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Age of consent should be lowered to 13!!

(28 Posts)
Dervel Thu 09-May-13 13:13:53

http://metro.co.uk/2013/05/09/age-of-consent-should-be-lowered-to-13-in-light-of-stuart-hall-prosecution-top-barrister-says-3747054/

I'm a little bit stunned by that article. If I am honest I think it bears mentioning that I am concerned by people being crucified in the media before we have actual facts established, and convictions secured. However one very very good thing I feel has come out of all this Yewtree stuff is hopefully actual victims will feel they will be taken seriously and that as a society we will not tolerate abuse.

I'm not sure quite what this Barrister is thinking, as this whole article is just stunningly surreal to read. I'm also not sure I get this most of all:

"... ‘touching a 17-year-old’s breast, kissing a 13-year-old, or putting one’s hand up a 16-year-old’s skirt’ were not comparable to gang rapes or murders."

I'm not sure the crimes of actual bodily harm, or hate speech is directly comparable to gang rapes or murders, but I'm not sure I want to see either of them condoned by members of the legal profession either!

I saw this earlier. It's very nicely wrapped up the problem of having to arrest all these poor, high profile, old men!!

Stupid, stupid bint!!!

TheRealFellatio Thu 09-May-13 13:21:11

I think 14 or 15 would be fair enough. Many, many young people have gone through puberty and are ready and willing to have consensual sex, often in very committed relationships at that age. I think it's a bit hard on them to ignore the fact that they are biologically capable and ready for sex, but then refuse to acknowledge that they may be mentally and emotionally ready for it too.

Of course they may not be ready, which is fine. It's not obligatory. But to criminalise those who are seems daft to me.

13 is too young though, in my opinion.

Those poor men

13 is stil a child.

Personally I think the age of consent is a separate issue here.

Am I correct in thinking Holland's age of consent is 12?

My biggest concern is that he appears to be condoning and excusing what has happened.

Also changing the age of consent would only affect future acts not ones in the past, so they've still committed crimes?

shock shock shock

I suppose it is one way of lowering the crime stats though.

Could they also make murdering stupid bastards legal?

TheRealFellatio Thu 09-May-13 13:30:59

I was (technically) raped and sexually abused as a child by an adult.

I was 14, he was 18. We were very much in love, and we spent 8 years together.

These things are not always as simple as they seem.

ChunkyPickle Thu 09-May-13 13:34:29

I think there's a difference between a 16 year-old and a 13 year-old and a 40 year old and a 13 year-old. One is clearly abuse, the other may be immature/mature couples. AFAIK, the law currently recognises that.

TheReal - the same in your case - I think that for younger children, the age gap is very, very important.

Dervel Thu 09-May-13 13:38:29

Sorry I seemed to have started a topic already up and running, didn't mean to!

http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/in_the_news/1751421-Age-of-consent-lowered-to-13-so-men-are-not-prosecuted

I think it just proves what a blunt instrument law is. It isn't about age it is about intent and culpability

TheRealFellatio Thu 09-May-13 13:40:32

I agree. But unfortunately we cannot have a law where someone over the age of consent is abusing someone under it without criminalising innocent, fully consenting young couples who are doing nothing wrong in their hearts or their heads. I don't know what the answer is though.

I was being sarcastic about the poor old men. Sorry if it didn't come across but this has made me incredibly angry.

There may well be some 13, 14, 15 year olds who are really and capable but there are far many more are not. These girls need protecting.

I can't believe her solution is to sweep it under the carpet by trying to not make it a crime!

Dervel Thu 09-May-13 14:15:07

I do see your point and the dilemma TheRealFellatio, but if on balance you have potentially valid couple's on the one hand, and protecting the vulnerable on the other and gun to my head I had to choose, I would choose the latter.

My own outlook when I considered the issue when I was 16-18 myself was that if I had fallen in love with a girl a few years younger than me the course of action would have been clear. I wouldn't have let it stop me from embarking on the relationship, but I would not have started a sexual component to that relationship until everything was above board and legal.

The way I saw it at the time was that if the sex was absolutely essential, and was overiding the emotional/psychological dimensions then it was lust and not love. I know it is highly unreasonable for me to expect every bloke to subscribe to my perspective, but I can look back on my late childhood and early adulthood and look at myself in the mirror with a clear conscience.

It may not be the answer to the problem for society as a whole, but it is with those values I intend to encourage in my son when he is old enough, so that hopefully it is as much a non-issue for him as it has been for me.

I'm pretty sure that if both the parties are teens and it is in a loving environment there is leeway. It's rare though and the criteria is strict.

Sorry, I mean older teens.

spacegoat Thu 09-May-13 14:54:37

My main objection is that the intent is so that adult men can fondle, grope and kiss teenagers and not be prosecuted.

This to me, isn't consensual. Two teens having an intimate relationship is quite different.

I think lowering the age of consent is not the way forward in this case.

Xenia Thu 09-May-13 15:22:55

I would support 14. It is 14 in Spain and 15 in France. The current law criminalises many young people. It could be done where by it is 14 if your partner is 18 or under.

However there is no chance it will be altered,. not in the current climate of parents wanting to lock children up metaphorically and keep them as tiny children until they are 25,. accompany them to university interviews, keep them as kidults and refuse to allow them to grow up when they are intended to be so and with the current ethos that children are utterly unsexual until they are 18 or whatever. There is no chance at all. No party would get elected with a promise to improve human rights and lower the age of consent. The public are in one of their worst most censorious phases on this issue at present.

Can you imagine Mumsnet getting behind a campaign which indeed some mumsnetters would support of lowering the age of consent to 14? The fact it sounds impossible shows just how much the current moral ethos is against teenagers being sexual.

Midlifecrisisarefun Thu 09-May-13 16:12:58

I have long thought that there is a creeping campaign to lower/remove consent ages.
Although we wrap our children up and protect them it also removes the independence and confidence from children and young teens to resist. So although children are kept child like longer in many respects they are also exposed to a barrage of sexuality, e.g. music videos, computer games, films with ever explicit scenes from a young age.
I really believe that in many cases 'officials/leaders' are conspiring to remove constraints. The ludicrous sentences handed out by courts to offenders, blame foisted onto children , 'she/he actively participated' line used to excuse behaviour. The resistance to lock up permanently offenders for protection of the public.
I would seriously wonder about anyone who thinks offenders 'rights' trump children's safety.
Maybe the Operation Yewtree investigation should extend to politicians, police/CPS chiefs, and judges!

Sparklymommy Thu 09-May-13 17:47:36

As a teenager I had a sexual relationship from the age of 14 with a boy 4 years my senior. It was consensual and I was mature enough to handle it. That is not the issue here. This barrister, who clearly cannot be a parent to have suggested this, is not asking for the age of consent to be lowered for any reason other than to sweep under the carpet the abuse that went on a few decades ago and is now being investigated under operation Yewtree in the wake of all the Jimmy Saville revelations.

As a parent with a ten year old daughter I am outraged by this! My daughter is still a little girl and the thought of her being able, legally, to have a sexual relationship in a little over two years horrifies me. Also the difference between a consensual relationship between teens with an age gap of up to four or five years and the abuse of trust in a situation where a man old enough to be a girls father (or in some cases, grandfather) is worlds apart.

As it stands the legal age of consent in this country is 16. As I understand it there is provision in the law for a little leniency dependant on circumstances for up to two years prior to this where the young people in question are willing participants. Should the age of consent be lowered would this then result in that leniency level also being lowered? Would it then be ok for kids as young as 11 to embark on sexual relationships and have a blind eye be turned by the powers that be?

Getting back to operation Yewtree. I am not a fan of "witch hunts" and believe that there are a few investigations going on at the moment which are probably over zealous and the men in the spotlight should be afforded the oppurtunity to defend themselves. Innocent until proven guilty anyone? However, in cases where the accused are found guilty, or as in the case of Stuart Hall, admit guilt, they should be punished accordingly. Even if the age of consent were reduced historical cases should be tried under the law at the time the offences occurred.

I accept that there are instances where girls look older or claim to be older than they are. But Stuart Hall has admitted abusing children as young as 9. That is not a genuine mistake!

This woman is in the wrong and should apologise for her vitriol!

Solopower1 Thu 09-May-13 18:05:06

Young people need protection from predatory adults. It's not perfect, but we do need an age of consent, arbitrary as it may seem. Who would benefit from lowering it? Maybe a few teenage boys but mostly it would be manipulative, lecherous, grisly old men.

Also, I think having an age of consent at 16 shows a good example to young men too. It shows them that no matter how ready a girl looks and says she is for sex, in the eyes of the law, ie adults, she is still a child, and the young man involved is required by society to exercise some restraint. I know people who had sexual relationships in their early teens with other teenagers, and it doesn't seem to have done them any harm at all. But these were not exploitative, unequal relationships. Maybe it's tough on people like that, who want to have sex and are mature enough and lucky enough to have found the right person - but it won't do them any harm to wait. Or if they decide to go ahead and are caught, it really would be unlikely that anyone would be punished - if the relationship was clearly consensual. The police and legal systems have better things to do.

All these old men who abused young women and children in the sixties and seventies were part of a culture in which it was OK for them to drool over children in public, and girls in short skirts were 'asking for it'. We really do not want to go there again.

exoticfruits Thu 09-May-13 18:07:50

It just lets adults, who should know better, off the hook - very convenient for them.

Wishiwasanheiress Thu 09-May-13 18:10:43

Hell to the no!

My vote? Leave the age where it is.

fluffymindy Thu 09-May-13 18:13:03

A friend of mine at school had a sexual relationship when she was 13 with someone who was 32 at the time. We are in our forties now and they are actually still together and married. Honestly, it fucking creeps me out. We were just little girls.

Thank you Sparklymommy for putting so eloquently what I've been struggling to say.

CoalDustWoman Thu 09-May-13 18:51:39

TheRealFellatio, unless you didn't consent, then you weren't raped at age 14. That's not what the law says.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Hewson is a libertarian. In that context, her views are not surprising.

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