My previous post
on the Arizona case where a mother and daughter were alleged to be sexually involved with a boy from the age of 14 raises an important question that I would like to add my personal thoughts on.
Should it be a crime to have sex with a a fourteen-year-old boy if a woman is 18 or older? My answer? It depends. My reason for writing the post was to point out the double standard we have in our society that says that it is okay for a woman to have sex with a boy, almost at any age, and he should even be grateful for the experience, while a man of 18 or older should always be held accountable for sex with a girl younger than 18. I think this premise is false.
There are some girls at 14-17 who are capable of making reasonable decisions about their sexuality and there are some boys of that age who are not. Robert Epstein, the author of The Case Against Adolescence: Rediscovering the Adult in Every Teen
says that many of the laws that restrict love and sex for teens are based on faulty assumptions. He states that the these laws assume that no
young people are capable of engaging in sexual activities responsibly, and that the laws assume that all young people are the same.
I was watching some show on the new Oprah channel yesterday and the host asked people in the audience when they lost their virginity. The majority said from 15 to 20. Sure, some may have been 18-20 but many may also have been 15-17. It is common to have sex before 18 for many people, even (or maybe especially) for those in Oprah's audience. We do need to look closely at whether or not the laws pertaining to this teen sex are fair, or whether they are too restrictive or cause harm to those who should not be harmed (e.g. an 18-year-old guy having sex with his 16-year old girlfriend, or an 18 -year-old girl having sex with her 16-year-old boyfriend etc.).
However, that said, my position is that the laws, whatever they are need to be fair. If a 14- year- old girl can't give consent to sex, than neither should a 14-year-old boy. If men go to jail for sex with 14-17 years old teens, then women should go to jail too. Both sexes should be punished equally. If the law decides that teens that age can consent to sex, then both men and women should avoid jail altogether. Just be fair.