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Dear Amy,

What do most feminists think about statutory rape? Should this only be a crime when a man has sex with a girl? Should there be a recognition for consent vs. nonconsent? What about when it is the women that is older, or when both people are under-age?


In general, feminists are opposed to statutory rape and are in support of statutory rape laws. However, most feminists would also recognize that there are faults in the laws. For starters, these laws are determined on a state-by-state basis, and therefore, leave room for ambiguity. Personally, I think that statutory rape laws should apply to either gender and should apply to same-sex pairings as well as to opposite-sex pairings. I don't think it's right that a 20 year-old woman could have sex with a 12 year-old girl and not have that be investigated, assuming that we would investigate it if it were a 20 year-old man. Similarly if it is a 25 year-old woman and a 15 year-old boy. In order to change this, or to equalize this, we have to work on a state-by-state basis.

As for consent vs. nonconsent, that, too, is ambiguous. For instance, how adequately can we measure that after the fact? If it is consensual, however, it's unlikely that any charges would be filed. Unless, of course, someone was doing it on behalf of someone else - and this is problematic regardless. I know I haven't said much conclusively, but there isn't an easy answer. I have tried to share my thoughts and I hope it helps.




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