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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I don't know.  Is a 14yo competent to have a baby?

We don't even require grown ups to have a license to have a baby. But if she can decide to have surgery, she already is more or less an adult under the law, at least in that regard.

Hi Unseen: My reply buttons seems to not work except in certain spots. This look like a good place to jump back in:

You can certainly argue that Plan B is the simple solution since it's/will be as easy to get as a pack of gum and problem solved. But let's not forget the question you originally asked: 

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?

The original premise is not to argue whether or not a girl should have an abortion vs. get plan B, vs keep the baby, vs put it up for adoption. It's also not about whether she should be having sex, or should stay abstinent until she's older...It's easy to get side tracked into those roads but I'm still trying to drill down to the original question you asked. By saying, "she should just get plan B and be done with it." we are avoiding the many problems with that. Here's assuming she has the presence of mind, education, finances, transportation, and self awareness enough of her own body to even know when/how/why she should take plan B in the first place. This does not solve the abortion part of your argument to suggest it as the ultimate solution. What we're really trying to uncover is the age of consent and a girl's right to chose. Right? In light of the many girls who have sex with older people and the babies they may conceive in the process. I do not think that having an abortion is a good thing. But I cannot force my bias on anyone. What I can say is that at 14 a girl is still a child. Whether she's responsible enough to run the household and care for her siblings like an adult is irrelevant. She is still a child. She is not capable of understanding the consequences of having unprotected sex and what it will mean for her life if she becomes a mother. She is not capable of understanding the emotional trauma she may face later in life if she has an abortion. I have not advocated that I think she should have an abortion, only that if made available to her she needs to get guidance from healthcare professionals. It seems I overestimated their ability to advocate her her and it seems that girls are not getting good advice from places they are told they can trust. This is sad and propels me further towards abortion NOT being the solution personally but I am placing my bias aside (trying to.)...I do not believe a 14 year old can make either decision without education first. So the question should not be, "If she's old enough to decide on an abortion at 14 why can she not consent to sex at 14?" The question should be, "Why do we even think or assume that she is capable of handling either decision on her own?" Answer: She's not.

The original purpose of the sex offender registries was to aid in investigation of new sex offenses and not to prevent them. No evidence exists that they have an inhibitory effect. In fact the state law enforcement officer who first proposed the idea before the United States Congress is now currently working to see them overturned. Why? Because they've become abused politically and would not have effectively done their original job. Why? Because statistically such offenders have lower rates of recidivism than most other crimes and most new cases come from new offenders. Also the mother in the case that led to the original laws has actually ran for office to see them overturned. 

Plea deal or no, she'd still be a registered sex offender.

I can't find a simple solution. Every time I think I know where I stand with human sexuality, some new variable arises to turn my thoughts around. 

Granted, the sex lives of others is not where I spend a lot of my free thought. However, the sexual rights of others IS something that takes up space in my mind, because it's my rights and my body on the line, too. 

Teens are going to have sex and experiment with sex. There is no culture in the world where this doesn't happen. Education about safety has to be priority, because abstinence teaching isn't just ineffective, it's actually harmful to teen pregnancy and STD rates.

So when is it a relationship and when is it exploitation?

Well, when there is a victim, I suppose. Unfortunately, that can happen at any age.

Do a search of mentally disabled porn. Actually. Don't. But it's a big thing, and perfectly legal in most places.

On the flip side, there is also the mentally disabled couple fighting for the right to live together.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/07/disabled-rights_n_3231452....

So where is the line drawn? 

I don't honestly know. 

But I do know that if it's legal for someone with an IQ of 50 (that's mentally disabled enough to be unable to handle money or live without assistance. 70 is where you get permanent disability assistance from the government, if that gives you any perspective)  is legally able to marry or star in porn, we've got to take a look at the whole system.

I think most of us non-predators can agree that 14 is way too young to be in porn. Or to get married. Hell, Saudi Arabia has lowered their marriage age to 10. Iran is lowering theirs to 9, because um. Yeah.

Some of the repercussions they have seen from this and all child marriages is the number of fistula  cases skyrocketing. 

In all cases, the horrible, horrible after-affects of child marriage come from being married to older men. 

Maybe that's the key. 

Age difference, not age of consent. 

I  think it's a very rare case where a two or four year age difference creates a victim and a predator. 

There is a difference between experimentation and exploitation. 

A clear one. 

Let's use a little common fucking sense. 

 

Not because I think I might like it, but just so I would know what "mentally disabled porn" might look like, I tried to google some up without much success. I found a video labeled mentally disabled porn but I couldn't figure out what about it justified the label. A lot of what I found was whether mentally disabled folk should be permitted access to porn just like the rest of us, but I don't think that's what you were talking about. I challenge you to prove there is any significant amount of that stuff or much interest in it. Of course, given the many billions of people in the world and the ubiquity nowadays of video cameras which are even built into smartphones, I'm sure exists here and there but I think that, as a category of porn, it hardly exists at all.

I agree that age difference should be a consideration when one of the parties is very young, but not when both are legal adults. If a 21 year old wants to gold dig some doddering 88 year old fool (assuming he's legally competent), that's their business and no one else's.

 

@Unseen

"If she is competent to assign herself surgery -"

 because it's also a mental health and safety issue and she knows herself best..

 "well then isn't she also competent to take on a sex partner of any age?"

No - because she would be exploited. She's too young to understand the motives of others.

just my thoughts

 

 

 

I'm not sure she knows much more than that she doesn't want the baby, and the main reason is most often, I bet, that she doesn't want her legal guardians to know that she's been having sex.

So, she needs guardians in he one case (sex with an older person) but not the other (abortion). 

Deciding when and with whom to have sex is also having control over one's body, is it not?

How strange!

No, it's not that they lack a sense of other's motives. Humans at very young ages (except in the case of conditions like autism) rapidly become adept at sensing the motives of others - it's how they develop necessary social skills. No, the abuse comes from power and control issues. Children are less sure of their own personal boundaries or less likely to protect them. Abusers isolate their victims as an initial step and as a general rule humans, regardless of age, are easily manipulated and come to identify with their abuser; even going so far as to justify the abuse. Ever heard of the Stockholm Syndrome? And just for the record I was a victim of such (including sexual assault as an adult over the age of 25 and have had to counsel others since. And I actually had some training!

Agreed. I should have been more clear. Age difference is only an issue if one party is a minor.
There is for sure a market for mentally disabled porn. So much so that state laws were being passed a few years back to curb exploitation.
It's not really an unheard of category. Maybe you have filters in place. When I'm at my computer, I'd be happy to provide you links (from the political debates, not anything that will get us put on a government watchlist.)

If someone can think it, there's a market for it. I couldn't find any mentally disabled porn and no, I don't filter anything. If you want to send me a link in private as proof, please do. I'm not interested in political debates without proof there's actually something to debate. 

The fact that state legislators doesn't prove that much of this sort of thing exists, or even that it exists at all. The famous "snuff film" myth demonstrates that legislators can get upset thinking that something exists which doesn't. 

And before anyone sends me a link to a supposed snuff film, be aware of what the definition of a snuff film is. It is NOT a video of someone being murdered. It is a commercial dramatic production in which an actor who believes they are going to be killed in a simulated way is actually killed. Once you read that definition, you'll have to realize that such a thing probably does not exist.

Here is Wikipedia's definition. I think you'll see it's about the same as mine: "A snuff film is a motion picture genre that depicts the actual murder of a person or people, without the aid of special effects, for the express purpose of distribution and entertainment or financial exploitation.[1] Some filmed records of executions and murders exist but have not been made or released for commercial purposes."

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