July 18, 2006

Pedophilia - age of consent

Well, everyone is having a blast with the Dutch judge throwing out the request to bar a pro-pedophile party from running in the elections. Why shouldn't I...

The party advocates lowering the age of consent (AOC), from the current level of 16 to 12. It's not clear from the blurbs whether this is a full age of consent, or whether they would allow for limits on the age difference of the partners.

So here are some thoughts:
1. AOC in Canada is 14, although under some circumstances (largely age of partner), sex over 12 is not a crime. Countries as diverse as Albania, China, Chile, Columbia and Croatia do not criminalise sex if the youngest partner is over 14. Germany also doesn't see sex over 14 as a crime, if the older partner is under 18. Similar in South Carolina, Missouri and Iowa. Countries like Zimbabwe, Uruguay and Syria have even lower ages of consent (12 or 13). Odd countries? Perhaps, but age of consent is also 13 in Spain and South Korea. In Mexico, the laws are complicated but don't necessarily criminalise intercourse over the age of 12 (again depends on age of partner, but also many local laws apply). So when this party advocates lowering the age at which sex is by definition a criminal act to 12, it is not completely beyond the pale.
2. I am at least as appaled by 70-year old businessmen playing at 20-year old waitresses as by 20-year olds hitting on 15-year olds. It may be legal in most places, but it really doesn't seem right. One has to assume that these relationships are unbalanced. And in the end, AOC rules are all about protecting the weak from the powerful, aren't they? Quite a few of these laws take into account relative age differences. That makes a lot of sense to me.
3. What is the point of criminalising any and all sexual behaviour of, say, 13-year olds? It's not like that will stop them from doing it. Or does anyone really believe that people in Tunisia don't have sex until they're 20? If you want to prohibit the 40-year old creep with a penchant for 12-year olds from acting on his impulses, you criminalize it. But you don't need to criminalize all sexual contacts of 12-year olds in order to achieve this. And yeah, I think most 12-year olds don't know what they get into when they start having sex (and they do, unfortunately). I also don't think most 16-year olds have a clue, and a good lot of 20-year olds seem to be barely sentient on the matter. But as with most social laws, you need to be exceedingly careful and target them as accurate a possible.
4. I like the idea of having these guys in a party. At least you know who they are. Probably keeps them on the straight and narrow...

In the end, the judicial ruling was largely on technicalities. Judisprudence, being more than half "prudence" is right to let these guys run. As the judge said, moral outrage is not sufficient grounds to ban a party. I think few parties would survive a moral purge, in the Netherlands or anywhere else... And as long as we're talking about a 3-people party, there's not that much to worry about.

For the record, I don't think that sex under 16 is a good idea, no matter how mature the kid seems. But I don't think that it should be illegal unless there is a good reason for it. Without having made a deep study of the matter, I would peg the first level of AOC at 13, with a progressive limit on the age difference between the partner. Full AOC would be 25. Rental agencies don't let you drive cars without extra insurance until you're 25 either... And sexual relationships with people that are younger than your own children or older than your own parents should be illegal as well.

Just my 2p.

Labels: , ,


Blogger DA said...

Good thinking, amen. I could add my two eurocents: this is all about testing the borders of our quasi cultural "Tolerance" approach. Wheter it is on pedo's, bestiality, inmates on TBS, legalizing drugs or any other form of behavioural deviation we tend to choose the mild approach. I say mild approaches suck big time. Our youth (and adults for that matter) need strickt law and guidance. our Tolerance approach has lead us nowhere. These kind of issues shouldn't even be an issue in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I am not the communist guy and am greatful for our automous liberal society, but it comes with great responibility and unfortunately too many people just can't handle that.

9:47 AM  
Blogger vidivici said...

I'm a 22 years old italian guy (here the AOC is 14) and I have to disagree with you on some points.
I respect the idea of defending the younglings from "the bad scary world" but here we are going a little out of bounds. Love is the highest sentiment a person can express and when two people fall in love nothing else matters. If I 22yo fall in love with a 70yo what's the problem with you? If a 15yo fall in love with a 25yo, what's the problem again? Trying to stop this feeling should be considered a crime! Obviously we can't let our guard down, there are (and always will be) people ready to push the thing over its limit. We should continue our fight against child pornography, child prostitution, sexual abuses etc.

Anyway, from my POW the 14yo limit in my country is a fair deal.
On the other hand the 12yo limit applied in the Vatican City seems to me a little too low.

11:42 PM  
Blogger vidivici said...

Ah, another thing... The term Pedophilia doesn't mean "having sex with an underage person".
I'm quoting from Wikipedia:

Pedophilia (or paedophilia) is a psychiatric disorder in adults or late adolescents (persons age 16 and older) characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children.

These include the presence of sexually arousing fantasies, behaviors or urges that involve some kind of sexual activity with a prepubescent child (age 12 or younger, though puberty can vary) for six months or more, and that the subject has acted on these urges or suffers from distress as a result of having these feelings.

As you can see the term apply only if the partner is prepubescent.
The word pedophilia is largely misused by many nowadays.

11:50 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home