[Cool Teen Sites]
Legalizing Sex With Children
I would think that this idea would be fundamentally abhorrent to most people.
I wouldn't have considered it myself, until I got into a heated debate on Usenet with a
group of people who want to get rid of the Age of Consent laws. That is to say that they
want to remove the laws that protect children from having responsibility for engaging in
I don't think sex is nasty, unwholesome, 'dirty' or anything of the sort. In fact, I
am of a fairly liberal persuasion. I think that anything that consenting adults do
among themselves is none of my business, and if they enjoy it, then more power to
them. That includes homosexuality, swinging, dominance and submission,
sadomasochism, bestiality, and any other form of so-called 'kinky' sex that you can
imagine, even though I myself don't indulge in any of those activities - I have a fairly
vanilla sex life. Heterosexual, serially monogamous, and I favor older women.
However, if adults agree to some activity among themselves, that is their choice to
make, not mine. I have no vested interest in the sex life of other people.
Whatever they think is enjoyable is theirs to decide.
On the other hand, I don't think that a six year old can understand what the
responsibilities of sex are. A six year old is scarcely in a position to responsibly
select what is physically dangerous to them, much less what the responsibilities of sex
are. So I am in favor of having a law in place that absolves children from having
to take such responsibilities. If a child is incapable of assessing the risks and
rewards of sex adequately, then I don't believe that a child should be responsible for
Age of Consent
These days, this issue is dealt with using Age of Consent laws. The law
describes an admittedly arbitrary point in a person's life where they are deemed to become
capable of making rational and informed decisions regarding sex. This is not
unusual. Our society makes arbitrary decisions about at what age a person is capable
of deciding to drive, drink, smoke, get married, vote, be photographed naked, decide to
not attend school, decide to leave home, and even decide to obtain gainful
employment. In fact, the important decisions in our lives are typically dictated by
law. By law, we are considered to be children up to some arbitrary point, and after
that, we are considered to be adults, and therefore responsible for our
actions. In some countries, such as Canada, the law even dictates at what age a
person is able to answer for breaking the law.
This is what the Age of Consent is about. It is merely an arbitrary point at which a
person is deemed to be able to answer for their sexual choices by law. Anybody who
has not reached that age is, by law, incapable of answering for their decisions, while
persons above that age are deemed, by law, to be capable of answering for their
decisions. It is just as simple as that.
Statutory Rape This term is bandied about, but it is useful to know what it means.
Statutory rape is rape as a matter of law rather than a matter of fact. Rape as a
matter of statute rather than choice. What it means is that if a person who is
sexually adult has sex with someone who is sexually a child, then the child has been raped
as a matter of law, because the law does not recognise the ability of the child to make a
valid choice. The child cannot legally give consent, so the act is de facto
rape - sex without consent. It is not important whether the child agreed to the act,
because the child is incapable of making the choice. Since the child is incapable of
choosing, the child cannot consent. This is blackletter law. The law as
read. If an adult has sex with a child, then they have broken the law by
definition. There are no mitigating circumnstances, and there is no defense.
The adult was tasked with ensuring that the law was not broken. If the adult failed
to do so, then it does not matter what the child did, because the child is, by definition,
irresponsible. These laws are not ambiguous nor subject to interpretation. The
law says that "proof of consent is not a defense". Once sex under these
circumnstances has been proven, then the law has been broken by definition. In fact,
the Age of Consent laws are one of the few areas in the law where the law is clear.
The argument that advocates removing the Age of Consent laws (the AoC) is based on
two predicates. That the AoC is in place to make life difficult for teenagers, and
there is another, different law that protects children from sexual predators. Both
of these predicates are false. There is only one law that protects children from
sexual predators, and that law is not there to make life difficult for
teenagers. It does complicate life for teenagers, but that is not it's
primaryfunction. It's primary function is to protect children. It is true that
some people have had sex in violation of the AoC that they regard as consensual sex, from
both sides of the fence. This happens. If nobody complains about it, then it
will never be tested before a court. However, the adult of the two participants is
still supposed to ensure that the law is obeyed. If that has not been done, even if
sex was completely consensual, that is still not a defense. For the child in such an
act, it is for an adult to determine if the law has been broken. If no adult
complains, and the child does not complain, then nobody will be caught, but if any adult
complains on the child's behalf, then the adult's complaint has merit - the child, by
definition, cannot know what is best. If the child complains, then it is the
responsibility of adults to take that complaint forward and see to it's prosecution. In
this country, the AoC is 14, with caveats that legalize sex to the age of 12.
Legally, persons between the ages of 12 and 14 (when, by law, they become sexually
adult)can legally have sex with somebody no more than two years older than they are.
Say that a 15 year old has sex with a 12 year old, they both agree to the act, and it is
consensual across the board. Despite this, the act is Statutory Rape. This
may be regrettable, but it was the responsibility of the 15 year old to know what the law
was and to adhere to it. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. The ability
to make sexual decisions carries with it several responsibilities, and among those
responsibilities is the responsibility to ensure that both parties are, in fact, adults,
and the law is adhered to. In the given case, if the two primaries were that much in
love, they could as well have waited two years until the question was irrelevant.
However, stripping away the AoC to facilitate such a relationship is ridiculous if it
means that a sexual predator can prey on a ten year old without fear of reprisal.
When I was a teenager, I was very careful about my sexual liasons until I reached 16,
which, I thought, was the AoC at the time. It turns out it was 14, but that was my
own ignorance, and it is better to err on the safe side. However, even at the age of
14, I knew of the concept of 'jail bait'. Females who were so young that if I had
sex with them, I might go to jail. That was during a time when sex was not a topic
for discussion, and the most hideous STD in existance was Syphillis. It made me
careful about having sex. In this era, with AIDS, Herpes, and the like, I can hardly
regard such caution as ill-founded. There is more reason to be careful now than ever
before. Removing a law that, in ages past, served to make teenagers cautious about sex in
an era where such caution was overstated seems ridiculous in an era when such caution is
However, in any case, removing legal protection from children serves no useful purpose
unless the prospect of permitting sex with children is seen as wholesome. I assume
that most people do not regard this prospect as wholesome. I certainly do not, and
therefore I think removing the AoC is a mistake. If the practical fallout from the
AoC is seen as unjust, then modify the law rather than removing it. Some states have
a strict AoC of 16, and if you break it, you go to jail. Canada, I think, has made a
rational compromise between the burgeoning sexuality brought on by puberty and protecting
children. To whit, between the ages of 12 and 14, a person can still have sex
legally, as long as their partner is no more than two years older than them, and the AoC
is 14, after which a person can have sex as they choose with any adult they choose.
By most conventional standards, this a fairly liberal AoC law, but it also attempts to
step on as few toes as possible while still protecting children from predators. And
that is the point. The law is there to protect people, and I think we can all agree
that children require as much protection as we can give them, being, as they are, the most
defenseless people in our society.
Permanently archived from
http://www.autobahn.mb.ca/~wright/lostcauses/News/lsexwkids.html to prevent loss. (David C