• Tue, Dec 3 - 5:56 pm ET

Paul Walker Was Wrong To Date A 16-Year Old…And I Know That From Experience

But I’m not sixteen anymore (thank god), so I’m able to look back on my situation with a lot of clarity I wish I’d had at the time, or that I was able to will into my teenage brain in retrospect. An adult is never interested in a child because the child is special, no matter how desperately that child wants to believe it; they’re interested because they, as the adult, are special. Special in that they aren’t able to muster an interest in people their own age. Special in that they’re aroused by innocence or naivety. Special in that they flout the law to engage in the kind of high-risk behavior they look for in their victims. Special in that they want something from someone who doesn’t know any better than to give it away. Special in that they don’t mind taking it.

I don’t care if Jasmine was in love with Paul or how long they were together, or any of that, because he took something from her by beginning a relationship while she was underage. At sixteen, you are legally still defined as a child, and at thirty-three, you are legally defined as an adult. I don’t care how mature you are for your age, or what the goddamn age of consent law is in your state (eighteen in California, as I’ve been informed), or how many times your parents have signed off on it and why — there is an inequality of experience and literal brain function between a child and an adult that makes a relationship unacceptable.

To this day, I’m still not comfortable with ‘sexual predator’ as a label for the man I was involved with, but by definition, that’s what he was, and that’s what any man is who pursues a relationship with a minor. I felt at the time of my own experience that I was in control of both myself and the situation and that I had enough information and wisdom to proceed, but that was incorrect. The things I thought and felt at the time caused me to take an extremely active role in my own mistakes, and while I can take responsibility for my own choices, I won’t take responsibility for his.

If he approached me now, I’d be able to write him off as what he was — an unemployed dude living at home while he struggled to get through his sixth year of community college, borrowing his friend’s condo to have sex with a high schooler in the middle of the day in between offering her bong rips and glasses of cheap wine and who would go on to have a physical relationship with her off-and-on for almost two years. (Still my longest ‘relationship’, which I’m sure would say something if I cared to read into it.) But I didn’t have that perspective on him at the time, or any perspective, because nobody does. Nobody can be objective about what’s happening while it’s still happening, least of all teenagers.

I was a member of a demographic that’s notoriously shaky on the decision-making front, and he took advantage of that. Preyed on it, even. Prey — as in predator, and what happened between us was statutory rape as defined by in the law in my state. I never pursued it because I hold myself accountable for my actions and because I was encouraged by multiple adults close to me not to get him in trouble, and even to lie about it when asked by a school counselor who heard rumors of what had happened. I acted that way because I had (and maybe still have) poor judgement, and because I was convinced that it wasn’t a big deal.

But I know now that it was a big deal, and just because something feels okay doesn’t mean it is. I should’ve known better, and that’s on me. He definitely did know better, and that’s on him. Shit happens. I made mistakes. I get it. But as unacceptable as that guy’s behavior was, he was nine whole years younger than Paul Walker was when he did the same thing. Just something to think about.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter if the younger party acts on it, or the older, or neither — it’s about knowing better. At sixteen, I thought I knew better than the people around me who were suspicious of this guy’s attention. At twenty-six, I know that I didn’t, and wish that I hadn’t gone for it anyway. But I also wish that the adult I was involved with had acted like one, because it would’ve rendered my bad decisions a whole lot less devastating.

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  • Martha Long

    Excellent article! Thank you! I thought exactly the same thing, but I never dreamed anyone would be honest enough to write it.

  • drmorb .

    Omg what a bunch of losers commenting in this thread. I’ll throw my hat in the ring: This author is obviously a liberal lefty who wants things both ways. She never got over her first love as she states she’s never had a relationship last as long as her first. It’s sour grapes all the way. And we have to take her retroactive dating age back all the way as she does, so if you’re one year older at some point you raped your partner ie when you were 18 she was 17 or some such nonsense. That severely curtails the dating pool, and not just to same year, must be same day, and same hour, and same minute, and same second or you raped that person. Just because the author is a total loser, doesn’t mean you have to be. If you find love, wherever it is, even with a machine, be glad you did:)

  • The Searcher

    Hey the Muslims marry 10 and 11 yr olds and you hardly even make a comment about it.

  • Kelly Bocast

    So, You want to talk about sh_t when some one dies. So, I get it now, you can only talk sh_t about people when it works for you.Otherwise, it fits into your plan. Figure it out before you try to speak.

  • Trinton Lewis

    Other than the law of our land (which makes this illegal), there is nothing wrong with spending your life with someone younger than you. To posit the theory that age determines ones ability to make decisions or live properly, rather than their intelligence, skills, and maturity, is quite ridiculous. Obviously her parents were not concerned and therefore it’s no one else’s business. If her parents took issue, than that is a different story. However, for you or anyone else to objectively assert that it is basely “wrong” is inaccurate and extremely disturbing.

    • VisualInsanity

      There is no law on who to date.

    • Jenni

      I’m sorry, but that’s factually incorrect.

    • VisualInsanity

      Post a link to the statute stating so then.

    • VisualInsanity

      Still waiting…

  • Lala

    Where were her parents, his parents and other so called friends that they co-signed on that relationship? Why was it hidden? No one wants to say it out loud but he was a predator and a child molester. How many of the people that knew about the relationship hid their daughters and talked about him in whispers behind his back, I wonder. So what that 16 is the so called legal age, he was not 16,17,18.19 or 20. he was a grown ass man.

  • TridentIII

    According to Duck Dynasty he should have married her!

  • Kate W

    Alexis Rhihanon – It is clear from this post that you are a sad and sick person. Regardless of your religious beliefs or lack of, you are seeking attention from unresolved baggage that you created when you were sixteen years old. It is not Paul Walker or anyone else’s problem here that you lacked parental guidance or ended up so lacking on confidence that you threw yourself at the first man that made you feel pretty. I am a woman and while I understand young girls are impressionable, I get tired to listening to women who blame men for their own mistakes. I was 16 once and while I was not as wise as I am today, I certainly had some sense of right or wrong. When a 16 year old chooses to date a man twice her age, she is responsible for he decision. So unless you were physically forced and abused by this man, take ownership of your choices, What is even sicker is that you are choosing to write a story about a man that you did not personally know, and a girl that you do not know and the are basing your calculations on an article in the media that could very easily have the numbers off. she may have been 17 or 18 but you don’t know that do you. Again, don’t try to resolve your baggage by dragging it into a name that you know will gain attention. stop riding on Paul Walkers dead back to gain popularity. If you feel guilty about your actions then shame on you and deal with it. Go see a shrink or make peace with the fact that you were a hoochie at 16.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Are we still using the word ‘hoochie’?

    • JohnHousecat

      I came back because of alerts, but: The REAL mark of immaturity is ignoring the entire content for the one amusing instance of word choice. Kind of like plugging your ears and telling the person examining you that their nose is funny. Completely irrelevant. But apparently that’s what you young people do when confronted with hard criticisms.

  • Baldwin Wallace

    Women are just so effing ugly. Less than 1 in 1,000 stays attractive past 25.

    It’s amazing how a girl can go from smoking hot at 16 to a fat, ugly, lazy, disgusting hog at 23.

    I feel so sorry for guys that get married to hot chicks who turn into hogs.

    You know those hogs are nagging them to death and if the poor guy divorces them, the hogs will fight like wild pig for half of his stuff, even though they contributed a big fat zero to the bottom line.

  • Baldwin Wallace

    Has anyone seen the author of this article?

    UGLY.

    I can’t believe that she’s ever had a date, let alone with a handsome older guy.

    https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQfJyoC2E-dB4vujQ0jYf7MBGQz5G2etW70yefjIvnlyYJqbp1i

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Thanks for reading!

  • John Mips

    16 isn’t too young. Just because a government was established that placed hard numbers on things that occur within its borders doesn’t mean the number is actually correct.

  • citizenUSA

    That’s how he got free school lunch. And he used her bus pass.

  • citizenUSA

    Maybe she wanted to bone-up on her anatomy knowledge.

  • Nahomy

    Well we’re not all the same! He liked what he like and you like what you like. And I was in a very similar situation too so, stop crying about it and judging other people just because you can’t get over it. Seriously, stop being so nosey and mind your own business. It was his life. He’s gone for Christ’s sake, let him rest IN PEACE.

  • Stephen Andreala

    After reading about what a lower you were at 16, I feel bad for you and your obsession with Walker and this curry. I’m not a fan of his but I’ve got no problem with what he did. You probably need some type of therapy however. Good luck chicky.

    • Stephen Andreala

      Loser, oops

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Thanks!!!!!!

  • Elizabeth Wordsly

    good read!
    anyone upset by this ..has serious issues. More importantly where were the parents in this? Let me guess they were probably thrilled because they thought it meant that it would lead them to riches somehow. I know paul had business in places like the Philippines, this now makes me question “what is his limit?” and “what does he consider young?”….I know he died but it doesn’t make his behavior any less disgusting

    and again anyone commenting in favor of his relationships with little girls has serious issues themselves ..smh

    • VisualInsanity

      Issues? The age of consent is 16 in most states and countries.

  • Lesley

    Thank you, Alexis. I had a similar experience at 16, with a teacher who was 32. Later on I figured out it was wrong of him, but also didn’t think of him as a sexual predator. He continued his career as a teacher. I googled him recently and learned that he committed suicide a few years ago amid “allegations that he was being investigated by the Los Angeles County
    Sheriff’s Department for charges related to abuse of a minor.” I still feel sick about it.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Oh wow. Thank you for sharing your story, Lesley. That’s really intense, and I’m sorry it happened to you.

    • VisualInsanity

      I have question: Do you really deep down view your experience as negative or is it peer pressure? I mean you don’t view your ex as a predator, yet think it was wrong?

  • LIL

    California

    In California, there is a crime of “Unlawful sexual intercourse”, which is an act of sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 18 who is not the spouse of the person. (CA Penal Code § 265.1 (a))

    The punishment is varied, depending on the ages of the perpetrator and the victim:

    Any person who commits the crime with a minor not more than 3 years younger or older than the perpetrator is guilty of a misdemeanor. (CA Penal Code § 265.1 (b))

    Any person who commits the crime with a minor who is more than 3 years younger than the perpetrator is guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor conviction is punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year. A felony conviction is punished by imprisonment in a county jail for 16 months, or two or three years, or in the state prison, depending on the person’s criminal history. (CA Penal Code § 265.1 (c))

    Any person 21 years of age or older who commits the crime with a minor under 16 years of age is guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor conviction is punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year. A felony conviction is punished by imprisonment in a county jail for two, three or four years, or in the state prison, depending on the person’s criminal history. (CA Penal Code § 265.1 (d))http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ages_of_consent_in_North_America#California