You Mean 18-y.o.s with 16 y.o. Girlfriends AREN’T Sex Offenders?

Hey Readers! Once in a while, common sense actually wins a biggie. That’s what’s  happening right now in Texas, where the governor seems set to sign a “Romeo & Juliet” bill that would prevent teens and young adults who have consensual sex from ending up as official “Sex Offenders,” required to register for life.

Yes, that’s really how the law stood — until now. According to the Star-Telegram:

Under current law, according to a legislative analysis of the bill, there is no such thing as consensual sex with a minor in Texas. Currently, a man who is 18, 19 or 20 in a consensual sexual relationship with a girl under 17 could be convicted of sexual assault of a minor and would be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

That is beyond crazy. That is LIFE ruining — and for what? Who does it help? No one. Who does it hurt? The very people it is supposed to protect: young people.

Thank god the legislature had the gumption to re-introduce the Romeo & Juliet bill, which the Governor, Rick Perry, vetoed in 2009. Let’s give a big hand to its sponsors: Texas State Rep. Todd Smith and Texas Sen. Royce West (one Democrat and one Republican — this is NOT a partisan issue)!

While we are at it, let’s also hear it for Mary Duval, a dogged (and, by the way, blind) activist who has been working for YEARS trying to make our country’s sex offender laws do what they were intended to do — keep creeps away from kids — rather than rounding up anyone who ever had sex at a young age. She’s founder of the extremely moving site, Ricky’s Life,. It was through Mary that I first about how the sex offender laws were catching more than just “the bad guys.” Like a net that catches dolphins along with tuna, they were catching some people who did nothing more than have sex with someone slightly younger, along with hapless humans who peed in public or even streaked.

When the law prosecutes threats and non-threats with equal zeal, something is very wrong. Today, a little bit got righted. — L

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73 Responses to You Mean 18-y.o.s with 16 y.o. Girlfriends AREN’T Sex Offenders?

  1. Cara May 14, 2011 at 4:41 am #

    I’m really glad to see this. When we water down sex offender laws it doesn’t help anyone. It becomes completely unclear who might be a real threat. It is amazing the vast number of things that can land someone on a sex offender list. Things like public urination can land you on the list for life in some states.

  2. oncefallendotcom May 14, 2011 at 4:46 am #

    Glad too see this law back up again, but it was Texas Voices that pushed this bill. However, I am still concerned about Gov. Perry vetoing it again. Maybe he learned his lesson, however, after the media and the supporters of this law blasted him publicly. But still, Perry is an idiot, and he still may veto this bill again while claiming he’s “protecting the children from dangerous sexual predators.” So, can we get Delaware to take 9-year-olds off the list too?

  3. Paul C May 14, 2011 at 4:51 am #

    What about older girls with younger guys?

  4. Catherine May 14, 2011 at 4:54 am #

    It’s about time that one state looked at this law logically and came up with this bill even though it was vetoed. This watered down bill is just an attempt to keep teenagers from having sex even though it is consensual. If the over – eighteen year old is convicted he has to pay for it for the rest of his life, having to register with the state patrol on a quarterly basis. Let’s not forget to mention the jail time he must serve. This is absolutely appalling.

  5. charlie May 14, 2011 at 4:55 am #

    I only hope the new law has decent boundaries. An 18 year old with a 16 year old girlfriend is one thing. A 20 year old with a 14 year old is probably taking advatage of her/him. It’s easy for an adult to tell a 15 year old that they’re so mature, wise beyond their years, and that sex is part of being an adult, etc etc, and con them into it. That’s why the statutes are there. If it were up to me, it would still be illegal for anyone under 17 and anyone over 18, but it wouldn’t require anyone to register. 15, 16 year olds can give consent, of course. But the question is whether or not they can give informed consent.

  6. Steve May 14, 2011 at 5:05 am #

    Well, it’s a step, but we have a ways to go. There’s the girl that was facing sex offender charges for taking photos of herself.

  7. maresi May 14, 2011 at 5:14 am #

    This is the kind of baloney that came to mind when, a week or so ago, my brother called me out for being a neglectful parent. I let my 7 year old son ride 3 blocks on his bike to a friend’s house, with a walkie talkie so I could call him home when it was time. My brother suggested I was crossing the line into neglect, and one of his reasons was that there are several registered sex offenders in our neighborhood. I wonder just how many of them were Romeos and Juliets?

  8. Ray D. May 14, 2011 at 5:48 am #

    If an 18 year old boy has a 16 year old girlfriend, does that provide evidence that he is normal enough to be allowed to change diapers in the church nursery?

  9. Donna May 14, 2011 at 6:11 am #

    A step in the right direction but there is still a long way to go. Keep in mind that, while they would not be required to register, they would still be convicted of statutory rape. Even off the registry, they’ll never get a job that requires a criminal background check or volunteer with kids. Anyone who runs a criminal background check will still brand them a sex offender.

    We need to get rid of laws which set an arbitrary age to consent to sex and look at each situation individually. The law errs on both aides now. There are 15 and 16 year olds who have sex with older men with no coercion necessary, unfairly stigmatizing the men. There are also 18 year olds manipulated into sex with much older teachers, employers, ministers, counselors who maybe should be considered sex offenders and aren’t.

  10. JM May 14, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    Well in Florida age of consent is 16 as long as your partner is under 24 if it wasn’t for that i might be on a registry for being with my 16 year old girlfriend when i was 18 it was also because this that my brothers girlfriends dad was not able to press charges on him just because he didn’t want him dating his daughter because he isn’t Indian

  11. Jaime May 14, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    my nephew is in prison right now for 2 years for having sex with a minor (actually they werent having sex, she was giving him oral!) when he gets out next year he will have probation for 10 years and have to register for the rest of his life. If we had something like this in NY maybe he wouldnt have to suffer for the rest of his life because this girls dad was pissed off.

  12. Stephanie Lynn May 14, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    Thank god, our country’s sex offender laws are just ridiculous. It’s ridiculous that we treat 19 year olds who have consensual sex with 16 year olds like they are child rapists. I am absolutely against the watering down of these terms. Rape is forcible penetration, not coercion. And furthermore, it bugs me how molestation can mean anything from groping to actual rape these days. It does nobody any good to lump all people who commit crimes of a sexual nature together.

  13. Uly May 14, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    Rape is forcible penetration, not coercion.

    I disagree. If you tell somebody “sleep with me, or I post this dirty picture of you all over the internet and mail it to your parents”, that’s rape. Or if the threat is “I’ll make sure you lose your job”, “You’ll have the cops following you for the next three months” or whatever.

    Or if the person you’re “having sex with” is really incapable of giving consent, either because they’re unconscious or because they’re really too young to do so.

    Of course, none of those apply to the 19 year old with a 16 year old girlfriend who is old enough to consent to sex with another minor and who was more than willing.

  14. Steve May 14, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    If Texas can do this, then anyone can pass this kind of law. I honestly never expected this from Texas, let alone it being ahead of the curve.

  15. Frances May 14, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    Here’s what I found on wikipedia for Canada:

    “If you are 12 or 13 you can consent to have sex with someone no more than two years older.

    If you are 14 or 15 you can consent to have sex with someone no more than 5 years older (unless the two people are married).

    The older person can NOT be a teacher, parent, guardian, doctor, etc.

    For everyone else the age of consent is 16. But if the older person is a teacher, parent, guardian, doctor, etc, then the age of consent is 18.

    The age of consent for anal sex is 18 unless the two people are married. Gay and straight marriages have been legal in Canada since 2005.”

    Well, actually straight marriage has been legal since long before 2005 :). Sounds like things are a little more liberal up here.

  16. Beth W. May 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    I think the laws are similar in some other states, as well, not just Texas. The idea, of course, is that a juvenile cannot give “consent” in the same way an adult can. Which is ridiculous — every teen is different. Some, at 18 or 19, still aren’t ready.

    That aside, I disagree with the person who said coercion is not rape. If you’ve been pressured, bullied, or smooth-talked into having sex you didn’t want to have, it’s still against your will.

  17. Donna May 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    “If you’ve been pressured, bullied, or smooth-talked into having sex you didn’t want to have, it’s still against your will.”

    Being “smooth-talked” into sex is absolutely NOT rape. Let’s keep rape forcible sex and not just sex you regret in the morning because he doesn’t call.

    I do believe that coercion can SOMETIMES be rape. If your boss threatens to fire you if you don’t sleep with him. If your teacher threatens to fail you if you don’t sleep with him. I’ll kill your family, if you don’t sleep with me. I’ll take custody of our child if you don’t sleep with me. It depends on the circumstances in each situation which is how we should look at life instead of simply saying under 16 = rape.

    However, the law right now absolutely does NOT recognize coercion as rape, unless it’s a threat of physical harm to you or someone else present. If you sleep with your boss because he threatens to fire you, the law views it as sexual harassment, not rape. You could have simply left the job. It refuses to consider that you have a mortgage and 3 kids to support and losing that job will destroy your family. So the boss is not on the registry while the high school senior who has sex with the perfectly willing freshman is.

  18. Katie May 14, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

    Given the belief that sex is reserved for marriage, I think that a Romeo & Juliet sexual relationship is wrong, but it is NOT dangerous. That older boy is not interested in dangerous behaviors, and he’s not going after just anyone or after little children. Thank you, Texas, for trying to see a difference.

  19. C. S. P. Schofield May 14, 2011 at 9:17 pm #


    I have an idea! Let’s pass a law that, in the name of efficiency and saving time, puts EVERYBODY, regardless of age or sex, on the sex offender list, rendering it useless.


  20. Library Diva May 15, 2011 at 12:31 am #

    I think this is a good first step and more states should follow.

    The age of consent in this country is too damn high. It’s not reflective of society. Statistics show that most teens lose their virginity somewhere between the ages of 14 and 16. We’re more open about sex than ever before. We’ve come a long way from the days where your knowledge of reproduction was largely gleaned from farm animals and overheard conversations and never fully pieced together until your wedding night.

    It doesn’t necessarily mean that having sex at those ages is a good idea. But last time I checked, the law wasn’t there to prevent you from having bad experiences. When people have sex at young ages, it is possible that they’ll get their feelings hurt badly, that one party (not necessarily the man) is taking advantage of the other somewhat, using the situation to feel more mature or gain prestige. It’s unfortunate, but it’s not a criminal matter.

    I too have a cousin in law who did jail time and is forced to register for having consensual sex. he’d been with the girl for several years. He was 16 when they met, and she was 14. When he was 19, he decided to break off the relationship. She was hurt and angry and wanted revenge, and by god, she got it. Where’s the protection for him in all of that?

  21. jim May 15, 2011 at 12:59 am #

    Oh Lord, if that was the only common-sense law that Rick “Helmet Hair” Perry had opposed… if there aren’t any of the special interest groups that say “Frog” and the Guv says “How high?” on the way up to oppose it it might pass this time. Sure, when I was 20 I dated a 17 year old but I have to say the force of law alone was enough to keep me away from 16 year olds. Besides which, they are just kids as far as interesting conversation goes. When I was 26 (in Texas, where the age of consent is 17) I had a fling with a girl who turned 18 a few weeks after our first date and like, you know, she was like, you know, a lot of like, you know, fun, but like, you know, we like didn’t have much to talk about because like, you know she could not say a sentence in the English language without saying “like, you know” three or four times. So I went back to grownup women.

  22. Tuppence May 15, 2011 at 1:21 am #

    Have we got feathers?? (what with this being called a “Romeo & Juliet” bill, I figured I stick with the literary references). Dare we hope? Does this bill signify the beginning of the end of the madness? I’ll add the story I know to the others here:

    Two young people met one evening, went home together and had sex. But the girl had lied about her age. She was several years younger than the boy, and not just one year younger, as she had claimed. When the father of the girl found out, he came to the boy’s house, beat him savagely, and broke his jaw. The boy, in the mistaken belief that he lived in a just society, did what anyone who was viciously assaulted should do: He called the cops on him. Guess who got arrested? Guess who can’t find any roommates (and thus an apartment he can afford), who would be willing to have their address registered as where a “sex offender” lives? Hint – It’s not the father of the girl.

  23. K May 15, 2011 at 1:26 am #

    Hey, I have an idea – why don’t we decide to use our judgment?

    One size fits all rules rarely fit anyone.

  24. JP Merzetti May 15, 2011 at 1:37 am #

    Well gee – Romeo & Juliette’s main problem wasn’t sex, or anything having to do with them…it was the older folks with the pickle up their butt, don’tcha know.
    Protecting any child, adolescent, teenager or adult from sexual predation is a fabulous thing; I’m all for it.
    Punishing horny teens for doing the wild thing in the backseat of dad’s (borrowed) car is entirely different. Unwanted pregnancies and STD’s aside, it’s the biggest hypocritical horse-hooey this side of French ticklers & Spanish flies.

    Shall we now add up the portion of the national GDP squeezed directly and indirectly from sex?
    cutesy pink peekaboo tiddly winks……….
    In our culture – it’s like locking up an alcoholic inside a distillery.
    We somehow, amazingly, turn a blind eye to so much of what is sexual because it earns money (sanctified or not)…….and then expect kids to just shrug and blow double bubbles? during what is probably the most riotous hormonal time of their lives?
    Occasionally, kids have been known to have more common sense than a good portion of ah, adults…around them.
    Sad thing though – if these situations were really looked at case by case, instead of McProcessed…then a lot of wrecked lives could have been avoided.

  25. Rhiannon May 15, 2011 at 1:56 am #

    Hang on. In my part of the world, you’re allowed to get married at 16. So how could it ever be an offence to have sex with someone of that age?

  26. Jules May 15, 2011 at 3:27 am #

    Finally…moving forward instead of backward.

  27. Becca May 15, 2011 at 4:17 am #

    I know a guy who got put on the list because he asked a co worker out. He was about 50ish and she was 20 (ok he never had the best sense but still ). She was so offended and claimed hostile work environment and apparently the judge was so grossed out by it that she labeled him a predator and there you go. Really stupid thing is she got fired less than a year later for poor performance. Sometimes word leaked and people were aghast that I didn’t have a problem working with a “sex offender”.

  28. Allie May 15, 2011 at 4:45 am #

    “Paul C, on May 14, 2011 at 04:51 said:

    What about older girls with younger guys?”

    Good question. When I was 18 I dated a 16 yr old, technically we started dating when I was 17 and he was 15 since we started dating right before our birthdays. But we were both high school students so does that make a difference? Or is it because I was a girl and therefore couldn’t corrupt since only boys do that?
    His parents knew how old I was and never had a problem, course we never moved to that “stage” of our relationship before we split but his parents wouldn’t have known that.

    As far as the argument of if being smooth talked into sex is rape or not, I think it just depends on if the person who was smooth talked felt they were under duress of that person harming them physically or emotionally OR worse in a teenage girls mind leaving them. I know was pressured to have sex with some of my boyfriends in high school by them and by my peers because “everybody does it” and “if you really loved me you would” . I never gave in because I was of the mind it they really loved me they wouldn’t push but I can see how some girls (or guys) can be “talked” into having sex before they were truly ready and feeling like they were cheated or raped in a way. Sex is something one must be prepared emotionally and mentally as well as physically.

    I personally think there is to much focus of sex in our everyday life. And busybody lawmakers or parents don’t make it easier by making it out to be something “bad” which therefore most kids automatically want to do it because it’s bad. I mean it is cool to be a teen mom (you might get a tv show!) these days and start having sex by your 13 because of all the hype of it and pressure. But most kids don’t know the negatives of their actions.

    Sex is great but one must understand the consequences of it and not just the typical issues. Bottom line is parents must talk to their kids about sex, all of it- the good, the bad, and the ugly. Don’t leave it for someone else to do and it is not something that will go away if one pretends it doesn’t exist.

  29. BMommy May 15, 2011 at 5:50 am #

    It sounds good to me. My hubby (of 21yrs) and I started to date when I was 17 & he was 22. My parents knew & didn’t have a problems (they married at 21 & 31). My father in-law was another story. He was afraid he would get sued because I was underage & for the 1st year he would not let me in the house until I was 18. It is a stupid law & protects no one.

  30. Donna May 15, 2011 at 6:01 am #

    Rape is an incredibly serious crime, carrying a minimum prison sentence in my state of 25 years without parole and lifetime registry. Let’s really stop equating it with someone “talking you into sex” that you later regret. That demeans rape and women. Choosing to give in to peer pressure is not rape, nor is the man (or woman) wanting sex a rapist. Choosing to have sex before you are ready is a bad life choice, not a crime. The purpose of the law is not to stop you from making bad life choices.

  31. Sunny May 15, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    Donna, you’re the one harming women saying that unless someone holds a gun to your head it isn’t rape. You really, really need to step back and listen when people who were raped are saying what is and isn’t rape, and not tell them they’re just regretting bad sex.

  32. Nicola May 15, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Hooray!!! And from Texas of all places… go figure. Well, maybe if Texas can get the common sense down, the rest of the country can too.

  33. Cynthia May 15, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    Sunny-You’re the one harming men by saying that women can never be complicit. A lot of people, especially young people, don’t understand the mental ramifications of sex. And regrets later do not make it rape. There’s a lot of space between “giving in to peer pressure” and “having a gun to your head”. I have to say I think you’re jumping to conclusions about Donna’s comment, and also taking the very tired line that all women are victims of horrible men.

  34. Donna May 15, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    Sunny, If you actually read my previous post, you will see that I NEVER said that rape is only someone holding a gun to your head. However, I absolutely do not want my daughter, or any other woman, disempowering herself by thinking that being “sweet talked” into sex is rape. Most on this blog live in a world where women have choices. They will make good ones and they will make bad ones but they need to own those bad choices, work through them, learn from them and move on with their lives, not claim victim status when they make a bad choice. They also have control over their sexuality. It is only rape if someone takes that control away and leaves you unable to say “no” whether through physical force, threats of violence, threats of dire consequences (and breaking up with you is almost never a dire consequence), taking advantage of you when you are too drunk or high to comprehend what’s going on (not simply being drunk and engaging in sex that you wouldn’t have if sober), drugging/alcoholing someone with the intent of getting them to consent to sex, taking advantage of someone who doesn’t even know what sex is (through youth or disability), a balance of power so unequal as to effectively take the choice away from the younger party, and similar circumstances. Simple “sweet talking” that has been going on since the Garden of Eden is not rape.

  35. C. S. P. Schofield May 15, 2011 at 9:06 pm #


    Try this one on for size; If women are too immature and vulnerable to make binding decisions about when to have sex …. why do they have the vote?

    Look, sometimes you make awful decisions with shattering consequences. If you are not a child you live with the decisions and deal with the consequences. Society used to shelter women a lot more than it does now. It also used to not allow them to vote, hold property, or enter into binding contracts. The latter is the downside of the former. Are you an adult, or do you need to be protected from the consequences of bad decisions?

  36. Dolly May 15, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    I am with Donna that pressure is not rape. Good Lord. And this is coming from someone who lost their virginity at 15 a month shy of 16 to an 18 year old. There was no rape. I knew what I was doing. He didn’t pressure me. He wanted to, but in the end it was MY decision. I get very tired of women having sex with guys by choice and then crying foul later on that it is all the guy’s fault because he pressured me or I was drunk, etc. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for that kind of attitude or behavior.

    I regret a lot of things but I still take personal responsibility for them. I had a friend claimed her ex boyfriend raped her but you know, she still wanted to go back out with him if he would have her. Yeah, so he raped you, but you still want him? No. If he raped you, you would want him in jail. Then I finally got her to admit it was just more like he pressured her a bit before she willingly gave in. I was like “That is NOT rape!”. I was like 17 so I guess I have always been wise beyond my years.

    I think the way Canada does it sounds pretty good that someone described above. Their needs to be some restrictions but some common sense needs to be established. Many young girls know exactly what they are doing and therefore there is no crime. However when a skeezy 23 year old guy is dating a 14 year old even if she wants it, that is pretty nasty and I would not mind that guy getting punished for it. Maybe not jail time or sex offender list, but community service and counseling and some jail time might teach him to stop doing that in the future. Yuck.

  37. MelP May 15, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

    Amen to this.
    My BIL was convicted and sent to prison for 7 years did 7 more years of probation and will have to register as a sex offender for life. He was 17, waived into adult court and convicted-as an adult- of sexual assualt of a child. The girl was 14(nearly 15). She was a freshman, he was a junior in high school. This happens ALL THE TIME. It’s ridiculous to treat 2 teenagers in a relationship the same as a 50 year old molesting a toddler, but that is what can happen. I never EVER thought I’d say this but GO TEXAS!

  38. Rebecca Menes May 15, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

    Sex Offender Registry is supposed to provide INFORMATION to parents – do any of my neighbors appear to have an uncontrollable tendency to abuse kids. A 19 year old who has sex with his 16 year old girl friend may be guilty of bad judgment. He may, or may not, be guilty of taking advantage of her, manipulating her, pressuring her, and so forth. He may, or may not, deserve punishment for his actions at the time. However, when this man is 30 he will not pose an unusual threat to my 5 year old, or even, probably, to my 16 year old. He might even still be a jerk, but there is no evidence he is a man with an unconquerable lust for little girls.

  39. SgtMom May 16, 2011 at 12:07 am #

    “Uly” :I disagree. If you tell somebody “sleep with me, or I post this dirty picture of you all over the internet and mail it to your parents”, that’s rape”

    No, Uly. It is NOT rape.

    “OR else” means you CHOSE to have sex instead of having your dirty pictures posted on the internet.

    Consenting to sex is not rape.

    I was once faced with this “choice” while serving in the military. I was accused of “falsifying government documents” and facing time in Levenworth prison.

    My married supervisor said he could “make it go away” if I agreed to have sex with him.

    I refused, thinking I could live with going to prison over whoring myself.

    By a miracle of God, the truth came out and I was exonerated.

    It’s called being “ethical”, Uly.

    It’s called taking responsibility by not handing out “dirty pictures” or doing illegal things that put yourself in position to be sexually blackmailed – then crying RAPE when you are safely in the clear.

    I dont’ understand this New Age thinking that women are completely helpless and not responsible for anything that happens.

  40. Uly May 16, 2011 at 12:57 am #

    SgtMom, it IS rape. Blackmailing you with prison was an attempt at rape. Or do you say that when somebody has a gun to your head that’s not rape either because you could’ve just chosen to be shot?

    It’s called taking responsibility by not handing out “dirty pictures” or doing illegal things that put yourself in position to be sexually blackmailed

    Wait – did YOU do illegal things? No? So why assume that others are doing illegal things? What if somebody took the pictures unknown to you? (If they’re going to commit one crime, why not two?)

    I dont’ understand this New Age thinking that women are completely helpless and not responsible for anything that happens.

    This is not about assuming women are helpless. It’s about believing that there are situations of force that can be a little more subtle (admittedly not much more subtle) than physical violence. As far as responsible, I was raised that when one person does something bad, THEY are the ones responsible for THEIR bad actions – nobody else. If I steal from you, that’s MY fault and MY crime. It doesn’t matter if I stole from you by holding a knife to your throat and grabbing your purse or by sending a letter in the mail going “If you don’t leave me $10,000 in unmarked bills I’ll reveal that you killed a man in Reno to watch him die” (or that you are a member of the KKK or that you used to be a drug addict or whatever it is that you’d pay to cover up) or by saying “Come in and work three hours overtime each week without being paid”, it’s still theft and it’s still my crime. EVEN IF you did something that led me to think you’re an easy target (committing blackmailable crimes, say), that just means there are two crimes instead of one.

    Rape is no different, except that it’s a different crime and not theft.

  41. Dolly May 16, 2011 at 1:07 am #

    I always have a policy that #1 don’t do anything that someone can blackmail me for in the first place and #2 even if something comes up where I am being blackmailed, it is better just to come out with the truth to everyone because in the end it is much easier to tell the truth than be blackmailed indefinitely.

    So no, I don’t think blackmail is rape. You always have the option of refusing to be blackmailed by not going along with their game and taking whatever consequences comes from that. I am very feminist in that I feel women are responsible for themselves and men don’t prey on us or take advantage of us in most cases unless we LET them take advantage of us or prey on us. I have never let a man tell me what to do or boss me around or belittle me. The only time a man ever would do the above would be in a criminal matter with weapons or force used on me. No man is ever just going to pressure me or intimidate me into doing something I don’t want to do unless violence or weapons are involved and hell even then I am going down with a FIGHT!

  42. pentamom May 16, 2011 at 2:46 am #

    “It doesn’t matter if I stole from you by holding a knife to your throat and grabbing your purse or by sending a letter in the mail going “If you don’t leave me $10,000 in unmarked bills I’ll reveal that you killed a man in Reno to watch him die”

    But like the difference between rape and blackmail, or rape and criminal sexual harassment, there is a difference between armed robbery and blackmail. Yet both are considered crimes.

    Saying that blackmailing someone into sex isn’t “rape” isn’t saying that it isn’t wrong, or even that it can’t be criminal, it’s just saying it isn’t rape.

  43. Becky May 16, 2011 at 3:43 am #

    Someone upthread mentioned being able to vote but not have sex….. the same logic applies to getting a driver’s license.

    We allow our 16-year old daughters to drive vehicles weighing over a ton, at 55 (or even 65) miles per hour.

    We, as society and as parents, believe 16 year olds are mature enough, informed enough, and capable of handing the mental aspects of driving, the physical aspects of steering the car, and the responsibility that comes with the license.

    We trust them to avoid running people over, killing people, and destroying other property.

    But, we don’t trust them to have sex with their 19 year old boyfriends? Something is wrong with this picture.

  44. Donna May 16, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    I don’t believe that blackmail is generally rape, particularly if you actually did what they are blackmailing you with. If some dude tells you “if you don’t have sex with me, I’ll tell the police you killed a man in Reno,” it’s 100% not rape if you did actually kill a man in Reno. You can choose to sleep with him to cover up your crime or you can refuse and let your crime possibly come to light. Either way, it’s your choice. You don’t get to commit a crime and then call rape to continue to cover it up. If you allowed the dirty pictures to be taken, it’s not rape if you chose to sleep with someone rather than have them made public.

    But it’s not always that cut and dry. Is it rape when the person who actually killed the man in Reno says that he will set you up for the murder and you actually believe him capable of this and that you will, at minimum, spend the rest of your life in prison? How about the boss who threatens to fire and blacklist you when you are a single parent living paycheck to paycheck with no support system and even one lost paycheck means your children will be on the street? The man who threatens to out you as gay knowing your ultra-conservative family will immediately disown you and you will have no place to go? Your abusive husband says that if you don’t blow him that night he will leave you and take the children and you will never see them again, and you know he can accomplish this? The man who threatens to turn you into ICE so that you will be returned to a country you haven’t lived in since you were in infant, where you know nobody and don’t even speak the language very well anymore?

    It’s easy for people with options to say “I would still say no,” but for some, there is no true choice. It is comparable to saying that someone wasn’t raped because they chose not to fight back to avoid being stabbed (something that people actually used to say).

  45. Emiky May 16, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    Ooh, this is nice, and a great Freerange moment. So many of the sex offenders who apparently are out to nab young’ns are just people who happened to have that 18 number between them and consenting sexual partners.

    I would like something similar to that Canada law. I believe sex is ultimately up to the individuals and grey areas will
    always exist. That Canadian policy strikes a fine balance between keeping impressionable kids away from older partners while still acknowledging there could be no problems whatsoever.

  46. Ingrid May 16, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    I disagree with many of the folks here suggesting that many registered sex offenders must just be innocent lovers having sex with partners under 18. I worked with youth sex offenders and heard their stories as they described their crimes. They were horrible, horrible crimes where they took advantage of their victims. At the point where the offender finally told the truth (after attempting to lie 3, 4, and more times under polygraph), there was never any question about the victimization. They were not love stories—and vengeful parents making an accusation are not enough to get anyone on a registered sex offender list. Those I knew on registered lists always had MANY adjudicated crimes and then other non adjudicated, inconclusive things in their files. I would be very skeptical of anyone who told me that they had been unfairly registered as a sex offender because their relationship was “consensual” when a whole host of legal authorities plus a judge deigned it was not. It took a heck of a lot to get the young people I worked with registered as sex offenders.
    There is a lot of shame that goes along with this type of crime—which means there is not a whole lot of willingness to be truthful, and that includes what the offender tells family members, friends, etc.
    I am not sure what I think of this law. I would have a hard time getting behind it.

  47. Martin May 16, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    I agree with Ingrid. While I don’t think that an 18 year old dating (or whatever) a 15 or 16 year old is rape, I do think that there are certain situations that would fall under the old law.

    Some one above said that black and white laws that try to protect everyone end up not protecting anyone. This is very true in this case. Every situation should be treated differently.

    Also, I would like to think that our justice system is fair enough not to entertain parents that don’t like some one though. Through DNA testing and technology I feel that the large majority of people convicted of sex crimes are guilty.

  48. pentamom May 16, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    Okay, Donna, those are fair distinctions.

  49. Lola May 16, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    Re. the “what’s rape and what isn’t” discussion.
    In Spain, the Criminal Code had to banish the term “rape” altogether when it was re-written in 1995. It happens that our Supreme Court had restricted the meaning so much over the years that most offences were not fairly punished. So now we treat them as “Crimes against sexual freedom”, that range from “aggression” to “harassment”, considering “violence” and/or “intimidation” (both are criminal, but punished differently), as the means to violate said sexual freedom.
    Another term would be “abuse”. In the case of people under 13, sexual relationships are always considered abuse. Over that age, one would have to effectively prove that there has been any circumstance that alters the minor’s consent: violence, intimidation, deceit or just a relationship where prevailment is present (typically a teacher/student relationship).
    Oh, and we have nothing like a sexual offenders registry over here.

  50. Donna May 16, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    Please Martin, you have WAY too much faith in the legal system. I had a client charged with stat rape for having consensual sex with someone in the same grade. He was 17; she was 15 (17 is adult in my state). Her mother openly admitted that she was only prosecuting because my client was black and she doesn’t like her daughter sleeping with black boys. Luckily for my client we do have Romeo and Juliet laws and he us not on the registry.

  51. Martin May 16, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

    Donna, if you read my post properly I did state that our laws and justice system should not be entertaining parents like that. Clearly, that situation is not the same as a 20-something and a 15 year old. I stand by my faith of the justice system and the science that backs convictions.

  52. SgtMom May 16, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    Maybe those of you with college bound sons should be looking into the new Title IX kangaroo court system the Obama administration is setting up. Those accused of rape will have no more standard of proof than those of a parking ticket.

    Our military is currently engaging in BTI training – whereby not only can a young man having consentual sex be charged with rape, but any bystander who didn’t try to stop the sex can be charged as well. It’s called Bystander Intervention Training.

    As for you, Ingrid – my son was put through Sex Offender Treatment as an innocent person. It’s a pit bull arena where you are forced to confess to whatever crime you were accused of PLUS all the hundreds of other things you MUST have done, ’cause they allllllllllllll are liars and they allllllll have other victims.

    If they don’t confess, they go to prison. If they pass polygraphs saying they didnt’ do it, and fail polygraphs “admitting” the crime they are not telling the truth – they are not cooperating. They are Dangerous, in Denial, and The Next Ted Bundy!!!!!

    Do I just about have that covered?

    Pol Pot has nothing on these “re education” tortures.

    If these accusations were subject to Constitutional due process standards it would be one thing.

    They are NOT.

    MANY innocent people are on those sex offender registries, Ingrid.

    As long as forced confessions and due prosses rights are denied you’d better believe there are innocent and undeserving people on those registries.

  53. Donna May 17, 2011 at 12:32 am #

    Martin, I work in the criminal justice system and it DOES entertain those actions. The buy WAS arrested and prosecuted. But for Romeo and Juliet laws, this young man would be in prison. The problem with stat rape laws is there is no discretion. If you are over 16 and you have sex with someone under 16 you are guilty of stat rape. Even if you didn’t know she was under 16 because she lied about her age. Even if she showed you a falsified birth certificate proclaiming her over 16. The parents need not even press charges. We’ve had clients charged with stat rape AGAINST the wishes of the “victim’s” parents after the parents were aware the pair were dating and supported the relationship. Your faith in the judicial system is misplaced in this area.

  54. Donna May 17, 2011 at 12:35 am #

    That should be “boy” not “buy.”

  55. Brian May 17, 2011 at 4:44 am #

    So do those commenting here think there should be some age rules or simply no statutory rape laws?

    I dont have much problem with a 2 year rule of some kind under the age of 18–a specific age spread is much more logical than set ages (e.g. under 16).

    I dont mind that a law exists saying that there is a de-facto difference in power that makes any sexual relation between a senior and a freshman a form of rape.

    Now, I also think those laws should protect youth from the adult justice system. I also happen to be very much against sex offender registries in general because i think that it is critical that we try to get people back into jobs/society.

  56. Donna May 17, 2011 at 6:41 am #

    I think stat rape laws should be abolished. First, we should not legislate the age in which someone is ready to have sex. That varies from person to person.

    Nor should we legislate a particular age difference. Due to the difference in maturity between boys and girls, I had absolutely nothing in common with boys in school when I was in high school. I didn’t find them the least bit interesting. They were too immature. Most of my friends felt the same way. Luckily, we lived in a college town so there were guys to date and most of us dated college guys in high school at least some of the time.

    Further, there is no defense whatsoever to these laws. Pick up a 15 year old drinking in a bar with a fake ID? Oh well, have a nice time in prison because that’s where you are headed, even if you would never in a million years have touched her if you had known she was under 16. Girl tells you she is 16, parents know you are dating and don’t care? Oh well, don’t bend over when you pick up the soap in prison.

    Nor should we put people in prison for years, brand them sex offenders (the worst human beings on the planet according to most) and basically end their productive lives based on a de facto age that has no basis in reality and is based on nothing more than the idea that we don’t want girls under a certain age having sex (face it, the law is aimed at protecting girls).

    The court system should not ASSUME a power difference based on age alone. The State should be required to show ACTUAL facts that prove that the consent was invalid, regardless of age of the participants. Age can be one of those facts but it shouldn’t be a completely undefensible violation of the law carrying serious, lifelong penalties.

  57. Dolly May 17, 2011 at 7:03 am #

    I am with Donna that there would need to be facts presented and taken into consideration by a jury and judge and police etc before prosecution as stat rape or a sex crime. Such as how mentally mature the girl and the boy are. Does the girl admit to consenting? Were they dating previously and for how long? Did the parents know about the relationship and give their consent? How did they meet? How many other sexual partners and at what ages has the girl had? What age did the girl tell the guy she was?

    All these things need to be taken into account. It is not open and shut. Girls lie about their age. Some girls mature physically and mentally faster than others. Some boys mature mentally and physically slower than others. Some parents are okay with it (mine were okay with me dating an 18 year old when I was 15). If the girl admits to consenting that should make a difference. If the girl still is in love with and wants the boy that should make a difference.

    It is not the government’s job to really judge on many of these issues. Sure, if a REAL crime has taken place then the government should be involved. Otherwise they need to butt out!

    Heck Kobe Bryant himself was in the situation where he knocked up a girl that was underage and her parents said Marry her or we put you in jail. So he married her when he certainly did not want to. It was just a hoochie one night stand deal. Then the public acts shocked when he cheats on her. I wasn’t. I knew he never wanted to marry her in the first place!

    I have guy friends who make girls take out their IDS and then snap a pic on their camera phone of the ID and the girl holding it so if it turns out she is underage they have proof that as far as they knew, she was legal. Not a bad idea honestly even though it still might not get you out of trouble.

  58. Sera May 17, 2011 at 7:51 am #

    Ugh. Good lord. Why is it that so many people can’t think of anything except in black and white, and consider law the same as morality?

    First, to quote the article:

    Currently, a man who is 18, 19 or 20 in a consensual sexual relationship with a girl under 17 could be convicted of sexual assault of a minor and would be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

    The law currently defines any sex with a minor, whether consensual or not, as child rape. As in, a man who has sex with a 15/16/17 year old girl, in which she is a willing participant or even the initiator, is treated the same as him forcing her down and having his way with her. This, I think you should all agree, is wrong.

    The legal age is set where it is because at some point in the past, someone has decided that too many people under that age don’t or can’t understand the consequences of sex and are too irresponsible to participate in said activity. It’s the same with driving or voting or smoking or drinking. I can tell you right now: that thinking is incorrect. I have met far too many men and women who are in their early 20s and are still totally, totally irresponsible about sex. These people still think that the pull-out method is a viable form of birth control, that whining about using condoms for a one night stand is ok (or that condoms in that case aren’t necessary, in the case of some women), and that getting drunk at a party and waking up next to somebody you presumably slept with last night is a normal method of having sex.

    These are people who have been legal for over four years now. Some of these people I went to school with and took the same sex ed lessons I did. They didn’t listen. I did, and I knew all about safe sex from that time onward and what the consequences were for not being safe and clever. I knew all about the different forms of birth control and their success rates (i.e. I knew that condoms and the pill were birth control whereas douching and its 60% success rate or whatever is not.). Seriously, if your teen isn’t going to pay attention in sex ed and be totally irresponsible, they’re still going to be totally irresponsible for a fair slab of the time after they’ve become legal. If your 15-year-old isn’t terrified enough of an unwanted pregnancy or an STD that she will have for the rest of her life if she doesn’t use condoms and/or the pill, you’re parenting wrong.

    Unfortunately, the law leaves a gap – a gap between the age where children are largely prepubescent and really don’t have any understanding of sex or any ability to consent to it, and the age where they are legally allowed to consent (16 here, 18 in some places over there). This gap entails a period where there are teens who do understand sex and want to do it – but are considered by law to be the same as the children who don’t, and therefore become dangerous legal and social traps.

    No, there should most certainly not be any sort of “within the same age” kind of limit. That is, plainly put, retarded. Consent is consent and rape is rape. These are two entirely different things which are totally different and have no bearing at all on the age of either participant. If a 15-year-old wants to have sex with someone, there’s really no difference between her having sex with a 17-year-old, a 19-year-old, or a 30-year-old. I lost my virginity at 17 to my boyfriend of the time – he was 26. Under the age limiting laws some of you are proposing (and assuming that I was somewhere where I was underage – 16 is legal here), that would be totally rape because he was 9 years older than me. No. Not at all. That sex was something I did entirely of my own volition and you may not dictate or limit who I may have sex with on the grounds that because one partner is older that must mean that there is no consent from the younger party, or there must be some sort of manipulating going on. I consent, and that is the end of the matter. The 26 year old has the same capacity to manipulate me as another 17 year old, and I have the same capacity to refuse to do anything I’m not comfortable with.

    I would say that there should be some sort of small punishment for both parties for sex with a minor because it’s irresponsible behaviour – a la underage drinking, you punish the enabler and the underage drinker – but I’m afraid that that would lead to a lot of teens lying through their teeth about whether or not the sex was consensual to get themselves out of trouble.

  59. Donna May 17, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    “It’s the same with driving or voting or smoking or drinking.”

    The major difference between sex and these other things is that sex is a biological imperative, the others are privileges granted by the state. While many enjoy driving, voting, drinking and even smoking, those things are not necessary for life to continue to exist on the planet (some would even hinder that goal). On the other hand, human beings are created to want and crave sex. It is the only way that human life continues. And the hormones that cause that wanting are in existence before age 16, 17 and 18.

    I’m not saying that we can’t control those cravings, just that it’s a whole lot different to say to someone “you can’t have sex until you’re 16 even though your body is telling you to do it” than it is to say you can’t drink until you’re 21. And then to follow that up with “oh and, by the way, if you do choose to do what your body is telling you to do, there will be absolutely no penalty to you whatsoever under the law, although we might throw your partner in prison.”

  60. Sera May 17, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    I think a lot of these sorts of laws and thinking stem from the – unfortunate and misguided – way that many men feel about getting a woman to have sex with them.

    A lot of men seem to feel that getting an particular woman to have sex with them is like climbing a mountain. The man can fail – but that failure is entirely due to the man, because the mountain is an inanimate object and can’t actually choose to buck a climber off or be “not ready” to be climbed. A man can fail to climb a mountain because he’s not fit enough, or doesn’t have the right equipment, or approached the task the wrong way (i.e. he wasn’t charming enough, or doesn’t have a nice enough job or car, wasn’t dressed the right way, etc.). If he can then go away and fix those issues, practice, get better equipment, he can have another shot and maybe succeed. The mountain is at a set challenge level, and hence, theoretically, ANY man can find the right approach, get the right/good enough equipment, and finally climb it.

    So, in short, the woman doesn’t actually have a choice in the matter per se, she’s just sitting there waiting for a man to learn how to break through her defenses.

    If you get a bunch of men thinking like this, that’s a bunch of men who think their young, impressionable daughters are all just sitting there waiting for a sufficiently charming older man to come and take sexual advantage of them. Hence, laws like this.

    Like I said, I became ready to have sex when I was 17. I had sex at 17. I don’t regret it at all. Most of my friends and acquaintances decided they were ready well before me (I was late into puberty too, got my first period at 14), and had sex earlier in life than I did, at 15 or 16. Most of them, male and female, were ready and did not regret the sex later. Some did regret it later but – here’s the important thing – they were not taken advantage of by the other party. That being said – I know a woman who lost her virginity at 24 and regrets it because she wasn’t ready.

    Age of consent does not protect anybody from having sex before they’re ready to. Existing rape laws cover all of the ground that’s needed to protect people from having sex that they don’t want – but that is very different from people having sex that they do want but regret later because they made a bad or stupid decision.

    “Peer pressure” is a terrible argument to use because peer pressure seems to very easily surpass the law. Kids are peer pressured into smoking, drinking, graffiti-ing, doing drugs, or whatever else dangerous, stupid and/or illegal all the time. Interestingly enough, throughout my entire teenage years I was totally resistant to be peer pressured into doing anything that was against any strong convictions that I had. Sure, I was peer pressured into doing a lot of smaller things, making adjustments to my life to make me more popular and fit more smoothly with everybody else, but no way in hell was anybody able to pressure me into doing something as drastic as having sex against my will. Or, for that matter, smoking. Or doing something physically dangerous (like climbing up a tree or onto a roof that required strength or agility I simply did not possess). If you have a child that’s so insecure that they’re actually prepared to do something as drastic as have sex with someone when she doesn’t want to because it will make her more popular, you have a seriously high-risk child on your hands already. Something is already very wrong. This issue should have been noticed and addressed WAY before it got to the “unwanted sex” stage.

    “Peer pressure” or “smooth talking” is totally different from coercion, wherein the victim is threatened with a dire consequence unless he/she gives into your demands (in this case for sex), which is again totally different from rape, wherein the victim is physically forced into sex and has absolutely no choice or power in the matter at all. The last two are most certainly wrong, create a victim scenario and the perpetrator needs to be punished. The difference in type or extent of punishment between the two, though, I’m not sure about. “Peer pressure”, however, is nowhere near either of those two scenarios.

    Nobody, nobody, should have the right to tell me I’ve been raped if I feel that I haven’t. Nobody should ever have the right to make me into a victim or a matyr if I’m not. This is just as true now as it was when I was 15, or 17. This is just as true for all teens when the nanny state swoops in and says “regardless of how you want to treat this personal and intimate issue in your lives, you may not dictate how it is interpreted or treated, because you are wrong about your own lives and your own decisions.”

  61. Brian May 17, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    I concede that there is a gray line where a mature high school girl in a college town ends up with a college guy. There is a line there and I think providing an age spread range fixes this problem.

    But I dont mind that there is a law in place that says a father cant sleep with the 14 year old babysitter who might be feeling all sorts of hormonal crushes on him. It may be totally consensual, but its child rape. This is a child who legally cant vote, cant smoke and move out on his/her own. I dont care if she testifies that she is in love with him, fantasizes about him, seduces him, etc. She is 14 years old.

    The point is that teenagers are confused sexually. These laws protect them from themselves as much as from others.

  62. Donna May 18, 2011 at 3:51 am #

    It is not the job of the law to protect you from yourself! It is not the job of the law to ensure that you don’t make a bad decision. It is not the job of the law to see that you don’t pick the wrong person to have sex with. It is not the job of the law to see that you don’t get pregnant or an STD. It is not the job of the law to take the confusion out of being a teenager. All that is the job of the parents. If the parents are not doing their job, I fail to see any rationale for then making some 3rd party responsible for the parents lack of teaching their children to make responsible decisions.

    As for the 14 year old willingly having sex with the father, the father is icky (but frankly, I find a 60 year old man having sex with a 22 year old girl, icky and there is nothing illegal about that so icky does not equal illegal) but he hasn’t committed rape unless it can be proven that the girl truly didn’t consent (didn’t know what sex was, didn’t think she could say no, or something similar). Many 14 year old girls know what they want, even about sex. We adults may all believe that is the completely WRONG decision but, again, it’s not the job of the law to see to it that you never make a wrong decision about sex. If the 14 year old wanted to have sex with the father and did not feel pressured or compelled, and there is no evidence that the father actually did pressure her, then it should not be rape. Since 14 year old girls are sometimes attracted to 30 year old men, I don’t think we can assume that he must have used some kind of coercion. I would have done my french teacher at 15 if he had been interested without a second thought. No coercion necessary. Sadly, he was happily married and not interested but all it would have taken was the okay from him.

  63. Sera May 18, 2011 at 10:03 am #


    That’s really not a good way of thinking at all. By putting that rule in place, you’re saying the following:

    1) It’s ok for the 14 year old to have sex, as long as the law (i.e. strangers) can dictate WHO she may have sex with.

    2) Although the 14-year-old is confused and hormonal, it’s somehow ok or more ok for her to have confused, hormonal sex with a 12-, 14- or 16- year old, but not with a 30-year old. Why is this exactly? Is the penetration not going to hurt as much? Will there be less chance of her getting pregnant or STDs? I direct you to the case of 13-year-old Alfie and 15-year-old Chantelle… and their baby.

    3) It’s totally ok to equate a 30-year-old man who has sex with a girl who is willing or even initiates it, to a 30-year-old man who forces a young girl down and shoves himself into her while she’s struggling and screaming for him to stop. Consent should never be equated to rape of any sort.

    4) It’s also totally ok for the law (again, strangers) to tell a teenager that although she felt she knew what she was doing at the time, she didn’t feel wrong about it, and she STILL doesn’t feel wrong about it, that her judgement is wrong, her thinking is wrong, that she doesn’t know her own mind or what she wants, and really, she’s a victim, even though she doesn’t know it. I’ve been in a similar position before (nothing to do with any kind of sex), and let me tell you: if you’re young and you’re told that often enough and firmly enough, you start to really doubt your own mental processes. That leads to thinking “Who am I, really? I used to know but now I’m not sure.” and “I think I’m right… but I can’t trust myself to make the right judgement. I’m confused.” and “Oh god, I’m defective aren’t I? What’s wrong with me???”

  64. Lauren May 18, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Yes. I lived in a small, close-knit neighborhood when I heard that a sex offender was moving in. After some research, I discovered he had been 18, she was something like 15 or 16. Probably both in high school. I never met him, but he was in his 20s and had moved in with his grandmother or something. Nothing to worry about. Laws need to be revised, and people need to take a breath before panicking about a sex offender. If he had been a child molester, I would have been cautious. In this case, I got to know the grandmother, and felt perfectly comfortable about his legal status.

  65. Brian May 18, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    Serra you make really interesting points. Your arguments are certainly thought provoking. Especially about esentially telling boys/girls who they can have sex with.

    In the end though, I dont agree for the same reason that I dont think that 16 year olds should be able to buy booze, join the army, be tried as an adult or vote. There is a maturation process that occurs in your teens where physical/biochemical processes in the brain change. Your physical ability to process the world around you is growing.

    Donna–the one thing I totally disagree with is that laws should help protect us from ourselves and in so doing protect society more broadly.

    Seat belt laws are a perfect example. They statistically do save lives. That means more families where both parents are home to help raise children and earn a living. It also means less medical costs to help save people who could have prevented the injury to begin with.

    Same goes for the other social issues you raise. prevention saves lives, money and builds stronger nation states. That is in the interest of the Laws from the beginning of nations.

  66. Library Diva May 19, 2011 at 12:17 am #

    “The point is that teenagers are confused sexually. These laws protect them from themselves as much as from others.”

    True, they often are, but is that confusion a criminal matter?

  67. Donna May 19, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    “the one thing I totally disagree with is that laws should help protect us from ourselves and in so doing protect society more broadly.
    Seat belt laws are a perfect example.”

    Seatbelt laws ARE a perfect example. I’m actually opposed to them as well although I do wear my seatbelt because it’s silly not to. But like most laws effecting the “common good” the penalty is minimal if you choose not to abide by the law – $25 fine in my state. Those types of penalties are marginally okay for the “common good.” Sending someone to prison, branding them the most evil type of person on the planet, limiting where they can work and play for the rest of their lives, is beyond that which should be given to protect 14 year olds from themselves.

    And the fine goes to the person who is actually not wearing the seatbelt, not some 3rd party. How exactly does putting someone ELSE in prison for many years protect a 14 year old from themselves? Putting a 14 year old in prison for many years may stop many other 14 year olds from having sex for fear of the same thing happening to them, but teenagers not being the most altruistic group, I fail to see any motivation for them to stop by putting other people in prison.

    And, frankly, driving a car is a privilege granted by the State. Absent a license issued by the State, you have absolutely no right to drive a car, with or without a seatbelt. The State can put whatever restrictions it wants on you during that activity for the “public good.” You can abide by those restrictions or opt yourself out of the privilege of driving. Sex is not a privilege granted by the State. You have the right to have sex just by being a human being. Regulating something that every human being is entitled to engage in just on the basis of being human for the “public good” should not be allowed. Many believe that premarital sex is against the “public good.” Afterall, in your own words “that means more families where both parents are home to help raise children and earn a living.” Do we make premarital sex illegal? How about gay sex? Mandating the use of condoms? Where is it okay to draw the line at legislating the private acts of individuals?

  68. Kate May 24, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    I’m late to the game here, but I’m ASTONISHED no one else has said anything about this…

    Dolly said:
    I get very tired of women having sex with guys by choice and then crying foul later on that it is all the guy’s fault because he pressured me or I was drunk, etc. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for that kind of attitude or behavior.
    Dolly, PLEASE tell me that you are aware that drunk people cannot consent to anything, INCLUDING sex? Most tattoo artists won’t tatt a drunk person, contracts signed under intoxication can be found void in court… Sex, an agreement between two people, falls under that same logic. A drunk person simply isn’t capable of consenting to sex.

  69. Donna May 28, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    “A drunk person simply isn’t capable of consenting to sex.”

    A drunk person IS capable of consenting to sex (and crimes and contracts and anything else). A person so drunk as to be INCOHERENT is not capable of consenting to sex. But there is a lot of room between having a drink and completely not understanding what is going on around you through which a person would be drunk but able to consent to sex. If the person knows what sex is and wants sex at the time, it’s consensual. The fact that you sobered up and realized that was a bad choice does not make it rape.

    A tattoo artist won’t tatt a drunk person because of the physical liability. And a contract entered into by a drunk person is only void if the drunk person was INCOHERENT and didn’t understand what was happening at the time. A contract is perfectly enforceable if the drunk person understood the contract and meant to enter into it at the time it was signed. The fact that it was something that you would never have agreed to sober is mostly irrelevant (unless the other person intentionally got you drunk to get you to sign a bad contract). And being drunk is NEVER a defense to a crime (again, unless it’s accidental), even conspiracy (and AGREEMENT between 2 parties to commit a criminal act). Under your theory a drunk guy could be charged with having consensual sex with a drunk girl since he can form the intent to have sex but she can’t. That’s equality for you.

  70. Anthony May 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    If you guys think that calling 18 year olds sex offenders is bad, stay out of Canada. A recent supreme court case declared that it is impossible to give consent to any sexual act that will occur when you are asleep. This may not seem so bad but it explicitly includes things like a giving your spouse a kiss when you wake up in the morning and they are still sleeping, or cuddling up to a sleeping partner. Even if your partner requested a kiss, kissed you back when he/she woke up and said “thanks for the kiss”, you still committed sexual assault and could be charged even years later.

    Overnight every sexually active Canadian became a serial sex offender.


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