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#MeAt14 Reminds Internet 14-Year-Olds Are Innocent, Immature, Unable To Consent

Protesters gather outside as Roy Moore, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, appears at a mid-Alabama Republican Club's Veterans Day event in Vestavia Hills, Ala., on Saturday.

Roy Moore, the embattled GOP candidate for an Alabama Senate seat, continued Saturday morning to deny allegations of sexual misconduct with teenagers, including an episode with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32.

"They are completely false and untrue about something that happened nearly 40 years ago," Moore said of the accusations as he spoke to reporters at a Veterans Day event in Alabama. He called the claims "very hurtful to me personally."

At first on Friday, in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, he seemed to leave open the possibility that he had dated other teens while he was in his 30s, only to later in the day say he could not recall ever doing such a thing.

Yet as Moore has fought back against his accusers, so too has a movement of Twitter users refused to accept his denials. They have begun posting pictures of themselves at 14 years of age, to ask the rhetorical question: Should this child be romantically involved with a 32-year-old man?

Meet the #MeAt14 hashtag.

The more humorous variations on the hashtag aim to remind viewers just how immature and incompetent the average 14-year-old is, surely unable to make decisions surrounding sexual contact with a man in his 30s.

Other users, in more poignant fashion, showcase the innocence of their 14-year-old selves.

Others told of their own sexual harassment at age 14, arguing that the accusations of older man sexualizing young teenagers were not limited to just those leveled against Moore.

On Saturday, renowned long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad, who wrote earlier this week in the New York Times about her response to being assaulted as a 14-year-old by her coach, told NPR's Michel Martin, host of All Things Considered, that she felt encouraged by the national dialogue on sexual misconduct.

"I am so heartened by these past few weeks of the education of the public," she said.

Nyad said she sees this moment as part of a huge and rapid societal shift and a sudden effort to "archive" a litany of sexual misconduct previously kept silent.

"I want to be one of the leaders of the voices who collect the archiving," she said. "And next I want to be one of the leaders as to what the heck we're going to do about this to change this in our culture."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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