Question arises after reading your article on this issue (what a nightmare this issue).
My question: I often hear this explanation of the reason someone under legal age cannot give consent. The brain has not developed enough for that decision to be made. Yes doesn’t mean yes because one’s not able to make that decision.
That may well be true-mapping of the brain is so very advanced- but when IS it developed enough? Is the brain of a 17 year old so far more developed than a 15 year old?
If this is the measuring stick should victims brains not be reviewed to see how far along the continuum they are.
I’m not being facetious.
Of course this wouldn’t work in situations where the offense was in the past….but surely it’s still great issue for many defendants. If that is the thinking then carry it through. (Not being a neurologist it’s quite possible I’m being very naive here)
I believe when women alledge sexual assault that 999 times of 1000 there is truth. I don’t fight allegations. I am not an eyebrow raiser when a woman says she has been raped.
But this issue, this statutory rape issue…..from the date my son turned 17 I lived in fear he would find a 15 year old girlfriend.
So much mess. Such potentially life altering decisions.
Don’t get me wrong. People under 16 can be assaulted. But…..What a mess.

Responses

  • Michael Castleman says:

    I share your opinion that statutory rape laws are a mess. But life is messy.

    These laws have nothing to do with brain development, and everything to do with legislators’ feelings of appropriateness in the context of political pressure. Historically, various governments—ancient Rome, medieval England—adopted ages of consent as young as seven. Today in the U.S., states vary between 16 and 18. But most states have a close-in-age exception. If a 17-yaer-old boy has sex with a 15-year-old girl, most states would allow that because they’re close in age, when the same states would say that sex between that same girl and a 25-year-old man is statutory rape.

    In addition, in statutory rape cases that result in arrests, the underage lover is almost never the one who calls the police. It’s almost always that person’s parents.

    My advice: Talk to your son about statutory rape so he understands the potential risks of sex with girls younger than he is. That’s all any parent can do.

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