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Lower age of consent? Are you mad?

Published:Wednesday | June 10, 2015 | 6:00 AMChelan Smith

Let me jump right in. This morning while going through The Gleaner, I came across this letter to the editor 'Lower age of consent to 14' . For those of you who missed it, let me give you the gist of Owen Crosbie's article:

"When will our legislators appreciate that it is universally accepted that females, on average, by natural law, reach maturity to bear children at age 14 and that is why the age of consent was fixed at 14? Legislators, perhaps oblivious of the reason for the age of consent to have been fixed at 14, moved the age of consent to 16, making criminals of boys and girls and adults.

"Now some are even calling for an increase in the age of consent from 16 and may soon be calling for it to be raised to 60 or beyond to free the world of human beings. I am calling for all to respect natural law in general and in relation to the subject of carnal abuse and for the age of consent to be refixed at 14, as planned by the Creator."

No well-thinking person would entertain the notion of lowering the age of consent to 14. I would rather not discredit the conversation this man clearly had with the Creator to determine the natural law and the rightful age of consent, but I cannot help but point out that at 14 years of age, a child is simply not ready. The fact that I even had to write that sentence is stressful within itself.

 

DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCES

 

Back when the legal age was 14, it was because mortality rates where extremely high. What has changed is science and technology, as well as nutritional and health trends. What hasn't changed is that a child is still a child, and saying, "Bam! It is now legal for 14-year-olds to have sex with 45-year-olds" won't make it any less awful.

Notice that this man only advocates in respect to the female focusing on childbearing, etc., but the fact is, a 14-year-old male is also not ready for the ramifications of an early sexual experience.

However, I must ask, why stop at 14? Why not continue to 12 and 10? What I am seeing here is a move to fix a situation instead of the problem. We are again teaching children that society is finding an excuse to outright say, "Listen, as a big man/woman, you need to respect the fact that this is a child and leave them alone." There is no room for grey areas, and if you have people around you trying to make this grey then give them a side eye and re-evaluate that friendship.

 

RAISE IT TO 18?

 

Not too long ago, Sandrea Falconer voiced that she wanted the age of consent to be raised to 18. The report read:

"I think, as a country, the time has come for us to look at the age of consent. If you cannot vote until you are age 18 years, you cannot legally drink until you are age 18 years, why then should our 16-year-old girls or boys be allowed to have sex? I do not think they should be allowed to consent, because at that time they are not equipped to make decisions," she stated.

"She believes that raising the age of consent will help to counteract the country's high rate of teenage pregnancy and address the breakdown of morals in the society. The minister said that too many children are having children, for whom they not equipped to care.

"This, she said, is leading to a breakdown in the family structure and fuelling the country's crime problem."

Are we simply going to ignore what she had to say? Are we going to ignore the physical and mental ramifications that our children have to go through when assaulted? Or are we going to just sweep this perversion aside as natural law?

Lowering the age of consent won't solve the problem. Arresting child abusers and enforcing child-abuse laws and increasing the punishment will let predators think twice about this natural law to which Crosbie is so committed.

- Chelan Smith is a Jamaican blogger. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and chelan876@gmail.com.