Lowering age of consent to 14 ludicrous
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Owen S. Crosbie's 'Lower age of consent to 14' (Gleaner, June 6, 2015) is a sad commentary on illnesses that can distort a persons' rationality. To argue "for all to respect natural law in general ... and for the age of consent to be refixed at 14 as planned by the Creator" is a secundum quid. Crosbie ignores the fact that the age of consent was connected to the historical and cultural positions of females in society, and not the Creator.
The book 'Sex and Society' states: "Until the late 20th century, US age-of-consent laws specifically name males as perpetrators and females as victims. Following English law, in which the age was set at 12 in 1275 and lowered to 10 in 1576, ages of consent in the American colonies were generally set at 10 or 12. The laws protected female virginity, which at the time was considered a valuable commodity until marriage. The theft of a girl's chastity was seen as a property crime against her father and future husband.
"If two people were married and had sex, no matter what their age, no crime was committed because a woman was her husband's property. In practice, too, the consent laws only protected white females, as many non-white females were enslaved or otherwise discriminated against by the legal system."
Historically, the age of consent was set at seven or 13 years, depending on the era and the culture, and tended to coincide with female puberty, which was also the age at which a female could marry without parental permission.
Modern laws that designate a statutory age of consent are to prohibit men from having sexual relations with females under a specified age on legal theory that they are too young and immature to make informed decision and, therefore, are incapable of giving a legal consent.
In this 21st century of enlightenment, women are more valuable than the sum of their virginity as commodity, and are no longer the property of their fathers or spouses. They are corresponding strengths, sharing equality of worth and standing (Genesis 2:18) to men.
DUDLEY C. MCLEAN