Well yeah. But especially teen ones.

The psych article about just say no talks about that. You don’t develop the part of your brain that lets you abstractly associate consequences at all till like 16, and it’s not “done” till your 20s. So even if a 14 year old can intellectually learn “I might get raped” from an experience like this can’t really emotionally “feel” it. They’re literally not capable. It’s why teens “think they’re immortal.”

However, unlike younger children they are capable of reasoning outside of parental upbringing. So they don’t fear bogeymen.

A 6 year old doesn’t do stuff because mommy says “someone will hurt you” because of blind trust. By 14 you don’t have that trust because you have enough empirical evidence to know that sometimes mommy is wrong. Even if a friend get raped or killed by an Internet stranger, a teen doesn’t really make the leap that “oh my god, that happened to Cindy, it could happen to me” the way a 20-something does.

What teens can do is associate direct trauma with fear. So if something bad happens, they’ll be more careful. Unfortunately, that means that if they’re actually raped, they’ll be really hesitant in the future. But in a situation like this, since they can’t abstract “mom and dad tricked me” to “it could have been a real rapist” instead they learn that “mom and dad are evil assholes who try to scare me, so next time I sneak out, I better be more careful so they don’t catch me.” Hence the scared straight kids being 30% more likely to go into crime than those who never went through it.

That’s why I disputed Mary’s claim that the girls probably learned their lesson. In actuality, the girls likely learned totally the wrong lesson.

Then there’s the credibility issue with Mr. DudeBro that I addressed in the rest of the post.