Post by kerouac2 on Nov 13, 2017 12:39:18 GMT
Related to the current subject of sexual abuse by people in power (or not) but nevertheless somewhat different, France is currently embroiled in a debate about the age of consent for sexual relations. This is after a man was recently acquitted of forcible rape in a case involving an 11 year old girl. It remains illegal in France for an adult to have sexual relations with someone under the age of 15, but it leaves a bit of ambiguity in the area of forcible rape vs. what Americans know as statutory rape. France has never set an age of consent. Minors under the age of 15 can have sex with each other, just not with adults. It's kind of screwed up.
However, some other European countries have done so. The age is 14 in Portugal, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Austria. It is age 18 in Malta, Turkey and the Vatican (!). England and Switzerland say that any penetration of someone under the age of 16 is rape. Denmark has set the age at 15. Spain and the United States (yes, I know it is a non European country) have set the age at 12.
Experts in France are leaning toward setting the age at 13 while parliament always prefers to err on the side of caution and is thinking about 15.
In the case of the 11 year old girl, the "victim" was totally willing and up until now, each judge has had to make a decision on a case by case basis. It is still a bit disturbing.
All of us have seen huge changes in sexual mores during our lives and also how much more young people have matured than the condition most of us experienced at those ages. So obviously the cursor needs to be moved, but by how much? I'm not even sure that France should set a specific age because everybody is different. Then again, when somebody is not ready for sex at age 20, it is probably due more to a psychological disorder rather than slow maturity. After all, even the mentally disabled want sex as soon as their hormones kick in.
It would be great if we could just rely on common sense based on the personal development of each young person, but obviously society feels the need to set rules.
For some reason, I am reminded of a standard daily television announcement in my youth. "Parents, it's 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?"