Age of Consent

Today I read a news article on the BBC website.

Yet another article that suggests there is a difference between ‘rape’ and ‘rape rape’. And yet another article suggesting that the victim is to blame in her abuse. That’s right, a 69 year old man tells us that a girl under the age of consent can be to blame for her own abuse. 

This is just the latest article / occasion in recent months when victim blaming has been so prominent and blatant that it makes your jaw drop. We’ve had comments from top lawyers suggesting we stop demonising our older men, we’ve had barristers and judges tell courtrooms that an under-age girl was predatory and that this should be taken into consideration when sentencing. 

No, actually, it shouldn’t. There is a well-known phrase that we would do well to remember: The age of consent. Two words here give us a clue as to what should be taken into consideration: ‘age’ and ‘consent’. Under the age of 16 a child cannot give consent. It is up to the adult not to abuse the child. It is up to us not to help legitimise the abuse and blame the victim when it happens.