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.

Tags: Hunt, Kaitlyn, rape, sex, statutory, underage

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Actually a hidden part of the idea is that those who have mental disabilities would not pass the test and not be liable as an adult no matter their age. We already do that to an extent but it tends to be flawed.

Yeah, there will be loopholes - as with everything. I'd want to plug the loopholes as much as possible. I'm not quite up for starting a thread discussing the idea to refine it.

I do know one of the big issues would be an ID that is difficult to fake or borrow - but that problem already exists for IDs.

Actually i was thinking more of the ways such a system could be abused by authorities.  What would exist to stop the government raising the bar, so that "adulthood" becomes an award given only to the intellectually superior people?  There will always be cheats and fraudulent attempts to bypass systems, but there is not always a good protection process in place to limit the authorities.

I doubt in our society today that if such a system were implemented that it would be the "intellectually superior" people who were awarded with "adulthood". The system (like almost every system) would get abused (unless measures were put in place to try to prevent it) but in America today with the anti-intellectual attitude, that would not be the basis for "adulthood". Consider that politicians are deciding what "science" is valid (as well age of consent for various things).

Sadly, I would see most abuse being attempted in favor of the wealthy and those who "worship properly".

Even worse!  Imagine if exhibiting the inclination to kow-tow to a deity, preferably one with a name that begins with a J, is considered a criteria for adulthood. 

? Unseen?  I don't understand. 

Somehow my comment was attached to the wrong comment by Strega. Apologies. 

@Strega - no, not just J. Deities starting with Y or G would work too. (Jesus, Jehovah, Yahweh, and God) Yeah, that is exactly what I was implying.

Personally I feel that the overly religious are behind too many of society's  problems. They got on Planned Parenthood for "advocating" abortion so now PP tends to only answer questions put to them as someone mentioned upthread instead of providing more comprehensive info.

AFAIK the religious freaks were not behind instituting the sex registry but I wouldn't be surprised if they were.

They push for more repressive laws and the intelligent people push for less repression and we end up with a mix of laws that say 14-year-olds are not permitted to say yes to sex (whether or not they comprehend the consequences) but can say yes to an abortion - a surgical procedure (again whether or not they comprehend the consequences).

Ward, I agree with you that the overly- (and the overtly-) religious are behind many of society's (and America's) problems. Despite their claims, America wasn't founded on xianity, but many xians left their beliefs in what affects the lives of most elderly folk. Happily in my opinion, young people are  discarding much religion-based claptrap.

This discussion started with an opinion in  conflict with reality that has been repeated often: that 14-year-olds are not permitted to say yes to sex. There has long been so much sexual activity between young people that laws I have seen prohibit sexual activity between boys and girls whose ages differ by more than about three years.

Unseen, for reasons he knows and I won't try to guess, complained that a 14-year-old isn't allowed to consent to sex. According to the story I first saw in the news, the problem resulted when a 17-year-old turned 18 and an arbitrary and three-year age difference became an arbitrary four-year age difference.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but is there actually a law that specifically prevent teenagers (<18 yo) from having sex? As far as I'm aware, the law only applies when an adult is having sex with someone who is underage. Basically, if two 14 yo have sex, there isn't much the law can do against that.

In that case, the law (or the spirit of the law, if you will) is aimed at preventing someone who is mentally more developed from taking advantage of someone who is mentally not yet (or less) developed. Where I live, a similar law is in place preventing people taking advantage of mentally handicapped.

Of course, there are more developed 14 year olds and less developed 25 year olds, but a cut-off point has to be made somewhere to make the law manageable (otherwise, everybody can make wild claims about abuse, which will be too costly to evaluate all of them). Currently, that cut-off point is set at the age of 18, presumably because that is the age at which most people are sufficiently mentally developed.

As for a 14 yo having to right to have an abortion, that would fall in the same street as her having the right to have sex; it's her choice, it shouldn't be the case that she is coerced/forced into it by an adult (or anyone for that matter).

As for the article, I think it is ridiculous that an already existing relationship suddenly becomes illegal due to a factor outside of the girls' control (turning 18). Either the relationship should have already been illegal, or the legality doesn't change.

Sex laws vary widely from location to location. In some, it's strictly enforced that if someone 18 or older has sex with someone under 18 (even a 17 year old an hour before their 18th birthday) that person is technically guilty of statutory rate. Not all prosecutors would go all the way in prosecuting such a case, but certainly some would. Bear in mind, too, that the 17 year old may have lied about her age. Also, I'm nowhere near 17 or 18 anymore, but I don't recall that back then anyone was talking about asking for the ID of someone who wanted to have sex and didn't particularly seem to be quite young. Maybe things have changed, but I doubt it.

I'm sure many of the 14 year olds who have sex with someone older haven't been coerced or tricked or seduced at all. And of course sometimes they have. But if we let her own her body enough to choose something as extreme as abortion, why take that ownership away when it comes to sex partners?

I totally agree with you on the last paragraph. And the fact that we don't let the 14 year old own her own body and sex life is part of the reason why a travesty like that can happen.

I think that may be "rape," rather than, "rate," but if the 14-year old is also a prostitute (and don't kid yourself, they're out there!), there could also be a "rate" involved. Just sayin' --

But if we let her own her body enough to choose something as extreme as abortion, why take that ownership away when it comes to sex partners?

But it's the other way around, right? We take away the ownership from the adult party by making it illegal for them to have sex with minors. Granted, the net result is the same, but I don't really see a way around that without giving the adult party a carte blanche.

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