For the most part, there is no single age at which a person can consent to sexual activity. Only 12 states set a specific age ranging from 16 to 18 , while in the majority of states, the age of consent depends on multiple factors, including the ages of each partner and the number of years between them. The purpose behind most statutory rape laws is to punish grown adults who take sexual advantage of a minor.
The following are just a few examples of Romeo and Juliet laws currently in place in the United States:. Exceptions and Other Considerations In addition to Romeo and Juliet laws, some states have specific exemptions when both parties to the sexual act are minors, or the person to be charged is legally married to the minor.
However, there are still restrictions in some states about the type of sexual activity that is permissible, such as oral sex and sodomy, as well as restrictions on relationships involving a minor and a person of authority, including teachers, coaches, or tutors. All states have special provisions if any physical force was used or serious physical injury resulted. Until recently, statutory rape laws applied only to females, ignoring situations involving sex between an adult female and underage male.
Today, most laws are gender neutral, and a number of women in authority positions such as Mary Kay Letourneau, Debra Lafave, Pamela Rogers Turner, and Pamela Smart have been prosecuted for engaging in sexual relationships with younger males. Does the Punishment Fit the Crime? While many states have strict statutory rape laws on the books, prosecutors have been inconsistent in enforcing them, says Mark Chaffin, a researcher with the National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth.
One particularly shocking case drew international attention when year-old Georgia resident, Genarlow Wilson, was charged with aggravated child molestation and sentenced to 10 years in prison for having consensual oral sex with a year-old girl. Georgia law, which has since been changed to classify this act as a misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of one year in prison, also required Wilson to register as a sex offender when he was released.
Are Statutory Rape Laws Outdated?
Statutory rape laws are based on the premise that although young girls may want to have sex, they may not have enough experience or discernment to make a mature, informed decision. The laws are designed to protect young people who have less information and power than their and-over counterparts.
For example, minors may be less likely than adults to understand sexually transmitted diseases, have access to contraception, and have the resources to raise a child if they become pregnant. Most people believe there is a clear line between young people wanting to date and have sex, and adults molesting or assaulting a child.
5 Ways People Justify Adults Having Sex with Minors – And Why It’s Still Not Okay
And most would agree that the difference between intimacy and abuse should be reflected in the laws of each state. But not all parties agree on how strict the laws should be. Critics of strict statutory rape laws argue that while sexual relationships between teens relatively close in age may be morally questionable, prosecuting every case would unnecessarily clog up the justice system.
But advocates of more diligent enforcement of statutory rape laws believe that the laws help combat the often underreported and hard-to-prove sexual abuse and rape of young girls. Others add that imprisoning men who are convicted of the crime could have a significant impact on teenage pregnancy and birth rates. Know the Laws in Your State Dating is a normal part of teenage life. Look, I had crushes on adults when I was a young teenager, too.
I daydreamed about being swept away by Harrison Ford or Pierce Brosnan.
And if one of my adult crushes had come around and shown interest in me as a teenager, I would have been dazzled and thrilled and extremely vulnerable. Starting in early adolescence, the risk-taking and sensation-seeking parts of our brains really kick into gear for most teens.
What Is Statutory Rape?
This is an important part of our development into independent adults who will help shape the world. This makes for several years when teens are vulnerable to making decisions that feel sensible, but might, in reality, be really, really bad for them.
As a teenager, she could talk philosophy, she was reading college or graduate-level books, and she had a lot of emotional intelligence and insight, both for herself and for others she knew. In all these ways, she was a very mature teenager. And yet this friend of mine, with all her wisdom and self-knowledge, was deeply harmed by many of her teenage sexual experiences. Maturity can include lots of different skills: Most people improve in these skills as they grow, but not all at once and not at the same rate.
Unable to contain an emotional outburst? We judge them as immature, and treat them like a child that needs to be managed. Skilled at reading and responding to complex social situations? We judge them as mature, and treat them like an adult who can bear a full burden of decision-making and self-protection. Once again, what teenagers actually need is adults who will help them navigate the complications of having a brain that is leaping ahead in some areas and standing still in others. Boys and masculine-presenting teens are often assumed to be sexually voracious regardless of their history, while girls and feminine-presenting teens only fall into this category if they have multiple sexual partners or typically act and dress in sexually charged ways.
It is emotionally charged in a way that few words are, apart from actual curse words. If you were walking down the sidewalk and a car swerved wildly and hit you, you are just as injured no matter what kind of person the driver is, or why they swerved. Maybe they were drunk. Maybe they were deliberately trying to hit you. Maybe they had a sudden blackout.
Laws on Underage Dating | exoxypuhamod.tk
Similarly, when a person is sexually violated, that causes damage whether the person who did it is a nice person or a jerk. It causes damage whether the other person was being careless, was intoxicated, or was being deliberately malicious. Sometimes good people do bad things — especially in a culture that gives us lots of justifications and excuses. When the David Bowie case was all over the news, everybody wanted to discuss it in terms of whether he was a good or bad person. And the answer to that is always no.