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Repeal the age of consent for sex

Comment 7th July 2010

I propose we repeal the sexual age of consent, replacing it with existing rape laws and a new system of 'relationship assessment', whereby all sex involving persons aged 13-18 will be illegal if deemed coercive or harmful by a court.

Why does this matter?

The age of consent for sex is a ridiculous concept. It suggests that after one age everyone is safe from coercion or sexual harm. It also suggests that all sex before that age is statutory 'rape'.

Clearly real life is not black and white, not all sex before 16 is harmful, nor is all sex after 16 harmless. Humans mature physically and mentally at different rates. The difference in age of consent (AOC) across Europe alone shows how inconsistent our views are (13 is the AOC in Spain, while 17 is the AOC in Ireland).

Young people are considered criminally responsible at 10, yet even if they consent to sex with a person a few years older than themselves they are 'victims'.

We need clear, realistic guidelines outlining what, and why sex is acceptable. Accepting sexual activity in those aged 13-18 is common sense, and allows obvious non-predatory cases to be dismissed instantly.

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