Some days seem to crystallize some of our society’s more discouraging trends. In my mental health work on the front lines I see a great deal of what the chattering classes cluelessly opine about. Today, for some reason, I saw, one after the other, a series of young women with similar problems and, as I spent time with them, I found myself thinking sadly of the things they had in common. (Some details have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals described, but one feature they all have in common is that they are either illegal immigrants themselves, or the children of illegal immigrants.)
I spent a great deal of time today talking with a young woman who was asking for help with her nine year old son. He was out of control. Defiant and oppositional, even in elementary school, he refused to do his work or get up in the morning to get ready for school. He preferred to hang out outside with other kids, some of them older. Mom admitted that she had not paid much attention to him. She let him go outside because she couldn’t deal with him. She also couldn’t deal with his father. She was totally overwhelmed by her responsibilities.
The problem was that she was way too young to shoulder these responsibilities. Heavily pregnant with her fifth child, this 23 year old woman had three others under the age of five. Remarkably, she was still with the 33 year old former gang member who father the nine year old. The father, now toiling away at several jobs to support his ever growing brood, spend almost no time with them. The children were growing up fatherless, though there was a father, and virtually motherless, though there was a mother.
The relationship of the mother and father began with illegal sex between a young minor and a grown man. From the age of 14 and her pregnancy, she lived with him, playing house with a live child, as she grew up. Perhaps because he had been a man, not a teenage boy himself when he got involved with his child-girlfriend, the father did not abandon the mother. But, like so many men who choose children to dominate, he kept her subjugated and trapped under his patriarchal thumb.
Shortly after this meeting, I coincidentally met with a large group of teenage girls who wanted to learn about how to feel more empowered. None of them knew what a healthy relationship was, how to say “no” to unwanted advances,or even how to plan for a better tomorrow.
I looked around the room. Quite a few of the girls were pregnant. One I remembered well from my previous encounters with her. My heart sank to see her expanding belly. She was only 15, unbelievably immature, extraordinarily angry. She was the kind of girl who got into fights and picked on other kids. She was desperately wounded inside. Her dad had abandoned the family when she was small. The mother left her with other relatives and never bothered to call. She had not been nurtured or cared for, making her exactly the sort so needy for love that she would run after any show of affection. Sadly, “any affection” always ends up being sexual. A baby will love her, right? It will be someone, her damaged core dreams, she can keep.
The girl is perhaps borderline retarded, perhaps just never taught how to think by her miserable upbringing. Who knows who the father of her baby is. Will he last more than a few months in her life, if he is even still around? Surely he won’t stay. She is hard to love or even like, thanks to her rage.
Over and over I have found that the girls I meet who are the least emotionally ready and capable of being parents are always the ones who end up pregnant the youngest. What makes them a burden on society is also what makes them a draw to the sleazy guys — often, grown men — who see their vulnerability and sexual availability. And none of these girls, ever, think of adoption.
I then meet individually with another young teenager, sobbing because she has just miscarried. She has been sexually active since she was twelve when she was date-raped, though she does not realize then that, when he forced her to have sex, that was rape. She has an absent father and an emotionally absent mother and the guys that offer her affection in exchange for sex sex sort of compensate for the deep emotional wound she carries. She knows that she is not ready to be a mother, but the loss of the pregnancy that shouldn’t have been, and the loss of the 35 year old lover, who now sits in jail, makes her weep. She needs to grow up, to have a future. She needs a mother to nurture her, a father who takes the time to be a presence so she doesn’t have to find love in the arms of an adult sleazebag. The medical professionals who saw her gave her advice on safe sex and contraception. No adult, at home or in school, or in medical offices has ever told her that she could wait or even say no. They just figure she is having sex anyway.
I have found that the group of young girls is hungry for the permission to say “no.” Their attitude isn’t about how much they enjoy teenage sex. It is about how pressured they feel, how sex is the only way they can have a boyfriend, and how they are aware that women have lowered the standards for guys and that the guys themselves have been lowered.
These children learn in school how to have safe sex, but they are not taught about commitment, nor about emotional and social responsibility. The thinking that predominates in the schools is that teaching values is judgmental. The educators cannot comprehend that teaching these girls that all teenagers are sexually active is, in fact, also teaching a value. These girls are the victims. They want guys who respect them and they never meet them.
The girls admit they accept crumbs from guys because otherwise they won’t have boyfriends. There is no such thing as restraint or protective love, or even courting. Everything ends up in a sex act — oral, vaginal. “Dating” boils down to getting together and humping. The girl hopes this will lead to love and commitment or dreaming that the sex is a sign of love and commitment. The boy is king of the world, a rooster strutting among his hens.
The whole day saddens me. I am sad for our society for the burden all these people place on taxpayers. We are paying for the social crises that a generation has transported across our border without our consent. As a compassionate person I feel for their sorrows and deprivations and try to help as best I can, but as an American I cannot help but feel some resentment that this burden should be here at all.
I am certain that at least some of these innocent babies will become everyone’s problem. At least some will become the children in foster care, juvenile detention, and prison. At least some will receive free breakfasts and lunches in school, food stamps, public assistance, and time and attention from gang units in the police department, defacing our public buildings with graffiti and filling our streets with gang warfare. They will be high school dropouts or marginally skilled and marginally educated. At least some will sell or use drugs, or become parents themselves at young ages. The babies will be US citizens, but they will live on the fringes.
Throughout the day I observed the toll and burden of illegal immigration on this country, and I observed the sorrowful emotional toll of the utter collapse of courtship and sexual restraint on our youth. Certainly, their physical desires are not stronger than any generation of young people that preceded them. Rather, they are inundated with messages, by their celebrities, TV shows, music, internet culture and on and on, messages not of self-control and dignity, but of sexual hotness. They learn that if a guy waits two months for sex it is a really long time, because the expectation is that no waiting is necessary.
Sex is empty. It is loveless, though she may think she is in love. It is a tragic consequence of the sexual revolution that ended formal courtship and replaced it with the human equivalent of dogs humping. It lowered men and debased women, and the innocent little babies born to these needy, immature, sexually active, under-nurtured, lost young souls makes me truly sad. Everything is backwards. First sex. Then a relationship . . . maybe. Then maybe, after a few kids, marriage one day — if they are still together.
One thing I’m sure of, after pondering about the young women I saw today and the societal message they have — in order to civilize young men once again, our young women will have to believe that they deserve better, and to refuse to sleep with men who, aside from the minimal necessity of an occasional flattering word, treat the girls like a hole in the mattress, rather like a cherished person. The girls must be whole in order to insist that the men be whole as well.
[Bookworm here, adding one link that graphically illustrates the terrible economic consequences flowing from the social devastation Lulu describes.]