sentence without parole.

The rest are different versions of “shove it under the rug and pretend nothing happened”. The only one which even acknowledges he did something completely unacceptable is the second one and he gets off with an “I’m sorry”, there is no attempt at preventing reincidence. Fuck that shit.

Part of my reaction would depend on what has she done. If she has already filed a complaint I’ll collaborate with the investigation. If not I’ll consult a family lawyer about the options available, but “shove it under the rug” isn’t an acceptable one. We’ve had way too many milennia of that.

What an awful predicament.

I’d like to believe I’d do 1, but I doubt I would in real life. When it comes to my own kids, I think I would do almost anything to protect them.

I’d probably attempt 2, and if that got nowhere, I’d maybe try to get him out of the country. If I even got a hint that 2 might not work, I’d probably try to get him out of the country. I know it’s not the right thing, but it’s hard to get past those parental instincts.

I’m really opposed to sex offender registries – they seem like additional post-sentence punishment. Plus, why single out sex offenders? I’d also like to know if a murderer or burglar moved into my neighborhood. The existence of these registries would help me (wrongly) justify to myself that I’m doing the right thing by getting him out of the situation by any means necessary.

WTF is 3? Why would I assault my own kid?

4 and 5 don’t do anything if she or the police are pursuing charges.

OP, are you going to share what you would do?

I would find a licensed therapist who works with sex offenders. With luck, they could help me to identify a residential treatment program that could help him.

In parallel I would contact the girl’s family and offer whatever resources I had to help get her therapy. I would also let her know what I’ve done about his problem, and that he is out of the city/state/whatever so that she can feel safe.

Along with all that I’d be contacting a good defense lawyer to try and make sure this stays a juvenile case so he isn’t listed for life. Unless the treatment program tells me he is diagnosed sociopathic, then yes, I’d want him listed and controlled to reduce the chances he hurts anyone else.

I don’t think I’m competent to answer such a question on my own. Is there a standard “expert opinion” (informed by psychology, etc.) of what one should do in a situation like this, that has the best chance of producing the best result for the boy, the girl, and society at large?

If it were precisely the Kavanaugh case. I would ground him, make him apologize and forbid him from going to those parties or hanging out with those friends again. I’d probably also talk to whomever owned the house about where they got the alcohol and work with other parents to prevent such things from occurring again.

I don’t know that jail for drunkenly feeling up a girl would be appropriate and I sure as heck wouldn’t trust our justice system to come up with something that was appropriate. God forbid that they try him as an adult and pretty much screw up his life forever. This is not to say that the behavior is excusable or not a horrible thing to do and I would certainly feel for the girl. Being put in that position is inexcusable and Kavanaugh did a terrible thing. We shouldn’t ignore that point. Nonetheless, the purpose of punishment in my mind should be to change the behavior, not enact some sort of retribution. Obviously, the behavior in Kavanaugh’s case did change and he became a productive member of society. I’m not sure that that would have been the case if he were tossed in prison for a couple of years and put on a sex offender registry. Of course, I’m also the guy that thinks that prison is never appropriate and that we should forgive crimes rather than punish them, so make of my opinion what you will.

I think this question is sort of irrelevant. Any 17 year old that would behave the way Kavanaugh did has obviously already been either ruined by his parents through coddling/enabling/spoiling, or has been utterly failed by them through emotional neglect. If the parents found out about the incident, they are definitely the types that will just try to pay the girl’s family to keep quiet.

What would I do if it was my son? I would ask myself WTF I did wrong in raising the kid. I would tell him he needs to admit that he was a scumbag to both the girl and her parents, he needs to go to Confession, and then let the chips fall where they may. If the girl had already pressed charges, then yeah he needs to turn himself in.

I would ground the child, and make him do some volunteer work at a facility for released sex offenders and listen to their tales.

If he did it again, I would turn him over to the police and forbid him from having any contact with me until he straightened out.

I know my answer is wrong, but honestly, that’s what I’d probably do. I happen to have a boy around that age and I don’t think he would ever behave that way, so this is a theoretical exercise for me.

However, it’s not as theoretical as it would be if I didn’t have kids at all. I’m just curious – for those suggesting they would turn him in, do you have kids?

A great demonstration of how the words we choose can minimize sexual assault.

She described an attempted rape.

He needs psychiatric care. I believe if he did it once he’s probably done it twice or more. I would try to get him in a program. LE may be all there is to save him from himself and the protect the girls in the community. Sad, but sometimes a parent has to do the tough love thing. For the safety of all.

I’d homeschool until he graduated from high school, then kick him out of my house at eighteen with a high school diploma and no support from me - suggesting he join the military. He’s already AT boarding school, and those places are not great for supervision. There is no way he’s going to college on my dime. And as someone who has a now twenty year old living at home - there is only so much control you get over an adult child.

Of a FIFTEEN year old girl.

What if she has already gone to the police and he’s a suspect for an attempted rape? Grounding and volunteer work may be irrelevant.

AKA A girl who is only TWO years younger than him.

I don’t have kids and can’t really comment much on the situation other than to say it’s not like this was a 40-year-old man who did this and it’s beyond wrong and creepy.

No, I’m not saying it’s right. What I am saying is that the uproar of the offense is much, much greater in our older, adult eyes than it is in the eyes of 17-year-old who is going after someone in his own age bracket.

Anyone remember this thread?

Date rape or attempted rape is a serious problem in high school and college. We need to teach this out of these boys. Starting yesterday. Mothers/Fathers of young men are where it starts. Society can only do so much. Until the attempting rapist succeeds in his nefarious plan, the girl reports it. And by some chance she is believed. Then LE gets involved, that is. You cannot fix a problem until it’s known.

I think I would in the heat of the moment frogmarch him over to her house and make him get on his knees and apologize. For starters. Then he changes schools. Cannot ever see that “friend” again. Cannot drink a drop of alcohol. Probably get him into a rehab program for alcoholism. Must go to teen AA meetings. Must go to therapy.

Would I really do #3? No. But I would definitely chew his butt out and scare the crap out of him about just how serious this crime is and I know some fathers who are big enough to actually do it.

I would probably do a combination of #2 (talk to the girls parents and offer any support I can), #3 (scare him about how serious the crime is), and finally #5 provided I had a place to send him where he could continue to go to school and get therapy about why it was wrong and how to control his behavior.
Hopefully though beforehand I hope I would have drilled into his head about why this is wrong plus watch him so he doesnt get himself into a bad situation. Ex. Never be alone with a girl.

This is a good article in the Atlantic about a woman who had a similar experience:

In her case the boy later came up to her with tears in his eyes and said he was truly sorry. She forgave him and that brought healing to both of them.