The Age of Consent…

I have been meaning to write a post on this subject for a long time, I even thought I had, but a search comes up with nothing. So…

Two stories in the news this week, firstly a girl aged twelve will become the youngest British Mother shortly, while the father (a 19 year old) faces life in prison (life doesn’t mean that in the UK, probably 15 years max). Secondly, good old Kim Kardashian has revealed that she lost her virginity at 14 to her then boyfriend Tito Jackson.

I don’t know the laws in the United States and it’s more complicated because each state seems to have it’s own law and specifics. But as far as I can tell the age of consent in the USA in general is 16, some states seemingly shy away from calling it rape if there’s less than two years difference and one is younger than 16.

Now obviously nobody can seriously think that a child of 12 having sex with a 19 year old is a good thing, because obviously it’s not, but one thing that struck me about that was that if you look at the law in Europe, while a lot of countries use the 16, 17 age as the standard, Germany has an age of consent of 14. Not only that but the law further states that the age of consent is 14 as long as the older person is not over 21. So, bizarrely, if there was a couple where the guy was 20 and the girl was 14, that would be okay, but as soon as the guy turned 21 he would have to wait for the girl to turn 16 to have sex with her again.

Hmm… Can’t see any potential problems there. Perhaps if it can be shown that the couple were together before (and legal) it would mitigate somehow…? It does seem a bit strange though that it’s legal for a 20 year old man to have sex with a fourteen year old.

I’m actually really surprised that given the European Union’s desire for ever closer ties and common regulation that there hasn’t been a move to standardise the age of consent throughout Europe. Currently 14 of the European countries have 14 as the age of consent, twelve have 15, twenty one have 16, two have 17 and three have 18.

I don’t see a standard age coming in, since would it come down in Malta (currently 18), or up in Italy (currently 14)? Presumably Malta and Vatican City aren’t going to agree to a drop of 4 years, and while it seems almost logical for the age of consent to be 16 (although that could just be because it’s always been 16 here) would France agree to putting their age of consent up a year?

Incidentally,there has been a move to reduce the age of consent in the UK (to 14) as recently as 2013, there seems little support for such a change here. It wasn’t that long ago that the homosexual age of consent was reduced to 16 from 18 (from 21 not that long before), which was because a case was taken to the European court which decided that it was discriminatory to have two age of consents, for homosexuals and heterosexuals. That being the case I see even less likelihood of the age of consent being dropped here.

Law’s being country dependent, I assume if a 19yr old guy from the UK went to Germany with his 14 year old girlfriend and they had sex I presume nothing could be done about that? I can’t see how it’s any different than the 19yr old guy going to Germany and having sex with a 14 year old German girl, or a 14 year old girl going to Germany and having sex with a 19yr old German guy (you can switch the girls and guys around too in this example).

It’s all very complicated.

I lost my virginity at 18, to a 20 year old girl (so I missed out on sex with teenage girls altogether!), I was a pretty mature kid, but in all honesty I think eighteen was about right. 16 would have been too young for me I think and 14 would definitely have been too young. And like I said, I was a mature kid. So I certainly don’t think dropping the 16 A.O.C. is a good idea.

I suppose it’s further complicated by the fact that people like Kim Kardashian can now say they lost their virginity at 14 and really is there any public interest in addressing this? It’s happening all the time here in the UK, I know a women I worked with until recently told me that she knew her grandson (15) is sleeping with his girlfriend. But what is the point of addressing this legally?

There’s seems to be a pragmatic point of view which says, well you can’t stop it, the best thing to do is to make sure they use condoms / contraceptives. Which is sensible, but a rather odd attitude to laws. If you applied that logic to everything, then we’d been in a right mess. You can’t legally ride a motorcycle until you’re 16, but you can’t stop a fourteen from doing it so just make sure they wear a helmet…

So what’s the point of having a law then. Well obviously there has to be a law, and given that the age of consent is 16, but it’s sort of accepted that 14 and 15 year old’s will probably flout it, then if you reduce the age of consent to 14, do you then accept that 12 year old will flout it? Obviously not. I can see the logic of the argument for lowering the age of consent, but the people wanting to do so, are probably doing it with the mindset of an adult thinking that we drop the age and decriminalise the act for people that are already doing it, but then there will be no leeway.

Who would be a law-maker?



One thought on “The Age of Consent…

  1. here in Belgium (Europe) the age of consent is 16. many girls and boys older than 18 kiss and have sex with teens under 16… although it is not common and people are not gonna tell you when they do this. they tell you years later after it happened. i knew a girl who was the sister of a friend of mine, also a girl, she was 14 and dating a 19 year old guy. it was known and not secret. nobody went to the police or anything, there were sexual acts going on, but nobody knew if it was fingering or penetration by penis. parents here in Belgium dont usually go to the police, many want to be open with their children so that they dont have to go have sex in the park or something, they want it to happen safely and in a house. they want their children to use condoms and the pill and to check for STD’s (of course, if theres a sign of forceful sex they will go to the police). why is this so? because parents fear that if they would try to control their teen that they would date people in secret and then the consequences are more severe. another person i knew through this same friend had gotten pregnant, they had sex in clothes stores, they were both 15 and the relationship was secret, no contraceptives were used. she hid her pregnancy from her parents and friends until it was too late for abortion. the child was born, this is what parents fear the most!

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