Age of consent

The term ‘age of consent’ is an interesting one.  It rarely occurs in legal terms, or rather in the statute book, but  there’s a generally assumed view that it refers to the minimum age at which a person (importantly, both male and female) is considered to be legally competent to consent to taking part in sexual acts.  In the UK, it’s 16.  I think this is what determines our held view on what’s appropriate, but it’s not the same age in every country.  The world holds different views on sexual maturity.

Irrespective of what the age of consent is, surely it must remain the responsibility of both parties to understand the age of the other?  And if you can’t work it out, move on.  It’s all a bit creepy.  I’m moving away slightly from the predatory paedophile here, and thinking about the argument that it can be ‘impossible’ to tell the ages of younger people, around the age of consent, particularly young girls.  I read somewhere (not sure where), that the Rolling Stones had a list of numbers on their tour schedule, which referred to the age of consent in different states.  A quick google search has yielded that my childhood heroes Duran Duran did the same…. Duran Duran touring back in the day  *sighs*  Surely a simple question, or series of questions can’t go amiss?  How old are you, when were you born, where were you when Princess Diana died, how’s school, what was the first CD you bought (as opposed download now for most)?  There are possibilities of working something out, and if someone lies, then that must put a different defence on things.  I’m no lawyer, but I’d imagine that it would be the case.  Aside of this, is a more moral issue.  Why be interested in someone who might be that young?  Ego?  Sex drive?  I don’t really care, it’s a moral thing.

Back to the world view on consent, evidently it’s different in different US states, but that’s not surprising.  In Europe it varies between 13 (Spain) and 18 (Turkey and Malta), with most seeming to be 16.  In some countries, like Saudi, you have to be married.   The Vatican is interesting – you have to be married, but given that, it would seem to be fine in law if the female (girl or woman??!!) is 14.  Nothing is straight forward, and there are legal clauses which protect young people in countries where it would seem to be low – like Spain.

Whatever the law may decide, I’d contest to anyone, is that it has to be your responsibility to find out.  And if in doubt, then walk away.  The law maybe one thing, but there must also be a personal moral code.