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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Carte blanche? You mean to the older party? Well, making the older party legally unavailable interferes with her right to own her sex life. It injects the government into the bedroom.

Sounds to me like your beef is with the government.

Have you told them? If not, ....

We're just having an intellectual discussion here. Clarifying our thinking through a dialectic. I play devil's advocate all the time on TA. After a while, you'll recognize that.

And there are times when he abandons the advocate's position entirely and morphs directly into the CEO --

Actually, I AM The Devil.

Of course you are, Homer


Carte blanche? You mean to the older party? Well, making the older party legally unavailable interferes with her right to own her sex life. It injects the government into the bedroom.

That's what I was saying; the net effect is the same. But if the government doesn't draw the line at 18, it has to draw the line at a different age, resulting in the same argument.

Or the law can butt out. Is there a law saying the government has an interest in the matter?

The government has an interest in enforcing law.

As someone* said, the first purpose of government is to make large numbers of people governable. (Religion helps the government do so.)

* Someone who felt more cynical than I now feel.

And then you have someone of, say 40, starting a relation with a 9 year old. Both consent. Should the law butt out of that too?

The law has to draw a line at some age after which it will no longer look at a sexual relation as illegal by default.

The problem seems to be that currently, it is a black-and-white view (before 18, statutory rape by default). A better way would be to have an age-region within which cases are treated separately before arresting someone.

I think you hit the nail on the head. Perhaps there should be a set point where the law takes an interest, but then it should be reviewed by humans to prevent the sort of travesty where someone turns 18 and felon for something that wasn't a "crime" the day before. Some sort of committee consisting of psychologists, for example, and with better tools than sending someone to prison and making them registered sex offenders for the rest of their lives. For example, a restaining order effective till both parties become legal adults. They should be able to examine evidence of the case. Was the older party engaging in grooming and seduction, for example.

The system as it exists now would be ridiculous if it weren't horrific.


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