Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Raising the bar

The new law on sexual consent is now in effect. The old law established in 1892 set the age minimum at 14. The new law sets the minimum age at 16 with an exception for those aged 14-16 as long as their partner is within 5 years of age and the older partner is not in a position of authority in the relationship.

There are two main groups that are objecting to the change. Gay rights groups are upset that the age for anal intercourse remains 18. There seems to be no practical reason for ignoring this concern. The law probably would not stand up to a charter challenge. While this grievance is legitimate it does not address implications of changing the law. It just acknowledges that the current government has no interest in addressing this issue.

The other group is concerned that teenagers will find the law to difficult to understand. They fear teenage sex will be pushed underground. Teenagers in legal relationships will not seek out counseling when needed for fear of prosecution under the law.

The law simply adds another two years to teenagers life where they will not be subject to sexual relationships outside of their relative peer group. Older men who like to date really young girls will have to wait until their prospective partners are a little bit more socially developed before getting involved in a relationship. The early teens is a time of tremendous growth into adulthood. The extra time will allow teenagers to be more comfortable with themselves in order to make proper decisions about entering into a relationship with somebody older.

There are many issues that need to be dealt with when engaging in sexual activity, ranging from safe sex practises, pregnancy, to rape and disease. If 14 year olds can deal with these issues, understanding the law is not beyond their grasp. It is up to parents and educators to include the law in discussions regarding sexuality. If they are equipped with the right information they will be able to make the right decisions about relationships throughout their lives.

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