The Schpat Dope

Just like The Striaght Dope only not as well researched or funny

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

SchpatDope Returns

Moonflake Asks:

In America, the average age of consent across all 50 states is 16 and in Hawaii it's 14, but the age restriction on GTA:SA is being upped to 18+??? So in the majority of US states, you can, in fact, have sex on your console, just not on your console. Of course, you also have to be 18 to enter most porn sites in the states... so you can record yourself having sex, you just can't watch it. Brilliant. What gives? Help us Obi-Schpat, you're our only hope!

Ok, I added the last bit, but I said if you folks didn't ask questions I'd have to pretend that you did!

Schpat Answers:

That's an interesting question Moonflake, I'm glad I asked it for you. The confusion here is probably because of subtle inaccuracies in your wording. You might think I'm being a nit-picker for bringing up wording subtleties, but this is a question on law, and law is all in the wording!
First a little background info and interesting facts:

The minimum age for sexual consent varies around the world. It is often dictated by the specific societal values and beliefs. In some Muslim countries there is no minimum age for sexual consent but no sex is legal outside of marriage. Other laws ban certain types of sex on religious grounds egg: sodomy is illegal in many african countries, and Kansas.

In my research I found that it is possible to categorise societal influence, and therefore sexual consent laws, into 4 major groupings: average, conservative, antiquated, and enlightened.

Average: These are your normal run of the mill countries like The States and our very own South Africa. The minimum age for sexual consent is normally set somewhere between 16 and 18. Sometimes homosexual consent can only be given at older ages. There are also communally "Romeo and Juliet" laws which allow for teen sex with the provision that both partners meet certain age criteria, most communally that they are both under 18 and with in four years of age. This means that 14 year olds could legally have sex with 17 year olds. These laws normally also provide that the older partner must in no way have coerced the younger (egg: with food or money) or be in a position of authority over the younger (egg: a teacher or priest).

Conservative: These occur mostly in religious states, like the Muslim examples above. Most conservative states are not quite as fanatical about the whole thing and only have very high minimum ages for sexual consent, typically 21.

Antiquated: These are those back-woods states that don't really have any laws that govern this sort of thing. States like Pakistan, Oman, Chile, Paraguay, and Mexico. These states common law differs vastly on the subject but as an example in Mexico the common law states that it is a crime to deflower an honest woman under the age of 12. That means that if she is already not a virgin, or a real big tease it's alright! This is also the country where rape charges can be dropped if the perp agrees to marry the victim! Oh and you may be asking yourself why so many South American Countries are listed, that's because their common law is inherited from Spain, which still has the same laws.

Enlightened: for the weirdest stuff you have to visit our European friends like Sweden, France and Germany. In Sweden and France the legal age of consent is 15, but then it's also legal to have sex with animals in Sweden as long as you cause them no distress or discomfort. In Germany the legal age of consent is 14 as long as the partner is no older than 21 and the minor is not enticed by gifts or money, unless of course the minor is a prostitute then it's ok if she's over 12! Oh Yes, prostitution is legal in Germany.

Anyway, back to your question (snigger): Why is a 16 year old permitted to record themselves having sex but not permitted to watch it? Like I said it's in the wording. A sixteen year old may record themselves having sex, but to be clear no one else is allowed to unless the teen's parents consent, due to the fact that they have not yet reached the age of majority. Then comes the watching of the porn. It's not illegal for a 16 year old to see porn, but it is illegal to show them porn, this is normally a crime under corrupting a minor or under child abuse laws. Seeing as how you can't corrupt yourself that paradox is cleared up. The hypothetical minor would not however be able to tape themselves having sex and then distribute it to other under 18s.

Send in your own Schpat Dope questions or schpat might just twist your words too!


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