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TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

Should there be an attempt to unify the age of consent around the world? NSFW?

Asked by TheProfoundPorcupine (2549points) December 19th, 2012

A report in the news in the UK today spoke about the lead singer of a band in the UK being arrested for suspected child sex offences. The child in question is reported as being 13 and clearly this is below the age of consent in the UK which is 16.

However, interestingly enough if he had travelled to Colombia or Panama then he would have been fine since the age of consent there is 12 for females, but for some reason 14 for boys, or even in Japan it is apparently 13.

The question, therefore, is should there be an attempt to unify the age of consent around the world or should pressure be put on countries where there is inequality in the age of consent between sexes or on those countries where it is 12 or even 13?

What age really is too young?

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10 Answers

Shippy's avatar

It’s hard to say, what is their school leaving age for example? When do they start work? I think the age of consent should be moved to when a person has a job, and can support a baby?

Nullo's avatar

While I agree that there is such a thing as too young, I am not really sure that the Internet ought to be the one telling us all what it is.

ragingloli's avatar

Yes, it should be the age specified in the Bible.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Age of consent should be done away with, there is no magic number that applies to everyone.

Don’t ask me what we should have in its place, there does need to be something in place to stop pedophiles and predators, but I don’t know what.

For me, it all depends on the person, how mature they are, what facts they have, and what their personality is like.

For example, a friend of a friend has a daughter, who is 13, who has been spotted giving boys blow jobs in stairwells. She gets loaded up on vodka, calls boys her own age over, and blows them, some times two at a time. Obviously, this is not your best kind of behavior, however I would find it very hard to argue that she does not know fully well what she is doing, or that she does not understand what consent is, and the risks of disease are, etc. In her case, I would say it is up to her.

Then you have 13 show up again, but this time we are talking of a 13 year old prostitute who is servicing men in their 40’ and 50’s. This to me would have to almost always be an illegal situation.

Me, I was ready for sex as soon as I was about 11 years old, in my case, I think it should have been legal for me at 11 to have sex if I wanted. I had all the facts about HIV, pregnancy and all that, and was self aware enough to know who I was and what I wanted.

On the other hand, a very nerdy friend of mine was not ready at 19. When he first had sex, it fucked him up in the head, and he did not leave his room for a month, even at 19, he was not ready.

I would suggest having a test, so you can get your legal license, but then people would also abuse that system, and even if they did not it would not be perfect.

The best way, would be to assign a judge and jury to every sexual encounter on the planet, and have a tailor made ruling for each one, but with 7 billion people on the planet, that is hardly plausible.

Perhaps, the best compromise, would be to keep the age of consent laws, but have a variety of different ages for different demographics. E.g. 15 for boys, 16 for girls. Perhaps do away with statutory rape, if both parties are under 18, or under and over 18 but with less than 5 years difference.

I enjoy watching Chris Hansen on dateline, to catch a predator. From watching that show, I think everyone can tell what is what, who is a predator and who is not.

A 19 year old who shows up to meet someone that said they are 15, who brings flowers and stuff like that, is not a predator, just a lonely teen driven mad by hormones, taking some bait. However, when the guy who shows up is 54, and also brings alcohol, rope and a 5 year old child to meet someone who said they are 13, it is quite clear you are dealing with a predator.

Blackberry's avatar

No, because it would never happen. You can’t unify various cultures. Age of consent is already pretty subjective or it would be unified.

marinelife's avatar

Not going to happen with all the different governments and cultures.

burntbonez's avatar

It is useful to have different standards with different groups of people. We don’t know objectively what the correct age is, if indeed there is one. So it is good to experiment with different ages, and see how it turns out in different societies. We’ll have data to figure it out, quite possibly.

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bolwerk's avatar

If you’re going to make an age of consent, it should probably be at least somewhat based on the maturity of the “victim.” A 13-year-old could be a full-fledged woman, physically, while a 17-year-old in some cases may still look like a little girl.

However, that might be administratively difficult or impossible.

jerv's avatar

Whenever I see a question like this, I cannot help but flash back to an old thread from the Shadowrun forums discussing Legal age in the SR world (For the non-gamers out there, Shadowrun is a role-playing game set sixty years in the future.) for reasons that will become obvious if you read this post with I copy-pasted from that thread, knowing full well that most people here would not want to read that entire thread full of gaming chatter:

Specific age of consent is a social construct. One can see that simply by how it varies wildly cfrom one society to another. However, one thig that does not vary is puberty. No society has an age of consent that is likely to come before an individual reaches puberty. The traditional age of consent in English law was ten. Girls experience puberty between 9–12.

“The age of consent has steadily increased in industrial societies in so small part due to the social effects of the indistrial revolution. The need for more education combined with more labor saving devices resulted in people spending more and more time in school. It began as an artifical social construct called ‘childhood’, which justified mandatory government provided schooling. As educational requirement increased newer age classess were invinted so that this mandatory schooling could be extended. Now, with college education being almost necessary for survival a 22 year old is considered a child in some respects.

“This juvilialization of industrial societies contributes a great deal to the economy in the long term but, oddly, it goes against the biological realities of industrial citizens. Better enecomy leads to better nutrition. Better nutrition leads to earlier puberty. The mode age at which children begin puberty is slowly but steadily becomming lower, which some rather freekish extremes. Pubecent two-year-olds are rare put not unheard of. The youngest girl every to carry a child to term was five. Obviously, pregency at such a young age carries problems, not the least of which is size. A two-year-old smply isn’t large enough to carry a child to term while a five-year-old can’t possibly give birth. The latter problem can be solved through surgery which is common in industrial socities. The former cannot. For these reasons, among others, placing an age of consent strictly at puberty may not be a good idea. It doesn’t change the fact that pubesent children are constantly being told to have sex by every hormone in their bodies and when law fights biology law usually loses.

“The reality of indistrial and post-industrial society is that children who have sex at an early age are statistically less fit to be employees and thus contribute less to the economy. Both potential psycological effects combined with the burden of childrearing make it difficult for those who have sex at an early age, speficially girls, to contribute to the workforce. At the same time, medicine is making it easier to have sex with becomming pregnant. That just leaves that potential phycological complications which are as much a product of society as they are biological reality.

“This leaves two potential solutions to sex among juvililes. 1, be open and permissive and hand out birthcontrol like it was candy or 2, be extremely anti-sex and discourage it as best as is possible. History shows that the latter is difficult but this doesn’t stop some from trying. The former is far more reliable but it has its own problems, as well.

“I can see the age of consent being lowered in the future, possibly as low as 12. With the anarchaic combonation of conservativism and government apathy it is a tossup. Conservatives, be they true to their moniker, would wnt to lower the age of consent or get rid of it all together. Small government and all. However, the conservative ranks tday are dominated by people who are anything but in some ways. They desire to enfoce their own sexual values against society at large. So, the actual age of consent could be very low or very high. It is simply a matter of flavor for your personal game world”.

To my mind, this question basically boils down to, “Should planet Earth have one, unified, homogenous culture, and if so, which cultures should die first?”. In our (US) culture, things have gone pretty much as that excerpt lays out; the age of consent ignores biology and psychology and depends more on economics and education. And I think it safe to say that there are many people here in the US that are legally adults that shouldn’t be; I think there are many 12-year-olds abroad that are more capable of informed consent than many 22-year-old American girls. However, places where you find those “mature” 12-year-olds are often like we were in the past; putting kids to work as soon as they were able to, and making them shoulder adult responsibilities like financially supporting the household,....

I have too many thoughts and not enough words to elucidate presently, which is partly why I posted the passage above, so I will pause there for now until the muse strikes and allows me to go on. Suffice i tto say, I oppose any attempts at such unification though.

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