“ Discussion: Society „
The Age of consent is a law that fixes an age before which you are not legally able to consent to having sex. The AOC in the UK is 16 as it is also in the USA, Australia and Canada. For the purpose of this review I will only be referring to the UK as that is the debate question.
In the UK this AOC applies to both heterosexual and homosexual sex. If you have sex with someone under the AOC you can be prosecuted as it is against the law. This is in order to safeguard young people who it is felt are too young and immature to make this decision for themselves.
It would be lovely if it was that easy but we still have so many teenage pregnancies so somewhere along the line this law is failing. Many of these young girls are well below the AOC and indeed so are the partners and in this case it becomes a child protection situation. If both are under the AOC they might be charged with some offence in the Juvenile Justice System and chances are the youngsters might be declared "at risk" and put in a foster home. Sadly so many of these children having babies are already in care and confuse sex with love and only when the baby comes along do they realise they are on their own as the lad scarpers and it is not all as easy as it looks.
I do think we still need the AOC and it is a slight deterrent to predatory sex offenders and those who groom youngsters for sex. Yes we still have them but at least there is a law and they can be prosecuted so there is a small amount of protection for young people. We have so many confused and vulnerable young people who get into situations that they become trapped in and at least this law is there if they do find the courage to go to the police, they will then get some protection.
There is a little flexibility in the law so that if the boy is only sixteen there is unlikely to be a prosecution. If someone in a position of responsibility is having sex with an underage minor then that is considered even more serious and the law hits hard as it should.
I think 16 is quite low enough as children below this age have not even fully matured physically and most are certainly not mature enough to make adult decisions and bring up children of their own.
This time of youth and innocence is something that you never get back, there is the rest of life to have serious relationships, sex and children, young people should enjoy this time with few responsibilities as it will not come around a second time. What I find sad is that the youngsters experience this area before they actually mature enough emotionally to really understand about commitment and all that comes with having sex. They then don't have the opportunity to be youngsters, to concentrate on their education, take part in sports or just enjoy time with friends doing young people's things.
I find it quite horrifying that in some countries the AOC is as low as 12. This was the case in the UK centuries ago but as we have become more civilized and young people have more to learn in order to become responsible adults the age has been raised to suit the our times.
In the UK teachers as well as doctors and nurses are required by law to report any under-age sex and parents to the police. This is considered a serious offence and is dealt with as such. Because this is such a sensitive area sensible interpretation is taken by those making the legal decisions and as I said it is more serious if the older person is a lot older and in a position seen to be responsible such as a parent, uncle, teacher, club official or the like.
This situation of an adult taking advantage of a young person is quite different from mutual consenting youngsters. Any adult using a young person in this way should rightly be punished. I even find the idea of an adult and a 16 year old disturbing as many are not mature enough to know that they are being taken advantage of and I would be very any lowering this AOC 16 is quite low enough.
In my view statuary rape is a horrifying crime. There is not much else that is more of an abuse of another person than invading their body. Even if it is 'consensual' an adult much older should have the decency to allow the youngster to mature emotionally before engaging in any sexual activity.
In my opinion the AOC is very much a necessity and relevant in modern Britain. Things have moved on so much in society and this is surely a move in the right direction to have this AOC at an older age than it was in the Middle Ages. This is a sign of a society that is becoming more sophisticated and responsible for the younger generation in the same way as we don't toss our old people out to die when they become of no further use.
I trust that we as a society do not take a step backwards and reduce this AOC because we need our young people to have a fully rounded growing up. There is so much more that youngsters have to learn in order to become fully rounded members of our society as life is so much more complicated than it was in the past. Women are often expected to do more than just keep a clean house and raise babies one after the other. Life is more complicated and you are adult for much longer than you are able to enjoy being young.
Nor sure how to star this or what I am giving stars to - the law or the fact that we need one at all. I'll give it five for being a law we need.
On the surface, the relevance of the age of consent in modern Britain barely makes a ripple. Our social conscious gets dictated by our hormonal urges so in the gasps of passion; surprisingly, many do not breathlessly exclaim: "No, we must stop, I must abide with the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885". However, I view the meagre communal relevance of underage sex in modern Britain, highly relevant when it comes to human trafficking and protection - which was vehement in the nineteenth century. Not that it has disappeared today, but the law has effectively protected a high proportion of youngsters from twenty first century human trafficking. I applaud the Christian groups who'd avidly campaigned against the odious understanding that when you reach the age of twelve, you've become an adult and therefore subjected to human trafficking, because in the eyes of the authorities you're a willing adult; pre 1885. Post 1885, the age of consent was set at sixteen for heterosexual activity and it hasn't changed since. Yet, you're not able to vote, drink alcohol, until you're eighteen. You're responsible enough to have children, yet cannot legally care for yourself. Logically, the age of consent must be aligning to what the law claims as being the end of childhood and therefore the start of adulthood. In Malta, Florida and Wisconsin, the age of consent is eighteen; this'll coincide with the rest of our laws.
In a perfect world, I'm not in favour of reigning in our liberties; but we don't live in a perfect world nor are we likely to, in the near future. I do wonder if common-sense got lost in the sexual discrimination text when it came to the concept of lowering the age of homosexuality activity in "modern Britain" in 2000. This should've been quashed on the basis of child protection; it gives the green light for sodomy. In the last decade, male rape cases have increased, and prosecutions has dropped substantially, due to lowering the age of consent. Such occurrences have happened in prisons which have been grossly ignored - It is seismic in the US. (Young, naive computer hacker: Gary McKinnon was more worried about being raped in an US jail, than the actual sentence) - Not that it didn't go on beforehand, but at least the judicial system protected kidults until they "come of age". Dropping the age of consent for homosexuality gives the thumbs-up for sexual deviation and experimentation on an unimaginable scale, which would have been a criminal offence in 1999. Sexual discrimination isn't part of the package when it comes to vestal youth protection in a court of law - and this is where the AoC and sexual discrimination have blurred beyond recognition into our ethical consciousness - Yet they're different entities rolled under the same umbrella. Most of us have socially disregarded the AoC anyhow, and rightly so; naturally, it depends on the individual, culture and their circumstances - although, who in their right mind would honestly say in adulthood, during their own hormonally charged adolescence, they knew when the time was right? I certainly didn't. If a scantily dressed Next Catalogue Model jumped off the page, Kelly LeBrock style, like in the film 'Weird Science' - my age would be the last thing on my mind. Nevertheless, physically I was able - but not emotionally. Indeed - a case of weird science.
Claiming any law in Britain as being "irrelevant" is dangerous. In this case the AoC was purely a child protection law that shouldn't be undermined or diluted by modern spin. I therefore believe it is irresponsible of an adult to claim a law as being irrelevant without researching the background first. Human-trafficking, Paedophilia, and child exploitation still exists - albeit, gone underground. By upping the AoC to eighteen, the distinction of who is deemed as a child is far less ambiguous than it is at sixteen - especially for kidults who're vulnerable for whatever reason. Protection is the crux, and the law semi aids the child protection premise - no safeguard law is irrelevant. Modern Britain requires the safeguard, partly because of the fragmentation of the extended family unit, which was intact during the 1950s - early 1970s. Youngsters had father figures and role models to aspire to socially. There was more emphasis on not shaming the family, and it acted as a deterrent. Communities were socially closer, the young socially matured faster if they had more family interaction while growing up. Sadly, in twenty first century Britain, it seems the governance has super prioritised receiving taxes, over providing a loving safe-haven for young inquiring minds. Who require the knowledge and the option to abstain from sex - peer groups are less likely to enroll in the banal alternative: Only in certain US states the Christian Church preaches to their parish to "abstain from sexual activity" for the good of the young's well-being and sexual health. The youngster's vaginal wall has fewer layers of cells at the age of sixteen, than the age of eighteen, so if frequent penetration took place - the youngster is therefore more prone to STD's (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) as she embarks into adulthood and encounters on a string of sexual liaisons over a period of time. Youngsters genuinely mix up the concept of love and sexual gratification, especially if their partner is sexually experienced, or older - and I applaud the AoC law in throwing the book at repulsive sexual predators - albeit, much has still to be done in this area.
What fills me with repulsion is the fact that Soham murderer, Ian Huntley had been accused of underage sex several times with girls, prior to murdering. Now, if the AoC was eighteen, he would've been prosecuted and inked onto an underage sex register - making it impossible for employment in ALL schools - that's the reality. Modern Britain systematically sends out inconsistent age restrictions, such as: Under-18s aren't able to work in or even entering a sex shop. No wonder they're confused.
Modesty, of course, is when a pretty girl awkwardly tries to pull down the hem of her short skirt by a couple of inches when a cute guy checks them out, proud of the acknowledgment but feeling guilty of being overly sexual. Women are complex and confusing creatures and full of contradictions. In the 1970s and 80s, when Jimmy Savile was at his most heinous, a lot of pop stars and rock bands were probably doing far worse, underage girls throwing themselves at their icons. Did the huge pop bands of the day (no names!) check their young admirer's passports in Rio or Mexico City before they passed the Jack Daniels and cigarettes around in the hotels and dressing rooms? Robert Plant is famously photographed with a 14-year-girl on Hollywood Blvd and Bill Wyman nearly married a 13-year-old!! Are we turning on Savile and not them because Jimmy always looked like what we expected a pedophile to look like, the classic loner and middle aged perv, which he clearly was. How old was Elvis first wife when they started dating? The screaming girls at the Beatles concerts in the 1960s were thinking about only one thing when they looked at John, Paul, George and Ringo....and it was not their mop tops! If they are old enough to have desire then what's going to stop them throwing themselves at the stars? Yes it's up to the adults not to give into temptation but I'm sure this was the culture of the day, why it has remained unspoken until now. Clearly Savile was a sadistic pedophile who got involved in charities and hospitals just to get at young kids, completely abhorrent, but I still suspect some of the complainants about Savile are people chasing compensation or simply going through guilt phases that highlighted the hidden promiscuity of the time that most went along with. The English are not a Catholic country and causal sex is the norm. I'm certainly not apologizing for any aspect of Savile and he is the reason we have an age of consent, a legal red line not to be crossed so able to prosecute adults. But, just as the constables on duty at Hillsboro chose not to act so to protect their jobs, no one lower down at the BBC dare challenge Savile, and let's be honest, if the underlings had, they would have been sacked or censured, career over. No wonder superinjuctions are popular in the seedy and sad world of showbiz, this behavior clearly a perk, lots more celebrities likely to be named in the coming weeks.
When that schoolteacher eloped with his willing 15-year-old lover he had to be imprisoned to send a message. As tempting as it may be in the mid life crisis it just can't happen. Again, British teens have always been promiscuous and immature compared to their European counterparts and so the age of consent really needs to be higher than it currently is if we are honest. A significant chunk of British kids have sex under the age of 16 and an uncomfortable chunk of those are with partners over 16. Throw in the booze culture and you have the highest teen pregnancy rate in Europe. I equate it to the kid's right to drive on public roads at the age of 17, that young age group responsible for 50% of all serious accidents here.
In the European Union its Catholic Spain, somewhat surprisingly, that has the lowest age of consent at 13, whilst most of the Balkans has it around 14, presumably to do with virginal dowries. In parts of South and Central America it gets down to 12!! It's noticeable that in the countries with the higher consent age they also have those high numbers of teen pregnancies, as well as reported rapes and sexual assaults, as we do in the U.K. A healthy chunk of reported rapes in Britain are simply 15-year-olds willingly having sex with 17-year-olds on the local council estate but against the law so the crime must be logged when other crimes are committed by those people when they come into contact with the police. I don't want to get into the whole rape debate but its worth considering that fact when you see that controversial 6% conviction rate. Once booze and drugs are in the mix you have sexual anarchy in all age groups. I agree with Kenneth Clarke that we should have different offences for sexual assault so to get more convictions on lesser charges, rather than the other way around. Again, women are complicated creatures when it comes to sex and the power it yields, and men are nowhere near as bad as we are made out. Just accept we are a booze sodden nation who can't keep our kegs on.
Personally I lost 'half' of my virginity before I was 18 and the other half later on. I was more interested in running and being an Olympian in my teens than the conquest of girls. The thing boys brag about most is the age they had sex. If they give you an age add at least three years girls. I preferred to chase the prettiest and cleverest girls so had a much lower strike rate than the rough boys who would be beaten up by their parents if they hadn't impregnated a girl by their 16th birthday. How many middle-class kids are pregnant at university? Not many. The wealthier you are the more you seem to adhere to the age of consent. Having sex for lads at a young age is purely machismo and for girls it's often something they want to get out of the way due to pier pressure. Sex is no longer the sacred act we are told it once was, which it probably never was anyway. It's revered too much and often overrated. It's loving someone that's the real goal and that certainly lasts longer and more pleasurable. Any offers?