In an op-ed published at The Independent, Kathleen Walsh contends that the public is missing the "real point" of the recent bombshell news story surrounding an alleged confession letter written by a friend of GOP Congressman Matt Gaetz, admitting that the two paid for sex with a woman who was 17-years-old at the time.
According to Walsh, the crux of the story is not the exchange of money, but "a powerful man preying on very young women and girls — which is still devastatingly common."
"While all but one of the women Gaetz is accused of paying were technically adults, many were still teens, all at least a decade younger than him, often in college," Walsh writes. "The issue is not that Gaetz allegedly paid for sex. The issue is that he, allegedly, pursued teen girls who could not have the influence, financial independence, or life experience they would have needed to enter into these transactions on an equal footing. If these allegations prove to be true — if Gaetz was secretly exchanging not just cash, but often necessities like rent and tuition money, for sex with girls who were barely 18 (and in one case 17) — then that is predation, not a mutually beneficial arrangement."
"As others have noted, the very idea that an adult can "have sex" with a 17-year-old is flawed. The correct term for such an activity would be 'rape,' because a 17-year-old child is still a child. By definition, a child is incapable of engaging in an adult, consensual sexual relationship. And the idea that a child should be the one apologizing to the adults who raped her — the idea that she is somehow the one who abused her own position — is on its face absurd," she wrote.
"Taken together, the implication is that Gaetz erred in entering a seedy underground world populated by tempting young women of loose morals, including the minor child he claims lied about her age. In reality, if the accusations are correct, Gaetz created this seedy underground world himself, recruited its inhabitants with care, and relished in his own power," she concluded.
Read the full op-ed over at The Independent.