Blog post 7: A question


For readers in Britain, you may have more details on this case than I do, and that fortunately is not the question. It is a case between a married 30 year old teacher and his 15 year old student who had a crush on him and from what I gather from the report exchanged explicit texts, went to France where they were on the run for a few days. I gather the teacher is being accused of abduction.

The question here is, when is a girl/boy mature enough to consent to sex? Though the teacher isn’t on trial for any sex offence as far as I can tell, I think this relationship between the two of them forms a good basis for dealing with the question of consensual sex.

Jeremy Forrest trial: Teacher’s ‘multiple sex sessions’

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

42 thoughts on “Blog post 7: A question

  1. Mordanicus says:

    A concern in this particular case that a teacher has authority over his students, so a teacher might abuse this in order to get “consent” from this girl. In more general young people might be naive and easily to be manipulated by older and more experienced adults.

    Here in the Netherlands the age of consent is 16, whilst in Sweden it is 15 and in Austria 14. For the reasons I mentioned above I favour an age of consent of 16, with a possible exception if the older partner is not more than five years older (or something like that).

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    • makagutu says:

      Is it possible that the pupil could take advantage of the teacher? It is possible the teacher could get consent from the pupil through manipulation and this would be difficult to prove unless there are records that show this explicitly.

      I am comfortable with the age of consent being 16 with the additional condition that you have added.

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  2. john zande says:

    I know we have to have specified limits for the purposes of law and the protection minors, but consent should really be determined by mental maturity, not simply bodily readiness…. in which case it’d be unique to each individual. 15 or 16 or even 21 year old’s are not a homogeneous basket.

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    • Mordanicus says:

      In principle I agree with you. Some twelve-years olds will be able to make such decisions, whilst some 31-year olds cannot. However, an individualised test would be impractical and would leave too much difficulties for enforcing the law. And religious zealots might abuse these tests to punish fornicators and such. I think 16 as age of consent could be defended on statistical grounds.

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  3. aguywithoutboxers says:

    An excellent thought and consideration, my brother and friend! In my humble and muddled opinion, I tend to agree with the premise that there is no median, magical age where an adolescent automatically attains “wisdom of judgment.” However, each society (“government”) sets an age where a teen is presumed to make responsible decisions. I feel that whatever age is determined should be respected by all parties in the relationship. Much love and naked hugs! 🙂

    P.S. I appreciate your concern! Thank you! 😉

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    • makagutu says:

      That is an interesting take, because for instance I don’t notice between when am this age and that age, no magical thing happens but only over time and with whatever am exposed do my thoughts and decisions get well grounded.

      You are most welcome

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  4. archaeopteryx1 says:

    I know that men get a great deal of blame for the pursuit of young girls, and some of it is justified, but I also believe that it is genetically hard-wired in Humans, from prehistoric times, in order for the species to survive, that women are attracted to the strongest or the more successful males, while men are attracted to young, fertile women. Even the Bible is rampant with 14-year old brides – Rebecca was 14 when she married Isaac, and Rachel, when Jacob asked for her hand.

    Further, the age of consent differs from country to country, and in some cases, even within countries – I know, for example, that in the state of Arkansas, in the US, it’s 14, and in Mexico also, as well as many other countries.

    I’m certainly no judge of right and wrong, as if there really IS an ultimate right and wrong, I would certainly prefer not to have it based on any form of religion. Many teens, male and female, are sexually active at an early age, among themselves, which in the States, is not a crime anywhere that I know of, but there have been instances where a boy and a girl have been dating and sexually involved for years, but if she is at all younger than he, and he reaches the age the state recognizes as “adulthood,” he can be arrested and imprisoned for continuing the sexual relationship beyond that time – to me, that’s just wrong! On the other hand, if no laws were in place, pedophiles would come out of the woodwork.

    I don’t have a solution. Some teens mature, mentally and physically, earlier than others. I would hate to see pedophiles preying, yet at the same time, I’d hate to see a man – or woman (it happens) – spend time in prison for having a relationship with a teen, based on a blanket law that judges all teens to be of the same degree of mental maturity.

    arch

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    • makagutu says:

      I wouldn’t want to see anyone in jail or have their lives and careers messed because of an arbitrary law that says this is the age for doing this or that.

      Thanks for the beautiful comment!

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  5. themodernidiot says:

    21. If you are too stupid to be trusted with alcohol, you sure as hell aren’t ready for a sexual relationship. If you want to play around before then, just don’t get caught. If it’s truly love, the older won’t mind waiting until legal age to either have sex or get married.

    The 16 or less limit? That’s creepy dudes. Seriously.

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  6. Hi there, Mak!
    For me, sex between a teacher and a pupil is not so much about the age of consent and all the associated problems. I think the teacher should take responsibility and should not engage in a sexual relationship with a pupil, not as long as he (or she) is still their teacher. Same goes for a doctor, a physiotherapist or a social worker. To me, that is far more important than either person’s age.

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  7. Ishaiya says:

    It’s a tricky subject. I think at the age of 15, 16 you are quite aware of your sexuality and physical urges, but mental maturity is a big factor and an important one I think that is all too open to abuse by someone more senior. I remember when I was at school that it was seen as the ultimate act of coolness for a girl to bag an older man, or even better a teacher. Young teenage women can be very provocative, whether they are totally aware of the implications of their actions or not. I can imagine it must be very difficult for some teachers to be put in that situation, especially if the attraction is mutual. What’s more the flirtatious behaviour with some children starts young, and it can be a difficult thing to reconcile given the nature of some individuals who think that it’s ok to reciprocate. The issue is the subsequent psychological damage that can be caused if the minor in question does not have a full understanding of what is going on. Thus it raises the question of what is considered an appropriate stage of mental and emotional development, whereby consent can be considered mutual?
    16 is the age of consent here in the UK, but it is just an empirical bench-mark for an issue that can’t really be quantified outside of personal subjective experience.

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    • makagutu says:

      It is indeed a tricky question, one that does not have a straight answer and that requires much thought.

      It must be hard being a teacher in a girls’ school.

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      • Ishaiya says:

        Even harder to be a mother of a girl who is almost a teenager and already talking about ‘relationships’. I keep trying to tell my daughter that being gay would be a lot less trouble than getting involved with boys! 🙂

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        • makagutu says:

          It would be fun being your daughter at this rate 🙂

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          • Ishaiya says:

            In what regard?

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            • makagutu says:

              Telling her to be it is better to be gay than to get involved with the boys is an interesting proposition 😛

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              • Ishaiya says:

                I don’t know, I tell her that because I already see it in her, and I listen to what she tells me. She doesn’t have an issue with it and would prefer to have a girlfriend, but I think she plays the boyfriend game at school just to fit in. Despite the relaxed attitudes in this country with regards to sexuality (in law that is), at my daughter’s age everything is still very black and white, where being ‘gay’ is seen as a bad thing. Even though none of them are quite old enough to understand what sexuality is!
                As far as I’m concerned the sexual preferences of my children is something for them to explore when they are old enough to be responsible for it.

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        At 13, my grandson had a crush on a 12-year old girl who lived in my neighborhood, a crush she didn’t return, as her interest was in older guys. At 12, this girl had a body that many 20-year olds would envy, and if I hadn’t known her to be 12, I’d have easily believed her to be much older. She once asked him, confidentially, if he believed I thought she was “hot” – her word, not mine. The girl was obviously obsessed with wanting every man she met, to desire her – granted, evidence of her own low self-esteem, in that she sought to find her value in the eyes of others – but certainly, in this girl’s case, it wouldn’t be at all difficult to predict that somewhere in her not too distant future, lies a man who is going to prison due, largely, to her own obsession.

        Would it be her fault for throwing herself at him, his, for catching, or her parents, for being so dysfunctional that they didn’t bother to teach their daughter that she possessed qualities, in addition to her body, that made her a valuable person?

        arch

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    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      Just yesterday, it was announced in the news that a man would be released by a judge who overturned his case. He had been convicted, at 17, of having sex with a 12-year old. They showed her picture, at 12, and if I met her on the street, I would have no reason to doubt her if she told me she was 16. At the time of her trial, both the girl and her father testified FOR the boy, not against, but he was convicted anyway and has spent the last 8 years in prison, subjected to who knows what?

      Of course, an accused man (or boy) is going to say, if caught, that he didn’t know she was that young, but when both the girl AND her father testify in his behalf, one has to lend some credence to his testimony in this instance.

      Of course I’m opposed to deliberate child sexual abuse, but can a boy really be expected to insist that a girl provide ID? Granted, a theist would likely say that that wouldn’t be necessary if the two remained “pure” until they were married, but my guess is, that if the theist ever actually made a visit to THIS planet, he or she would find that things are a bit different here, than in the world in which they live.

      arch

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      • Ishaiya says:

        All I’ve got to say to that, and what I say to my daughter is if you’re going to break the law, don’t be stupid enough to get caught. By that I’m not condoning crime, but saying instead that if you’re going to put yourself in such a situation at least understand the implications and the possible consequences.
        As far as I’m concerned there is a very big difference in physical appearance between a 12 year old and a 16 year old. I don’t honestly believe that a 17 year old boy would not be able to discern the difference.

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      • makagutu says:

        That story is just sad. Why did the judge rule against him if the girl and the father testified for him?

        Ladies around here are 18 then 25, then 35, in between no girl tells you their age, it would be a hard thing trying to get their IDs.

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  8. Real real me says:

    In my country it is strictly forbidden (by law) love and sexual relationships between a teacher and a student. Regarding this case, they should have been more aware of the consequences. In my opinion the decision to go to France was mutual, but like I read from a comment here, the pupil could take advantage of the teacher, to look innocent.

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