Statutory Rape

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Statutory Rape Laws

The term "statutory rape" is used when the government considers people under a certain age to be unable to give consent to sex and therefore consider sexual contact with them to be a rape. The age at which individuals are considered to give consent is called the age of consent. The age of consent can ranging from thirteen to twenty-one, depending on the limits set by each state in accordance with local standards of morality. Even sex that violates the age-of-consent laws but is neither violent nor physically forced is described as statutory rape. In most jurisdictions, the expressions "under-age sex" or "sex with a minor" are more commonly used. After many years of prosecuting statutory rape laws, some people are being to question whether or not these laws when concerning non-violent "sex with a minor" are actually appropriate and effective in protecting the rights of minors. The people who support statutory rape laws would argue that in any relationship where one legal aged partner is significantly older than the other, the older of the two has a greater power advantage over the younger. Thus even if a person under the age of consent agrees to sexual activity, it is still considered lawfully to be rape, because that person is not mature enough to make a well thought-out decision. Adults fear that the younger person in the relationship may be unconsciously forced emotionally, if not physically, into engaging in sexual acts with their partner. According to the Taking Sides (Issue 17), "Statutory rape laws are designed, in part, to keep these types of unequal relationships from becoming human nature." Others who disagree with statutory rape laws claim that the problem arises when young legal aged men, are sentenced to jail for statutory rape based solely on the age difference between him and his partner. These convicted young men state that once the parents of their younger partner find out about the two having sex, the parents just wanted to punish the men. The argument for the opponents of statutory rape laws declared that some teenagers mature faster than others. Consequently, people no matter the age should able to make their own decisions regarding sex, so long as sex remains consensual by both parties. But then again, how can one prove that the younger teenager is more mature than that of their average age? Personally, I support the United States prosecuting statutory rape laws, however I believe that the lines of what qualifies as statutory rape seem to have gotten blurrier as time passed. Therefore, the government should create a clear differentiation between the two types of statutory rapes and then a set of clear guidelines should be constructed. The first form of statutory rape occurs when a person violently rapes an unwilling child under the age of consent, whether that person is a stranger or family member (incest). This form is defined and in some cases more serious, deserving harsher punishment than the other. The second kind of statutory rape is when a person of legally age is accused of rape, by reason of committing sexual activities with their significantly younger partner. Under this circumstance, "sex with a minor", is when things are no longer only black and white. Violent rape is rape; no matter how old the victim; on the other hand "under age sex" gets tricky. I suppose what is problematic about the second situation is that different states have different ages of consent. For instance, in California an eighteen-year-old boy could technically be put in jail for having sex with his seventeen-year-old girlfriend, because the age of consent in California is eighteen. However, this situation would be fine if the two "love birds" lived in Hawaii, where the age of consent is fourteen. Is it fair that depending on the state we reside in, determines who we date? Also, is it right that an eighteen-year-old is wrong for having a sexual relationship with a girl who is only one...
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