age of consent (17 vs 18)

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Subject: age of consent (17 vs 18)
From: Lacey Sloan (lsloan@UH.EDU)
Date: Tue Mar 02 1999 - 18:40:05 EST


Hi all,

>I agree with Dianne Post concerning the false
>distinction between 17 year old "girls" and 18 year old "women" or "sex
>workers." I've never found satisfactory measures for identifying what is
>ligitimate "sex work" vs. "exploitation."

And yet, in the U.S., and most other countries, such age distinctions *are*
used for many purposes...at age 17 one can not sign contracts, vote or
drink/purchase alcohol or have sex...at age 18 a person can sign contracts,
vote, drink and have sex. Age is used to separate consensual sex from
sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and/or rape.

Although it varies from state to state, there is an age at which a girl is
considered capable of consenting to sexual contact, and the day before
that, she is not. In Texas, persons under age 14 can not give consent to
sex. period...so one day a 13 year old can not consent, and after the
birthday, s/he can. Persons age 15, 16, 17, can also not give consent to
have sex, but it is a defense to the prosecution if the person with whom
they had sex was not more than 3 years older and did not use force or
coercion. On their 18th birthday, they can have sex with whomever they
want. And, a parent can consent for someone age 14 and older to marry, in
which case all sex is legal.

Lacey

Lacey Sloan, Ph.D., MSSW
Assistant Professor
Graduate School of Social Work
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77204

713.743.8105
713.743.8149 (fax)


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