Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Respectably-Dressed Sensible Demure Lady Stroll

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  • bmk, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Thanks - that is similar to other experiences I have found. No doubt there are situations with power imbalances but there are plenty of other cases where the girl is mature enough to decide for herself if she wants to sleep with a slightly older guy.

    The strict adherence to ages can cause real problems as illustrated in the example I gave in previous situation.

    Perhaps the ideal would be a two-tiered consent age. A lower consent age but a limit on age separation ie. a 16 year old and a 14 year old is ok but a 14 year old and a 25 year old is not ok.

    But situations like this are just so hard. Cause each situation is different and laws are black and white. I was so glad in the case I mentioned the police didn't charge my friend and used discretion - the police told my friend (after talking to his girl friend) that her parents were being unreasonable but they were largely bound by the law - it was good though that they got them to change their mind.

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    I just refuse to accept that a French word is being used to adjectivise an Italian city.

    That's the English for you.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to bmk,

    Perhaps the ideal would be a two-tiered consent age. A lower consent age but a limit on age separation ie. a 16 year old and a 14 year old is ok but a 14 year old and a 25 year old is not ok.

    This is basically what the Labour government was doing in 2004 – by establishing a narrow age gap as a defence in cases under the age of consent law, in the Crimes Amendment (No 2) Bill. It was a sensible, sensitive thing to do.

    Sadly, the Sunday Star Times led a howling moral panic – based in part on facts that just seemed to be made up – that quite quickly forced a backdown.

    I ranted about it at the time.

    Still, the rest of the bill was largely well-considered and backed by evidence. It went some difficult places, including the sexual rights of the intellectually disabled. I miss those evidence-y days.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Not sure if anyone's linked to this already: SlutWalk Stockholm's list of sexual assault prevention tips.

    My favourite: "10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do."

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    The first Love Of My LIfe was a scrape under three years older than I, and I was ready for sex well before he was.

    Goodness me, I was perfectly ready, in a physical sense, for sex at the age of 12. I sorely doubt it would have done me a lick of harm, unless I got someone pregnant or caught something. It was a long and frustrating wait, I tell you.

    Edit: I guess I've always been a little bit suss of the claims of girls to maturity beyond their years, since I got plenty of interest from girls my age, until they actually found out my age - I always looked way older than I am. It was especially telling on one occasion that a girl was coming on to me for ages, then a chance remark mentioned that I was swotting for 6th Form Cert, and she said "Whaaat? I thought you were 19", and then just walked off to find some older guy. A 19 year old girl I was having a great old chinwag with after a bit of rocking on in a nightclub once asked if we could go home and I said it would have to be her place, my folks wouldn't approve. She asked how old I was and actually recoiled in horror when I told her 14. Everyone always told me I should have lied, but I didn't want that to be the start of a relationship.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Sam Vilain, in reply to bmk,

    Perhaps the ideal would be a two-tiered consent age. A lower consent age but a limit on age separation ie. a 16 year old and a 14 year old is ok but a 14 year old and a 25 year old is not ok

    The standard formula is half your age, plus 7.

    San Francisco (was Wellin… • Since Jun 2007 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale, in reply to bmk,

    Perhaps the ideal would be a two-tiered consent age. A lower consent age but a limit on age separation ie. a 16 year old and a 14 year old is ok but a 14 year old and a 25 year old is not ok.

    I think there is also value in encouraging preteens (and up) to evaluate this kind of major age discrepancy from both sides.

    It's easy, when you're 14, to see a relationship with someone much older as reflecting positively on you. It means you are mature! Attractive! Special! It doesn't necessarily occur to you to think about how it reflects on the older person. Maybe it reflects well, sure. But...probably not.

    Relatedly, I also believe we do others a disservice if we know they believe there is One Perfect Person for them in the whole world and don't challenge both the 'one' and the 'perfect'. With this particular example: a 14 year old who believes that the 25 year old is The One is likely to be more vulnerable than a 14 year old who believes the 25 year old is - at best - A One.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • Oliver [Redacted], in reply to Megan Wegan,

    This all plays into rape culture – because our bodies aren’t our own. They are, on some level, public. Last night, I talked to a friend, who I hope will come on to expand on what I am going to say next. Talking about some of the comments upthread, and over at The Lady Garden, he was saying that by minimising the impact of rape other than male on female, you actually make rape on women lesser too.

    Late again, and it has all been said, but Megan did ask very nicely.

    The problem with minimising female on male rape, which was the kind we were talking about, is really the same problem with minimising any kind of rape. I think Joanna said it best - everyone knows rape is wrong, that's not the issue, you know, rape, women being attacked in dark alleys by people they don't know.

    If you say that female on male is less serious, or can't happen, that has to be based on that inadequate definition of rape. That is, rape is about penetration, about a woman's sacred vessel being violated. And we're back into old horrible ideas about a woman's 'commodity' and rape being a property crime, and if you silly ladies were just more *careful*. Which makes even what you actually deign to call rape less serious, because it becomes all about a womans's precious flower being taken, and it's a short step from there to why didn't you take better care of it and then to you must have been asking for it.

    I can't speak for anyone else, but from my own experience, which I still find quite hard to articulate, it's about not having a choice, and that's all. I have of my own free will done things and had things done to me that I shall not specify at this time, but were certainly far more physically intense than any non-consensual experience. None of that gives me nightmares.

    Rape is about lack of consent, about being treated as lacking humanity. Nothing in there is a gender-linked characteristic. And you do women, and trans folk and everybody else, as well as men, a massive, and potentially quite upsetting disservice to say that anyone of any gender, persuasion, or configuration can't rape or be raped.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2011 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I’m not happy about the idea of tiered consent, or more specifically, with the idea that a two year age gap necessarily makes it okay. I really, really, seriously don't want my 14 year old daughter (well, she’s 12 now, but she will be 14 in time), being pressured by some 16 year old to have sex because, “it’s legal.”

    I agree that we need to think about what to do where both participants are under the age of consent. Perhaps the answer is to have some criterion where there are consequences of some sort for the older person. Perhaps we need to have a much better commitment to sex ed. in schools, of the sort we were discussing above, about respect and how to recognise consent, and making sure the other person really is okay with going ahead. I suppose that IF that sort of sex ed was in place, AND it was being widely taught in schools, THEN I might be happier about changing the rules around the age of consent.

    Otherwise I just don’t see what’s any more magical about a two year gap, than there is about our current age of consent. Why is a two year gap acceptable, but two years and one day is not?

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Deborah,

    I’m not happy about the idea of tiered consent, or more specifically, with the idea that a two year age gap necessarily makes it okay. I really, really, seriously want my 14 year old daughter (well, she’s 12 now, but she will be 14 in time), being pressured by some 16 year old to have sex because, “it’s legal.”

    Would you be happy to see her dragged through the courts if that was to happen? The amendment bill removed various gender anomalies in the law, meaning that if two 15 year-olds have sex they are both liable for prosecution. That’s what made the need for the defence so obvious and acute.

    And do you think the availability of a defence under the Crimes Act would actually be a major factor in adolescent decision-making? Bigger than education, empowerment or parental love and guidance?

    The New South Wales Commission for Children and Young People put it this way:

    “There is no evidence that age of consent legislation influences young people when they make decisions about when to begin sexual activity. Most young people make their own decisions about when they are ‘ready’ to have sex, regardless of legislation”

    Deborah, I really disagree with you on this.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Otherwise I just don’t see what’s any more magical about a two year gap, than there is about our current age of consent. Why is a two year gap acceptable, but two years and one day is not?

    You might as well ask why 16 is okay when 15 and 364 days is a matter for the criminal justice system. The age of consent is a boundary.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Most young people make their own decisions about when they are ‘ready’ to have sex, regardless of legislation

    i've been doing reading on a related topic for work. the average age of sexual debut is decreasing year on year.

    currently around 13 or 14 in relevant countries (e.g. UK, NZL, Aust).

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Che Tibby,

    Which seems way too young to me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to Russell Brown,

    i’ll reserve opinion considering the source of the info.

    i will however state that my impending dotage currently makes me view 18-20yos as “children”. i see students wandering about town holding hands and almost always think, “they can’t possibly be old enough!”

    oh, and, </get off my lawn>

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Che Tibby,

    “they can’t possibly be old enough!”

    For handholding? You are getting old!

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Oh, god I hate the way you people make me think differently about things. Just stop it, would you? Funnily enough, for a woman who has no children, and who doesn't even teach teenagers, I think about the age of consent quite a lot. I keep writing stuff here, and then deleting it because I can feel a long one coming on. So I'm just going to have to mull it over for a while.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    hey… i know where these things lead to…

    before you know it, they’re sitting in mcdonalds with their knees touching under the table.

    SCANDALOUS!

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Che Tibby,

    I once touched a boy's knee. It didn't lead anywhere, though maybe my hand was facing the wrong direction?

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    GOOD LORD WOMAN!

    TO THE WALK WITH YOU!

    </heh>

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Che Tibby,

    I do enjoy bringing a note of levity to these very serious conversations.

    I once talked to the 14 year old daughter of a close friend, who came to me to tell me she was thinking about having sex with her 15 year old boyfriend. Hardest conversation I've ever had.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    Hardest conversation I’ve ever had.

    i can imagine.

    an ex-colleague had the same conversation with his 15yo son, who had come to ask his parents approval to start said same with his same-age GF. they thought about it and said no.

    almost immediately put the child on the “wrong track”, leading to all sorts of unhelpful behaviour. it’s a big, big stage in someone’s life.

    relating back to the context of this thread, it certainly makes you aware that if it’s acted out in the wrong way it can have life-long repercussions.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I've got a lot of control over what I teach my children about sexuality and consent, and the need for respect for other people. We're talking about it already. But I have no control over what other people teach, or don't teach, their children. For every family who takes a huge amount of care with it, I bet there is another family who just shrugs their shoulders, and says, "Well, kids will be kids."

    No, legality or illegality is not going to stop willing adolescents, and yes, I agree there is a problem where the law prosecutes two 15 year olds. Or two 14 year olds. Or two 12 year olds.

    What we have in law at present is a deeming type provision. We have no way of knowing whether a particular person is physically and emotionally ready to start having sex. I'm sure that many 14 year olds are, more 15 year olds are, and by 16, well, perhaps most people are. Perhaps the age of consent should be 15 years and 364 days. There's nothing magical about any of the numbers, except that perhaps we are trying to make an assessment about when people are mature enough for sex.

    So if 13 or 14 is " way too young", then almost certainly, there is no issue with the current age of consent, with perhaps a margin of one year. And perhaps where children are engaging in sexual relationships before 16, the answer is education, not prosecution.

    Moving agent at the door... gotta go.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Che Tibby,

    It was...Well, I just wanted to scream at her, "what the hell are you thinking? I played barbies with you yesterday! You're a BABY."

    But I was very aware that she wouldn't listen to me if I said that, and I felt the need to tell her some things - things I am sure her mother had told her. Also that if I freaked out that she'd never want to talk to me again, and that then she might have _no one_ to talk to, and that would be much, much worse.

    I basically went with "well, I don't think you should, I think you should wait. But if you are going to, here's some things you need to know (protection/consent/how to avoid a uti,etc)"

    She's now at university, and still with the guy, so I must have done OK.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    I do enjoy bringing a note of levity to these very serious conversations.

    Is that allowed? Well, you are special I know, but since you opened the door.

    [Redacted]
    Yeah, nah.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    </applause>

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

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