Traditional Attitutdes on the Age of Consent

What is age of consent?

Did you know that the age of consent is the minimum age which a person is allowed to legally have sexual intercourse with another person? Any person under this age is referred as a victim while their partner is regarded as an offender under the law.

The age of consent term is not used in many legal jurisdictions. But many countries have established laws that define the age in which engaging in a sexual intercourse becomes illegal. The term also can be used to denote the age, which a person becomes mature to accept the marriage. However, the term is not synonymous with majority age, driving age or voting age etc. This article will provide information about the traditional attitudes on the age of consent that you definitely need to know.

The laws relating to the age of consent vary from one country to another. But the range is mostly between 14 to 18 years. The laws also change depending on the type of the act, gender of both parties plus other restrictions like misuse of position etc. The laws set severe punishment for sexual offenders which include life sentencing or other similar charges. Below is a list of countries plus their corresponding age of consent as listed below:

·         United States- Age of 18years

·         Sweden-15 years

·         Canada- 16 years

·         Mexico-12 years

·         Korea-13 years

Traditional attitudes regarding age of consent

During the ancient times, the age of consent was determined by the family or the tribe. Mostly women reached that age after they started menstruation or puberty signs while a man it coincided with the growth of pubic hair. According to Hesiod Greek poet, men should marry when they are almost 30yearsand they must choose wives who are who have passed five years after puberty.

There is no reliable data of when one should actually marry or get married. But historians are currently denying that there was evidence of young marriages during those early times.

During the 12th century, Gratian, accepted the age of marriage to be at puberty that is 12years for girls and 14 years for boys respectively. But surprisingly, judges in Europe could honour the marriages of partners below the age of 7 years.

The first law to be documented on the age of consent issue was in 1275 In England. The colonies of America later adopted this tradition using the law to direct them. During the 16th century, Germany and Italy set the age of consent to be 12 years. The laws proved difficult to be followed.

Christianity came in the 18th century and changed the traditional attitudes on age of consent that had bounded people for long. This resulted in increased concern of those who abuse children sexually.

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