This is based on another local news story.
A mentally-retarded woman was just sentenced to 80 years in prison for killing her boyfriend's 3-year-old son. (Story.) I'm not going to go into the details, as they are pretty horrific and not precisely germane to what I'm going to say.
Before I get into my rant, I want to make it very clear: I'm not feeling any sympathy for this woman, nor do I think there's any mitigating what she did. It was heinous, disgusting (even for child murder), and I only wish it was possible to give her the death penalty. But nowhere have I seen addressed a secondary but still important issue. Not in the newspaper (even letters-to-the-editor), nor on WOAI's "local" show. Here's the deal, the very first thing I said to my mother after reading the first article:
What the hell is wrong with a man that he wants a mentally retarded woman as a partner?
For all that she was apparently high functioning (she held a job), she was still not quite right, to be politically incorrect about it. Her mother warned her boyfriend against her, telling him that she wasn't really mature enough emotionally for such a relationship, and definitely shouldn't be taking care of the man's child.
We have laws to protect those deemed unable to give informed consent. That's why a 25-year-old can't legally screw a 15-year-old, even though from a biological standpoint such a liasion makes perfect sense. Our society frowns upon, say, a university professor having an affair with one of his students, because it is considered that his influence over her (hers over him) is such that actual consent is questionable.
I think that most reasoning men probably will agree with me, that a woman with the mental and emotional capacity of a child should be essentially regarded as one, sexual maturity aside.
But there's always someone willing to take advantage.
This hits home for me, as one of my cousins is married to a woman with diminished mental capacity. (She's the only grownup I've ever met who still has a legal guardian.) I have always questioned this particular person's motivations, to be honest. It's not a balanced relationship; it cannot be. As I know the woman, I know that she is very high functioning, and chances are if you didn't know her well you wouldn't realize to begin with that she's not "normal". Heck, I've got another cousin (I've got one for every season) who, though there's nothing on paper, is fairly obviously slightly retarded, and yet there's never been a shortage of men ready to take advantage of her. (She's been sexually abused as an adult, something which may be a little hard to comprehend.)
I don't get it. I just don't. I understand that there is love and that love is irrational, but in many of these relationships it seems to me that it is, like with pedophilia or rape, much less about love than about power. Because a dumb woman (and I don't mean that in a mean way, really, just a factual one) is easier to control.
We rightly worry about men who feel a need to control their wives when said wives have full mental capacity. Seems to me we need to be asking questions when they do it because the woman actually has to be led in order to do anything.