The Terrible Double Standard the Media Uses for Rapists

June 3rd 2016

Media outlets consistently talk about how "hot" Texas teacher Alexandria Vera looks, and then get to the part where she allegedly became pregnant by sexually abusing her 13-year-old student. However the media covers sex crime cases with male suspects and female children much differently.

Alexandria Vera, 24, had sex with a 13-year-old boy almost daily for nine months, according to local Houston station KHOU.

Alexandria VeraFacebook/Alexandria Vera - facebook.com

The boy's family is under investigation for allegedly supporting their "relationship," according to WUSA9. Vera was charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child and turned herself in on Wednesday.

Unlike the media coverage of alleged male child rapists, much of the language surrounding Vera centers on her appearance. Also outlets often use the words "had sex," "relationship," or "affair" instead of rape, assault, or sexual abuse.

Cops Say 13-Year-Old Boy Traumatized From Endless Sex With Hot TeacherThe Daily Wire - dailywire.com

Alexandria Vera storyThe Washington Post - washingtonpost.com

Alexandria Vera storyInquisitr - inquisitr.com

Alexandria Vera storyNewsFix - cw39.com

Alexandria Vera storyIndependent - co.uk

Other women who have been charged with sex crimes with underage boys are referenced in similar ways to Vera.

High school athletic trainer Hope Jacoby was convicted of having sex with a 16-year-old student in 2009, according to OC Weekly.

OC Judge Goes Easy On Female Trainer Who Had Sex With StudentOC Weekly - ocweekly.com

Elyse Cromwell, a 27-year-old English teacher in New Jersey was sentenced to five years in prison for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy, according to The Jersey Journal. Coverage of the story references her "sexual relationship" with the student and does not refer to her as a rapist or child molester.

N.J. teacher sentenced to 5 years for having sex with teen studentThe Jersey Journal - nj.com

While the media coverage of Vera's alleged "relationship" with a 13-year-old boy focuses on her "racy" appearance, the coverage of males charged with sex crimes is focused on the crime and the victim.

News broke this week that an Idaho father, Keith Strawn, took his 14-year-old daughter to marry her 24-year-old rapist Aaron Seaton who got her pregnant, according to the New York Daily News. Seaton was sentenced in April to 15 years in prison for felony rape, according to ABC News. The father will also spend four months in jail for his role in the marriage.

Similar to the alleged details of Vera's case in Texas, the victim and Seaton reportedly told family members that they were in love and wanted to be married. Seaton is also the same age as Vera, and Seaton's female victim is only a year older than Vera's alleged male victim.

Media coverage of this Idaho case is different from Vera's arrest. Seaton is generally referenced as a rapist where Vera and other women are not. There is also no mention of his appearance.

Dad admits he took pregnant 14-year-old daughter to marry her 24-year-old rapistWGNO - wgno.com

Father Who Had Daughter Marry Her Rapist Sentenced to JailABC News - go.com

Father who had daughter marry her rapist sentenced to jailYahoo News - yahoo.com

In other cases of alleged statutory rape with male suspects, media coverage centers around the word "rape" and rarely uses phrases like "sexual relationship."

A 20-year-old man in Pennsylvania was charged with statutory rape this month for having sex with a 14-year-old girl. The local paper the Standard Speaker referred to the arrest as a rape and not a relationship.

Man charged with statutory rape of girlStandard Speaker - standardspeaker.com

A 31-year-old former police officer in Tennessee was charged in May with statutory rape for allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old girl. The story by the Knoxville News Sentinel called it rape.

Former Oak Ridge cop arrested, charged with statutory rape of 16-year-old girlKnoxville News Sentinel - knoxnews.com

The problem with this stark difference in media coverage could be linked to cultural ideas about masculinity. Some people on Twitter implied that a young boy should be grateful for sexual attention from an older woman.

Facebook had more of the same.

About 1 in 6 men have been sexually abused as a child either by forcible sex, threats, or being exploited by an adult sexual partner, according to 1in6.org, a support group for men who have experienced sexual abuse. Men who have been sexually abused or exploited as a child have a greater risk of alcohol and drug abuse, suicidal thoughts, and problems with intimate relationships.

RELATED: If a Friend Is Sexually Assaulted, Here's What You Can Do

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