Thursday, August 1, 2019

Per Alan Dershowitz: Statutory Rape IS an Outdated Concept

We've shared previously that, per the New York Magazine cover story "Childhood in New York City", the term "[...] child" is a label, not a reality."

And we related from Mary E. Odem's Delinquent Daughters that it was widely believed by feminists and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) that before the 19th century and up until the early 20th century a girl’s “sexual purity” could only be taken unwillingly through physical and/or mental seduction. 

Furthermore, the notion was denied that nymphets had sexual desires. Therefore, feminists blamed “dirty old men” for the promiscuous behavior young women; thus, they lobbied to raise the age of consent. Their hope was that the threat of jail time would stop men from seducing nymphets. 

The WCTU campaign spread around the country, was attached to the woman’s suffrage movement, and due to that joint effort, by 1920 almost every state in North America raised the age of consent to sixteen or eighteen. 

However, there were two attempts, one in Kansas in 1889 and one in New York in 1890, to lower the age of consent to twelve and fourteen, respectively. But those attempts by legislators were fought against by feminists and obviously were unsuccessful.

Even though the age of consent in France is a mere fifteen-years-old, in 1977 over sixty prominent male and female French intellectuals from physicians to professors signed a petition against the land’s age of consent laws. The essential argument of the group was that as long as sex between an adult and someone under the age of fifteen was consensual and does not include violence, money, or any form of prostitution, then it should be legalized. The group could not understand how it was legal to distribute birth control pills to thirteen-year-old girls in France, but it was illegal for those same girls to have sex [with older men].

In addition, Alan Dershowitz, the (in)famous attorney and former Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, opined in a 1997 Los Angeles Times op-ed piece that "Statutory Rape IS an Outdated Concept". Dershowitz wrote:

If a 16-year-old can have an abortion, she should be able to have sex.

According to the National Survey of Family Growth, almost 60% of the women shared that they had sex while they were nymphets.

"[...] very few statutory rape charges actually are brought. They laws remain on the books, poised to be used selectively in certain kinds of high visibility cases."

"[For example] Michael Kennedy [...] had an affair with his children's babysitter, who is now a 19-year-old college student. There is no hard evidence that there was a sexual encounter between Kennedy and the babysitter before her 16th birthday [...] [Thus] there is no criminal case of statutory rape [...]"

"In the absence of physical evidence-such as pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease-a charge of statutory rape generally requires testimony by the victim. But since the sex was consensual, it is rare [...] (if the sex was not consensual [...] it is ordinary rape rather than statutory rape). Thus 99% of cases of statutory rape are not prosecuted.

"[...] there must be criminal sanctions against sex with very young children, but it is doubtful whether such sanctions should apply to teenagers [...] since voluntary sex is so common in their age group"

"[...] the age of consent should be lowered. It certainly should not be as high as 17 or 16. Reasonable people can disagree over whether is should be as low as 14. Fifteen would seem like an appropriate compromise."

[...] the Supreme Court's recognition of a young woman's rights to choose abortion-without interference from her parents or the state-suggests a degree of autonomy that seems inconsistent with making it a felony to have sex with a mature, consenting 16-year-old.

Dershowitz tweeted on July 29, 2019 that he stands by his op-ed. Interestingly, the tweet received almost 8,000 Likes. 

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