#MeAt14 campaign highlights an important message about consent
Since apparently believing women about sexual abuse that happened when they were young is just too much (and it’s easier for politicians to give a “safe” response that effectively protects abusers), Twitter users decided to clear things up with a powerful hashtag: #MeAt14.
Women shared photos of themselves at 14 in order to show that at that age, a person is still a child — and therefore incapable of giving sexual consent to a 32-year-old man … like Senate candidate Roy Moore, as allegations against the Alabama judge suggest.
Attorney Catherine Lawson started the hashtag campaign to “show what a 14 year old looks like,” “affirm they’re not capable of giving consent,” and “remind people *kids* deserve protection,” according to a tweet she posted this weekend.
The campaign comes as a response to the Washington Post’s report last week of a non-consensual sexual encounter between then 32-year-old Moore and then 14-year-old Leigh Corfman. Moore, now 70, also allegedly pursued three other teenagers, then aged 16, 17, and 18. Following the report, the initial reaction of many Republicans and Evangelical Christian leadership — Moore identifies as a staunch conservative Christian — ranged from denial to batshit justification. After backlash, some politicians changed course and fully denounced Moore.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who originally called on Moore to step aside “if these allegations are true” on Thursday, said on Monday, “I believe the women.” A chorus of Republicans echoed the Kentucky senator’s “if” phrase to imply the victims could be lying. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, also said Monday that Moore should withdraw. The tide has turned for Moore.
I have now read Mr. Moore’s statement and listened to his radio interview in which he denies the charges. I did not find his denials to be convincing and believe that he should withdraw from the Senate race in Alabama.
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) November 13, 2017
Moore denies Corfman’s allegations, and in an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, when asked if he dated teen girls when he was 32, he said he didn’t remember. He later added, “I don’t remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother.” A former coworker at the Etowah County District Attorney’s Office has said Moore dating high school girls was an open secret among colleagues. In Alabama, the legal age of consent is 16.
After Moore wasn’t immediately rejected by his party, Lawson, a North Carolina-based lawyer, decided to show what it means to be 14 in regards to dating, relationships, sex, and social decisions.
Celebrities have joined in on the social media movement, including actor Alyssa Milano who pushed forward the #MeToo movement, an online effort to call out sexual harassment and assault, and The Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead.
Once the hashtag gained momentum people were posting 14-year-old pictures of themselves and sharing what they were like at that age.
Standing outside Ruby Tuesday before walking to the mall to hang out in the food court. That’s a wild night for a group of adolescents. Talking to a seventeen year old would have been scandalous at this age. Talking to a 32 year old wasn’t even an option. #MeAt14 pic.twitter.com/hEiqJPzceu
— Ashley Goebel (@AshleyGoebel6) November 11, 2017
Moore can sue the Washington Post and try to bring down the women who came forward, but it doesn’t change that 14, as demonstrated by so many people online, is just too young to give consent.