A California man I knew long ago is currently in the hot waters of moral indignation and lust for punishment. His alleged crime: having sex with a sixteen-year-old girl, whom I shall correctly call a woman, from June to September a few years ago. At the time he was fifty-four. The district attorney, no doubt an ambitious moral guardian, has added a seventh felony charge stemming from a year-long romance the man supposedly had a decade earlier with a girl of fifteen who’s now in her mid-twenties.
I must emphasize that the man, who in the most recent case was serving as a volunteer high school softball coach, should not have been romantically involved with any of the students, even if they’d been age eighteen, that arbitrary and increasingly absurd designation some states pretend is the earliest women are capable of rationally deciding to have sex with males. The accused man has pled not guilty and his case will soon go to trial, if there isn’t a plea bargain.
Since I don’t have any children and have never had sex with a woman under age eighteen, I decided to learn what wiser and more experienced people around the world believe and have forged into laws.
First, in these United States of America, only twelve states establish age eighteen as the minimum. Surprisingly, liberal bastions California and Oregon are among the strictest group. Conversely, havens of biblical conservatism Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina permit women of sixteen to say yes. In Texas the age of consent is seventeen, but girls of fourteen can proceed as long as the male is no more than three years older. Statutory rape laws also now pertain to boys and young men. Around the nation quite a few female teachers have been arrested for dallying with male students underage according to the standards of their states.
Our vast Canadian neighbor to the north also permits women of sixteen to grant legal embrace. Mexican amigos to the south, like us, do not have a national law, and allow states to determine when girls can say sí, but I stress their age range of twelve to fourteen is much too low. Most of South America decrees that women of thirteen or fourteen are legal, and no country on that huge continent requires an age higher than sixteen.
What about our wealthy and democratic European allies, what do they believe? Sixteen is the highest minimum age on the continent – except Ireland, where seventeen is okay – and many nations stipulate that ages thirteen, fourteen, or fifteen are legal. Further east, the Russian colossus and almost all the former Soviet republics have sixteen as the age of consent. In China girls only need to be fourteen. In the Philippines, native land of my wife, the age of consent is but twelve.
California therefore, for the most part, shares its draconian statutory rape laws and doctrines with only eleven U.S. states, India, Turkey, and several African nations such as Uganda and Kenya.
And what of Libya, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and a few others in that troubled region? According to their laws, people must be married to have sex. Gracious, they’re even stricter than California.
Let’s try making sixteen the national age of consent.