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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Age of consent laws

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Author Topic: Age of consent laws
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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How do you guys feel about'em? While they offer very important protection, especially for young children, they also create some weird restrictions (as in, in some instances, a 16-year-old can be presecuted for consensual sex with a person one year younger than they are, etc.).

Would you change them if you could? If so, what alternative would you suggest? Or do you think they're fine as they are?

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

"If you're a bird, be an early early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late." - Shel Silverstein


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unhappykoger
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to me it should be on a case by case basis. it should depend on the age difference, the maturity of both involved, and if there was any pressure. i find it ridiculous that you can be punished for sleeping with someone just a year or two younger than you.

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Beppie
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Ideally, it would be a case by case basis, but that is pretty much impossible in societies that are as large as they are today. The most practical thing, in my opinion is to set the age of consent at around 15 or 16 and have a two or three year leeway. So, say the age is 16 with a two year leeway, a 16 year old will not get in trouble for having sex with a 15 year old, although a 19 year old would.
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Unfortunately, given the way the legal system works and the millions it governs, no law can be case-by-case with no arbitrary guidelines. It just isn't doable.
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Etch
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I dont know about laws anywhere else but i know the consent, and stat. rape laws somewhat well here in Oregon. Here the first age of consent is 15. No matter what you cannot be with someone under the age of 15. Once you hit the age of 15 you are allowed to have sex with anyone who is 15 16 or 17. Its completely legal and no one can do anything about it if it was consentual. The second age of consent is 18. Once you turn 18 you can have sex with anyone 18 and older. No one younger then 18.

Its confusing i know... but this law has actually gotten a lot of kids in trouble here. I always hear people takling about the 3 year rule saying you can have sex with anyone around 3 years of your age, but it is actually the three years of 15 16 and 17.

I actually dont mind his law so much, i just think it needs to be made a little more clear to teens.


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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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That's a good point, Etch: it is astounding how few teens know about these laws which directly effect them, and I don't think I have ever heard of them being taught or brought up in social studies or health classes.

I do think an age range in terms of leeway would be more sound, after a minimum age, and I'd even be comfortable upping it to say, five years. I do think though that there should be some sort of restriction between minors and adults simply because an adult has legal privledges and rights that a minor does not, which could be a real problem.


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PoetgirlNY
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I don't really like laws that generalize based on age. Not all 16 year olds are alike. I think that there should be a standardized test that determines whether or not a person is capable of consenting to sex. It could ask questions about safer sex, emotional maturity, sexual readiness, personal decision making, responsibility for consequences, and perceptions about power dynamics. If the person passed the test, they would be legally allowed to consent to sex with anyone else who is allowed to consent. I think that everyone should get automatic consenting rights at 18 without having to take the test. The minimum age for taking the test should be 14. This test should be available to everyone and you should be allowed to take it more than once. If someone doesn't pass the test when they are 14, they might pass it at 16. Ok, ok, of course I know that would never happen and I'm probably overlooking some huge flaw in my logic. I just think it would be a good system to allow people who are capable of consent to have sex while still protecting children from sexual exploitation. Although, in this society I bet it would somehow end up discriminating against people of color and poor people.

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Sympathys_Sin
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I think they're important all around. The truth of the matter is, sex is dangerous. There should be a legal age set, just like if this were driving. A 13 year old may be very capable of driving, after all, just like a 13 year old MIGHT be old enough to have a stable sex life. nobody argues much about the an age restriction on driving. put a law there, and let parents watch out for their children.
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