Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Raising the Age of Consent

You all know that I am not religious but I believe in ethics, or common laws that protect our privacy, our rights and in this case the innocence of our children.

The Tory (conservative) government was sworn in on Monday and yesterday they announced that one of their priorities is raising the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16. "We don't want to criminalize consenting sexual conduct between youth. We want to protect young people from adult sexual predators", says the new Minister of Justice.

Obviously no one sees any harm in protecting the 14-year olds from being exploited by older adults, but is that the target of this amendment? I am not sure.

Sexual exploitation is illegal at any age. However, if the age of consent is changed from 14 to 16, consensual sexual activity with a 14 or 15-year old is considered exploitation. therefore, 16, 17 and 18-year olds, who have relations with another fellow school-mate 2-3 years younger, can be criminally charged under the law. This translates into potentially overloading our criminal courts with a new category of cases!

However, the Minister also added that a close-in-age exemption will also be brought in. I am not aware of the details of this exemption but it might eliminate cases like ones mentioned above.

I can't remember if I personally felt or thought differently about sex from 14 to 16. But one thing I know for sure is that, postponing adulthood till years later was a good decision. You can never get those year back, once you enter the adult world and have to worry about adult issues such as pregnancy, diseases and relationships.

Many people may disagree with me, and call this new attempt by Tories a step toward losing personal liberties or bringing the government into the nation's bedroom (as Trudeau called it), but there is something about the innocence of our teenagers that makes it very precious.


At 4:37 p.m., Blogger Leili said...

But what to do when the need for sexual activity is present? I don't have the answer, but I think this should be addressed. You don't want teenagers to control a basic need. Maybe they should start sex education earlier. But not only sex education, but also teaching them that sex comes with consequencses, meaning how it affect their relationships, etc.

P.S.> Please run for the city council next year! You have such broad view of different issues that I think it is to the benefit of everybody when someone like you has power.

P.S.S.> How can one get rid of his government? Iran's government must change or they will make our lives living hell! Or maybe they already have ...

At 4:50 a.m., Blogger Jackal said...

Hi Leili, how have you been?! [;)]

I think I agree with Sky about the consent age and if you don't mind I can say I support the Bush administration policies in the States encouraging youth to take a vow of celibacy and even put the funny engagement to Jesus rings until they get married (I'm not talking rubbish, I've seen it in a dcoumentary about Texas teenagers!!!).

Anyway, I think that's a good move. If sex education doesn't work use religion, like they do in Amercia. Very early age of consent (I was shocked to hear it was 14 in Canada, it's 16 in the UK) causes a lot of problems, personal and social. Bahar mentioned the personal ones.

UK, unfortunately, has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in EU, and that's not due to lack of sex education. It's a huge burden on public funds, for young mothers are then entitled to all sorts of benefits, council housing, and etc. On the other hand it's very probable that they won't receive a normal education and are not prepared to enter the job market and contribute to economy. That becomes a vicious circle and their children will be brought up in council estates, in substandard condition (becomes government never has enough money to provide everything) and surprize-surprize those children become the next generation of teenage mothers, and so on and so forth. This problem is intensified in very poor ghetto areas full of immigrants, and ethinic minorities (mainly black, african or caribbean).

P.S. Bahar, make your mind, do you wanna be a politician or an engineer???

At 8:16 a.m., Blogger Bahar said...

Leili joon,

As far as I know, they start sex education at the age of 11 or 12. So, the kids know everything about it.

I agree with Jackal on the vicious circle. We have that problem with the black community in Toronto. Single mothers, poor families, teens that look up to gangs to make a little extra cash, and shootings and killings on a daily basis in the black neighbourhood.

There must be a way of keeping it all together without relying on religion.

P.s. About ahmadinejad, they say "in niz bogzarad". Didn't we go through 8 years of war? didn't bear with this regime for 27 years, already? Well, this is no different. Remember that this time around, this guy was elected by people, unlike the Supreme Leader!

At 8:41 a.m., Blogger Jackal said...

Nazi's in Germany and Fascists in Italy took over through a democratic process in the late 20s and early 30s. The result was far more devastating for their countries to be dismissed as "in niz bogzarad". It did not pass, but at too dear a cost.

At 8:52 a.m., Blogger Bahar said...

So, what do you suppose we can do? Sit here and curse at the regime?

Well, we can try to oppose any potential war or attack (to which I am 200% committed) but other than that, it is the decision of the people.

At 9:44 a.m., Blogger Jackal said...

No one in his right mind would like to see an attack on Iran. Likewise, I am absolutely appalled of the suggestion. On the other hand, our opposition to military action should not turn into support for the Islamic Republic regime’s policies. Silence is even worse. What we can do is talk and hope. You have a blog and many friends who may listen to you; we may also hope that the international community’s pressure be successful.

Do you have a better suggestion?

At 12:15 p.m., Blogger Bahar said...

International community's pressure on what and who to do what? For Ahmadinejad to resign? Or for the supreme leader to pack his gang and go away?

What are the options of the international community?

- boycoting trade? That didn't work before and it will only make the regime stronger (common enemy theory. the "Great Satan"!)

- negotiations? They have all failed so far.

At 2:07 p.m., Blogger Jackal said...

well that was a disappointing view...

on an optimistic view: intelligent sanctions, diplomatic travel restrictions and continued negotiations will help the few remaining reasonable figures of the regime (maybe with a little help from Sistani in najaf) to convince the old fossils of Qom and Agha to drink the cup of poison (like khomeini once did, alas too late) and suspend the nuclear activities before disaster is fired from the american missile launchers all around us. that could be easily sorted by sacrificing ahmadinejad (sacking him perhaps or his resignation)

that's a good start point for yielding and going back towards further Khatami style gradual reform in the country; aftermath of the regime sudden collapse will be so dark and chaotic, I'd prefer Agha to stay [;)]

At 2:09 p.m., Blogger Jackal said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2:09 p.m., Blogger Jackal said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2:38 p.m., Blogger Bahar said...

If Ahmadinejad was "sack"able, believe me, a lot of people would have already taken care of it.

Did you think Khomeini or Khamnei were "sack"able, too?

At 2:43 p.m., Blogger Jackal said...

in case you've finished writing your paper and etc, may i suggest a concert 4 friday night?!
Nawal al-Zoghbi ( is touring Canada now; first gig will be in toronto:

For Reservations: (416)697-5857

and saturday night in vancouver, quite conveniently at Mona's !!! no kidding:

For Reservations: (604)689-4050

At 2:55 p.m., Blogger Bahar said...

What are you doing? Looking for concerts for us?

Who is this zoghbi guy or gal?

At 3:34 p.m., Blogger Jackal said...

I just happened to checking her website and suddenly realized that she's going to have a gig in toronto tomorrow [:D] pure coincidence bekhoda !!!

by the way she's a pop singer, 30 something from Lebanon, and i quite like her [;)] I would have probably gone to her concert, or Elissa's (another Lebanese girl) or Amr Diab (Egyptian guy) if it was here in London!

That would depend on how much you like the music type - modern arabic pop [;)]

At 3:35 p.m., Blogger Jackal said...

check her website, you can listen to entire songs [:)]age hosele dari


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