Age of consent should be 13 "To stop the persecution of old men"

(45 Posts)
nenevomito Thu 09-May-13 12:19:41

Story Here

A prominent barrister in reproductive rights has called for the age of consent to be lowered to 13.

Barbara Hewson told online magazine Spiked that the move was necessary in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal to end the "persecution of old men".

She also said that complainants should no longer receive anonymity.

Its hard to know what is worst about this story. The fact that lowering the age of consent should be seen as a solution to the abuse of young girls, or that its a woman who is saying it.

emcwill74 Thu 09-May-13 12:36:16

It really is the sort of thing that makes you wonder why you got up today. Mind you, everything in Spiked makes me feel like that. I have to force myself not to click on linked articles that appear there as it was too bad for my blood pressure.

nenevomito Thu 09-May-13 12:56:57

Regardless of where it was published, its just vile isn't it?

The norm is still to blame or question the victim. I suspect that if Stuart Hall hadn't admitted what he had done then people would still believe that he was innocent.

Suggesting that the age of consent should be lowered doesn't address the problem of men (old or otherwise) taking advantage of young girls. Having a man stick his hand up your skirt without your consent is still sexual assault, even if you are 16 or over, so lowering the age doesn't make any difference.

Sex with someone against their will is still rape, regardless of someone's age too.

PinkFluffyJumper Thu 09-May-13 13:04:33

This is just awful. And to think that it came from such a high-powered woman who must have had to put up with all sorts of nonsense to get where she is now. sad

fubbsy Thu 09-May-13 13:07:31

It's just a manufactured media storm. Spiked paid someone to say something controversial. It worked, they got lots of publicity and presumably lots of traffic to their web site.

"Prominent" barrister? hmm Who says she is prominent and why? There is exactly zero chance of her proposed change in the law going anywhere.

MousyMouse Thu 09-May-13 13:08:58

just awful
makes me angry for all young women around esp my own daughter.

fubbsy Thu 09-May-13 13:12:53

'She said that "touching a 17-year-old's breast, kissing a 13-year-old, or putting one's hand up a 16-year-old's skirt" are not crimes comparable to gang rapes and murders and "anyone suggesting otherwise has lost touch with reality".'

AFAIK nobody ever said they were the same. It's a rhetorical tactic called an Aunt Sally - putting forward a false argument to distract your opponents from the real issue and waste their time.

SirChenjin Thu 09-May-13 13:21:01

Agree with Fubbsy - it's so ridiculous a suggestion as to be valueless. She is to be pitied, both for her loose grip on reality and her willingness to prostitute herself in order to raise her profile and that of Spiked.

It's just someone's opinion - a law degree does not necessarily confer common sense on its owner.

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

But as somebody has said on a different thread, fubbsy, nobody is comparing these crimes to gang rape or murder - but it doesn't mean they aren't still crimes. confused

fubbsy Thu 09-May-13 13:29:50

Yes exactly PinkFluffy. They are all crimes and people should be prosecuted for them.

TheGlorifiedSecretary Thu 09-May-13 14:29:41

So we shouldn't be prosecuting the theft of anybody's handbag, then? It's nowhere near the same thing as being burgled, tied to a chair and gagged while the robbers empty your home of any valuables after all. Right?

3hens Thu 09-May-13 14:37:37

Oh my. I hope she's not a mother.

I wonder is she looking to be a "prominent" barristerby means other than professionism. Has anyone googled her?

Awful.

namechangeguy Thu 09-May-13 15:42:51

A couple of points. Firstly, touching someone who does not wish to be touched is a crime regardelss of their age, is it not? If Hall had put his hand up a 93 year-old's skirt without consent, he would still be liable to prosecution. This barrister's argument does not undo that, as far as I can see.

Secondly, the age of consent is not universal. It varies around Europe - it is 13 in Spain, 18 in Malta and Turkey. Arguing for a change in the age does not make someone wrong, or stupid, or corrupt.

Thirdly, Pink FJ said And to think that it came from such a high-powered woman who must have had to put up with all sorts of nonsense to get where she is now. Must she, really? Why does that have to be true? What if she wasn't? Unsubstantiated claims like this just undo the valid points that you do make.

PinkFluffyJumper Thu 09-May-13 15:53:16

Namechangeguy, speaking from experience, it seems more likely than not that Hewson would have been subject to even low-level sexism during her career.

I realise that this is an 'unsubstantiated claim', as I have no specific evidence that this was the case for her, but I do have experience of widespread sexism in the workplace. My comment was a generalised one stating that, particularly in male-dominated fields such as law and the judiciary, it is sadly still very very common for women to face all manner of sexist comments and behaviour.

reelingintheyears Thu 09-May-13 15:57:12

Yes,it is just fucking hideous.

What shocks me too is www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/05/05/helen-flanagan-stuart-hall_n_3217878.html?utm_hp_ref=uk

Silly girl.

Chubfuddler Thu 09-May-13 15:57:43

I hope she's better at advancing arguments in court than that ridiculous straw man she's come up with there. Embarrassingly poor really, on logical grounds let alone moral ones.

Hardwicke chambers are distancing themselves I see.

Perhaps she has suffered a blow to the head.

PinkFluffyJumper Thu 09-May-13 16:03:20

It makes me so angry that there are people out there with opinions like this, who genuinely think that this would be an OK thing to do.

Best case scenario is that she's just been paid to say it, although from other threads (where the Yewtree investigations are being called a 'witch hunt' hmm), it seems as though lots of people really do think this way, high-powered barristers or not. sad

PromQueenWithin Thu 09-May-13 16:05:57

Here is a response, in the form of an open letter.

namechangeguy Thu 09-May-13 16:07:30

What are you angry about, PFJ? The lowering of the age of consent, or the trivialising of the crimes committed?

PromQueenWithin Thu 09-May-13 16:12:53

I think the lowering of the age of consent is a red herring, albeit a hugely insulting one in this context (i.e. one can believe in that without suggesting that it would stop the persecution of child sex offenders, ffs).

It's the contempt she appears to show for the victims that I think is just awful.

PromQueenWithin Thu 09-May-13 16:13:51

See, the fact that this led me to type "persecution of child sex offenders", as though that was actually possible, says it all really. sad

CoteDAzur Thu 09-May-13 16:23:14
CoteDAzur Thu 09-May-13 16:30:24

"Firstly, touching someone who does not wish to be touched is a crime regardelss of their age, is it not? If Hall had put his hand up a 93 year-old's skirt without consent, he would still be liable to prosecution."

I am guessing that you have never been a 13-year-old girl.

The point is that it is very likely that a girl at this age will consent because she thinks it is expected of her, because she wants to please the man, because she is flattered that an adult man has taken an interest in her, etc. Just because she hasn't put up a fight or even said "No" doesn't mean that she is OK with it, or will be OK with it when the old man in question pulls up his pants and leaves.

It takes a long time for girls to become women. Young girls look like women in many cases, but in their heads they are still vulnerable children and must still be protected.

namechangeguy Thu 09-May-13 16:31:16

As the dad of a teenage boy and girl, I'd happily see it raised to 25.

PinkFluffyJumper Thu 09-May-13 16:31:21

Namechangeguy, the trivialising of such crimes, victim-blaming and a culmination of the two; should the age of consent be lowered, which it in all likelihood won't be, the fact that this would make it much harder for victims to come forward.

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