Why isn't a 14 year old girl old enough to consent to sex?

After all, we think a 14 year old should be in control of her body enough to decide on her own to have an abortion, so why isn't she old enough to consent to sex?

I'm thinking about this because of a case that's in the news today:

Kaitlyn Hunt, or “Kate,” has just refused a plea deal in a case that has focused the nation on discriminatory prosecutions and ways in which LGBT people are treated differently by some prosecutors. Kate Hunt, a high school senior who began a consensual relationship with a classmate three years her junior, when she was 17, was arrested when she turned 18 after her girlfriend’s parents demanded her arrest and expulsion from school.

The Florida prosecutor, Brian Workman, offered her a deal vastly different from those generally offered to teens in her situation engaged in opposite-sex consensual relationships. Instead of offering her a misdemeanor charge Hunt is being charged with two felonies. Her plea deal would include her being forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life, no possibility of her case being overturned or records sealed, and forced to serve two years’ house arrest.

“Hunt will appear in court June 20, and could face 15 years in prison if convicted... (source)

I'm curious what your thoughts are on the question in the subject line as well as on this case.

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I've been on so many government watch lists, for so long, that one more couldn't hurt.

Am I the only one wanting to call the 14 year-old's parents "negligent"? Whether they have a rational reason or not for rejecting their daughter's relationship, instead of addressing this when they felt it was a problem, they underhandedly and cowardly handed parenting off to the police - as if to symbolically say to their daughter "you think you're so smart, now what?"

As Diane did point out, it's not like from 17 to 18, a magical switch flipped on the older girl. So where is the parenting? Do they even really care about their daughter to have intentionally 1-upped her at life? If they do care, then they need to be addressed on proper ways to express and inact that care. I, for one, am skeptical the parents are all that mature to begin with.

In Arkansas, she is.

Yes, that made me think too. I think so many of us feel that 14 is too young to be having sex because of how hard parenthood would be on such a young person. Therefore we see the decision to abort as sensible and the decision not to have sex as sensible because both result in a 14 year old not becoming a mother. This means we don't really regard the 14 year old as able to make her own decision because we have already decided what thosedecisions should be. Not very ethical really.

I think it is impossible to say whether a 14 year old is old enough to consent without knowing the 14 year old. Some people are responsible and mature at 14 and some don't get there until mid twenties.  In a situation like this with just the facts of the ages of the girls and sexual relationship we could be looking at two young girls having a consensual and healthy relationship and bitter, homophobic parents causing trouble or an older girl bullying or pressuring a younger one into a sexual relationship which she was not ready for and good parents, being aware of this, took action as soon as they could. Or anything in the middle? The details of this case and the exceptionally severe consequences in comparison to what normally happens convinced me to sign the petition against the prosecution.

I agree with much of what you say, except I'm not sure I want to live in a country where prosecutors are swayed by petitions.

Ho, ho, ho; the stereotypical prosecutor is swayed by an ambition to become governor.

Ambition requires no voter consent, or even voter awareness.

Most of the girls in Genesis were 14 when they were married - Issac and Rebekah, for example - Rachel was also 14 when Jacob met her, but because he agreed to work seven years for her, she was 21 before they were actually married, but 14 seems to have been the preferred biblical age.

About 2 weeks ago I attended the funeral of a 91 year old man who got married at age 15. He had 3 children by the time he was 19. We really don't have to reach back to biblical times to find examples.

We can't ignore the fact that the average lifespan then was probably something like 30-35, which would indicate getting an early start on growing one's family. Also, family members were workers back then, so getting some workers started as early as possible was probably a motivation as well.


 "but 14 seems to have been the preferred biblical age."

In biblical times and still now -  females get raped - and any girl of reproductive age was a liability to her parents because pregnancies resulting from rapes were so common. I think that marrying them off as young as possible was their solution so that the person raping her was at least her husband and he could support the children instead of the girls parents who would probably kill her.

Even now in first world countries we can find 10 year olds pregnant without knowing who the perpetrotor was - imagine how much of this nasty stuff was going on in those backward times.





I think that marrying them off as young as possible was their solution so that the person raping her was at least her husband and he could support the children instead of the girls parents who would probably kill her.

I'm not saying you made that up, but do you have any sort of proof of that?


"I'm not saying you made that up, but do you have any sort of proof of that?"

Can I just ask why you find that hard to believe?


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