The photos and the hashtag #MeAt14 sparked conversations on social media over the weekend about the age of consent, following the sexual misconduct allegations against Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore. He’s accused of having sexual contact with a 14-year-old when he was 32 years old. The Washington Post first reported the accusations on Thursday after interviews with more than 30 people.
#MeAt14 aimed to raise awareness about why the age of consent is important — because at 14, girls and boys are still growing up, dealing with trauma, with evolving sexuality and the stresses of adolescence.
Some women pointed out that although the hashtag focused on painting the picture of innocence that exists at age 14, older people should know better regardless of how someone is dressed or acting.
Many stories described lives already affected by abuse by age 14.
The hashtag was used to talk about the fact that at the age of 14, some people might still not have a clear picture of what’s right or wrong.
It’s only as adults that many people realize how young they really were then. Some also noted that teens receiving sexual attention from adults at that age can have lifelong effects.
Some adaptations of the hashtag took the other route — highlighting innocence but with the implication that 14-year-olds should know not to date people in their 30s.
Moore has denied the accusations and threatened to sue The Washington Post for the report.