Age of Consent is too low in most developed countries
It’s shocking that in many developed countries the age of consent is as low as 12 or 13 (they take into account the physical maturity of the girl, not emotional.) At the same time, it’s interesting to know how different societies and countries view this issue. For example, the laws pertaining to the age of consent for sex.
Britain and India
At present, Britain and India both have set the same age of consent: 16 years. Before I go on I want to add that this age of consent (in India at least) is dependent on it being allowed by the parents. For example in India if you are a minor in the eyes of the law (below 18) then the parents/guardians call the shots. If they want to marry off their daughter at the age of 16 it’s okay according to the law, but if they find out that their daughter has run away with someone or is having sex with someone and they don’t like it, they can take legal action and have the boy thrown into jail. A Supreme Court order on this can be read here.
When it comes to Britain, it’s interesting that there is a debate on about reducing this age from 16 to 12 years. The British Police feel that men who have sex with girls above the age of 12 and below the age of 16 should not be termed ‘pedophiles’ and this is what sparked off the debate.
In India there is a debate suggesting just the opposite: that the age of consent should be increased to 18. We know why the increase in age of consent is needed in India. There are far too many teens being married off in semi-urban and rural India. This brings on early pregnancy and consequent health problems, which is what women’s organisations and NGO’s want to avoid. But why Britain should want to reduce the age of consent is a bit puzzling.
Isn’t mental maturity more important than physical?
True, girls are becoming sexually mature earlier – but how many psychologists would agree that girls in their early teens are mentally mature as well? Mature enough to take the consequences of early sexual relationships and perhaps an early pregnancy? Mature enough to make the right decision, after evaluating the consequences? Mature enough to be able to judge the character of the boy they are entering into a relationship with? In fact one keeps reading about girls who get messed up – both mentally and physically – because of a promiscuous lifestyle. This applies to young girls all over the world. Boys rarely have to take the consequences.
We don’t need early sex in modern societies
Early sex is fine for tribal societies – but wrong for our modern way of life. Premature sex and early marriage distracts the child from doing the most important thing that she needs do – growing up into an emotionally independent human being, getting a good education and becoming financially independent.
Some of the following statistics appeared in the TOI on 22nd November and other statistics I collected from AVERT, an international HIV and AIDS charity based in the UK :
Age of Consent
Hong Kong: 16
USA: 14-18, depending on state
Italy/Lithunia/South Carolina/China: 14
Mexico: 12 +
Australia: 16-18, depending on state.
Pakistan: Must be married
United Arab Emirates: Married/18
Amazing isn’t it – that in so many countries grown men can have sex with little girls as young as 14? The law approves of it. The men who have sex with children have nothing to fear! Neither from the law, nor from their conscience. Neither the girl, nor society demands that they take responsibility. One can only hope that the Age of Consent is never reduced in India.
Note: After the comment on this post I looked for the age of consent for boys. I found that in most countries it is the same as for girls. However, homosexuality is illegal in many countries (including India) so the question of boys legally suffering at tender ages does not arise. Not only is Sodomy (rape of a male by another male) a crime, even a consensual relationship between two males is a crime in the eyes of the law.
Related Reading: Dating for a permanent mate is common in India
Being a single mother is tough
At a young age you might make the wrong choice and land up with a wife-beater
Men who have regressive attitudes towards women
Indian teens do have sex