Essay:Peru Lowers Its Age Of Consent--My Analysis
Below is my analysis of this article detailing something rather amazing and extremely refreshing amidst today's global sex abuse hysteria and the continuing Orwellian encroachments on youth sexual rights as a result: the government of Peru actually lowered its age of consent [AoC]. Hence, its currently in-power political party has proved itself to be composed of progressives that are truly worthy of the term, unlike most of their cowardly counterparts in North America, Europe, and Australia. Without further ado, let's begin my analysis of the various excerpts from the article that are italicized below, followed by my response in standard text.
- "Peru's Congress has voted overwhelmingly to lower the age to 14 for participating in consensual sex, a move some activists said could expose children to sexual abuse."
And who, exactly, would these "activists" be? They certainly aren't activists for youth rights, that much is clear. My guess is that they are the Peruvian equivalent of "child advocates" [CAs], who claim to fight for the "rights" of minors but in actuality fight for increased state and parental control over every aspect of young people's lives "for their own good." They are the main people in this world who have created an entire industry around the sex abuse panic, and they benefit and gain political power and oftentimes a large degree of state funds and lucrative media careers as a result of this dubious industry. So it's no wonder that so many of them push this "concern" past all degrees of reason and protest any type of progress that may weaken the stranglehold the sex abuse hysteria currently has over public discourse in the Western nations.
- "Lawmakers voted 70-10 on Thursday to approve the measure lowering the age at which criminal law recognizes the legal capacity of a person to consent to sexual activity. It was previously 17."
70-10??!! Holy shit! Peruvian politicians who consider themselves to be progressives are truly and sincerely progressive, and take the principles connected to the moniker very seriously, in contrast to the bulk of the progressives in America, England, and Austrialia who are terrified to approach this subject in any manner other than mindless and reckless condemnation that embraces every single negative and totally inaccurate stereotype aimed at both MAAs [Minor Attracted Adults, a political blanket term covering both pedophiles and hebephiles] and youths without the slightest bit of clarity, objectivity, or serious research.
- "The Peruvian measure was written by a member of President Alan Garcia's center-left Aprista party and Garcia is expected to sign it into law."
Un-freakin'-believable! There is a major political party in Peru that is actually center-left as opposed to those turncoat Democrats in America who are "centrists" (i.e., center-right) out of fear of being called names by the Republicans, and who base most of the laws they pass or propose in a manner that will appease the Republicans and hopefully avoid invoking their ire [not that it helps, since the Republicans in America hate and loathe any Democratic president or other politician in the Democratic Party regardless of how hard they try to make nice with the demands of the Republicans simply because they are Democrats--note how the Republicans frequently call Obama a "socialist" despite his pandering to Wall Street, the big giveaway to the banks after they screwed up, his insulting excuse for environmental reform laws that irked progressives across the globe, how outrageously far he capitulated to the Republicans in regards to health care reform--and how the Republicans constantly call Obama "soft on terrorism" and frequently claim that he doesn't take the "war on terror" seriously despite the fact that Obama is initiating military operations in no less than five different Middle Eastern nations, three nations more than Bush did! But that's a whole other topic...]. Obviously the progressive politicians in Peru, including the president, have some spine, unlike their counterparts in North America, Europe, and Australia. They live up to what the progressives and liberalism are supposed to stand for regardless of how much the anti and conservative elements in the country, including within the government, will call them names. They pass laws based upon what they believe in, and do not vote in office for measures that go against their principles as the liberals in American government routinely do. Peru and other nations in Latin America represent hope for an end to this madness in the future, and provide more evidence that the resistance to the global "pedophile panic" and accompanying sex abuse hysteria is far from futile.
- "One supporter of the measure, lawmaker Raul Castro, said the law will bring Peru in line with "the progress and development of a modern society.""
Well, I'll be a primate's uncle. A progressive lawmaker who is actually concerned about progress and having his nation measure up to what he considers to be a "modern" society, which he defines as providing more, not less, rights for youths. Castro and his fellow Peruvian progressives put their political counterparts in America, England, Canada, and Australia to shame by actually living up to the principles of progressivism and liberalism despite the powerful socio-political pressure to do otherwise.
- ""There are young people who get pregnant but they don't go to health centers, fearing that their partners will be arrested and charged," he said."
This is certainly one good practical reason for lowering the AoC, and in fact this was the same argument used by many youth groups in Canada while opposing the then newly conservative government's proposition to bow to American pressure by raising the AoC there (only to lose, a major blow to sanity and youth rights), which is the exact opposite of what Peru has just done. There are other good and arguably even better reasons to lower the AoC in all nations, including in the general interests of youth rights, but the above reason will certainly suffice for now as it's a perfectly legitimate reason that puts concern for youths above the concerns of those who wish to control their sex lives for what amounts to purely moralistic reasons.
- "Some organizations cheered the law, saying it would keep young people out of jail on statutory rape charges."
It's even more refreshing to see that there are such organizations in Peru, as there are virtually none like them in America, England, and Australia. And I think it's important to keep older adults out of prison for statutory rape charges as much as younger people because laws criminalizing any form of mutually consensual sexual behavior are unjust, unprogressive, and undemocratic.
- "But Virginia Borra, head of the Ministry of Women and Social Development, said that the law will invite cases of "flagrant rape that can be passed off as a consensual relation.""
Why am I not surprised that the head of an org allegedly dedicated to the advancement of women and social development has such a negative attitude towards youth rights and believes that young people under a certain age are more vulnerable to acts of rape than adult women are? Is it possible this org's name is actually a cover for some other agenda, perhaps a victimology based agenda? Many orgs which claim dedication to advancing women's rights are actually in the business of pushing the victim mentality, and it's easiest to legally impose laws borne out of such a mentality on youths under 18, since they currently lack the civil rights to resist such measures. How else do you explain an ideology that claims an act of flagrant rape can possibly be passed off as a consensual relationship?
- "Maria Pia Hermoza, the coordinator of the Peruvian organization Action for the Children, complained that the law will expose children to sexual abuse."
Is it any surprise that an org with a title like 'Action for the Children' is not a youth liberationist org but actually a "child advocacy" org that pushes the continuation of youth dependence on adults while simultaneously pushing the sex abuse hysteria to justify doing so, all the while ignoring the well documented fact that less rights for kids actually expose them to far more potential for genuine abuse of all kinds (including sexual abuse) than does giving them more rights and liberties? Such orgs blatantly ignore the fact that the bulk of actual abuse goes on in the home by parents and other older relatives who have the most direct power over kids, not by older people who live outside of the home and thus have no direct power over kids. Such orgs should be condemned, not applauded, let alone funded by the government, and it's refreshing to see the Peruvian government ignoring such orgs rather than bowing down to pressure from them to pass policies which further encroach on the rights of youths, further harass adults who are attracted to them, and further the hysteria as opposed to standing behind truly progressive and pro-youth policies.
- "Rapists will "use consent to evade justice," she was quoted as saying in the Peru21 newspaper Friday. "They will continue using blackmail and threats to rape minors.""
This is one of the most common claims used by anti-youth rights "activists" to justify the continuation of oppressive and draconian laws to control the sexual rights of young people, i.e., the idea that there will be hordes of unscrupulous adults who will use blackmail and threats of violence to coerce minors into having sex with them and to subsequently intimidate the minors in question into claiming that the sexual activity was consensual who will come out of the woodwork in large numbers if the AoC laws are lowered or abolished. Youth rights activists and pro-choice MAA activists have heard this tired old "justification" for high AoC laws numerous times before, and it's quite easy to refute.
For one thing, such claims carry the implication that young people, including those who are empowered with their rights, are easier to coerce and intimidate into lying on behalf of adult rapists than other adults are, which is an ageist attitude against young people. Such claims are also invoking negative stereotypes and unreasonable distrust of adults by making the strong implication that adults who have a romantic/sexual interest in younger teens are very likely to be unscrupulous. This is a similar sentiment to what I often hear from anti-choice MAAs when they argue in favor of retaining AoC laws: an extreme, paranoia-laced mistrust for adults, with an accompanying belief that society is filled to the brim with adult rapists and potential rapists who are just sitting back and waiting for the AoC laws to be lowered, and will then emerge in mass numbers to pounce on unsuspecting minors, threaten and coerce them into having sexual relations, and then taking advantage of the AoC laws being lowered to intimidate these minors into saying that the rape was actually consensual. I wish people who make such claims would seriously think clearly about what they say before saying it, because they would look far less foolish and totally out of their minds with paranoia if they did so.
In a democratic nation, misanthropic attitudes that presume the world is filled with evil people, and passing laws based on this assumption, are frowned upon with good reason. We cannot pass laws based on what are clearly assumptions about what people might do based on a cynical dislike for the human race and still remain even a nominally democratic nation that is based upon socially progressive values. Yes, there are some evil adults out there who would indeed try to take advantage of young people, but I challenge anyone to prove that these adults exist in such great numbers that they justify oppressive laws that are based upon totally arbitrary assumptions, and which necessitate throwing large amounts of innocent people in prison to make sure that every single truly evil or guilty person gets punished right away. Yes, evil adults doing such things can happen and indeed have happened before, but I think it's nothing less than totally hysterical and even ageist to suggest that huge numbers of younger people lack the fortitude and strength of will to report to friends, family, and the authorities when an actual case of rape occurred regardless of what threats the hypothetical adult rapist made towards them. And yes, it is possible that if the AoC laws were lowered a few adult rapists (and older teen rapists, of course) will on occasion successfully intimidate a younger person into claiming that an actual rape was consensual, and that this will result in the guilty rapist going free temporarily. However, I strongly doubt that every single young person such a rapist does this to will capitulate to their threats no matter how intimidating the rapist happens to be, and sooner or later (and much more likely sooner) one of the victims of such a rapist will speak up, and this will result in past victims gaining the courage to come out of their silence and do the same, thus resulting in damning evidence against the rapist in court (such things happen all the time with women victims who previously stayed silent for whatever reason). Hence, the occasional rapist who temporarily goes free will not be operating for very long.
Also, young people can be educated into spotting various warning signs of both peers and adults who may be dangerous, and I do not think too many genuine rapists can successfully hide their true natures from every single person in a young teen's life, including the large number of adults who truly care about them, caring adults who would likely not be in their life if the AoC laws were left intact. Further, it should be noted that adults outside of the home or boarding school who target specifically kids for rape are extremely rare (contrary to popular belief), and I see no evidence to suggest that there are huge numbers of potential rapists who are presently invisible to society's radar simply because they are deterred from acting on their sociopathic impulses by the AoC laws. Such a common claim from both the "child advocates" and the anti-choice MAAs borders on non-nonsensical, not to mention hysterical, and is not backed up by any evidence. It's instead based on a cynical and very negative mistrust of humanity in general.
When I say all of the above, defenders of the AoC laws (both outside and inside of the MAA community) will attempt to counter with a response that is just as hysterical and utterly undemocratic as any previous response I mentioned: they will hit me and other pro-choice activists with the "even one is too much" argument, where they will say that even if one single real rapist of young people goes free as a result of intimidating the youth into claiming a sexual encounter was consensual when it actually wasn't is still totally unacceptable, and such people must be stopped at all costs, regardless of how many innocent people must suffer for it and have their lives destroyed as a result, and regardless of how draconian such laws will be in regards to freedom of choice and personal liberty of youths. When people say such things, they need to take a deep breath and to take a long and hard look at what they just said, and once they calm down and come back to their senses where their reasoning faculties are again operating, they need to do a lot of research on the differences between democracy and progressivism and a police state and tyrannical authoritarianism, and how the latter can easily develop within the former if lawmakers and citizens are not careful. Once doing the latter research, they will find out that sacrificing freedom for perceived security from some sort of menace has always historically backfired in an enormously negative way on the vast majority of people in society who are not part of the ruling elite. It's totally impossible to completely eliminate all types of risks for anyone in society, including young people. And the legal system of democratic and progressive nations have always held to the principle that it's far more preferable to allow rare instances of a guilty person to occasionally go free than to tolerate even one instance of an innocent person being thrown in prison and having their lives ruined by the legal system, let alone the literally thousands of innocent people who would be thrown in prison if every single adult who has mutually consensual sexual relations with a young person under a certain arbitrary age is indicted and thrown into prison just to insure that absolutely no person who may be guilty of actual abuse ever goes free. It amazes me that certain people who were raised in an even nominally democratic society can give into raw emotionalism and support any sort of draconian measure--even when it comes to protecting those who are perceived to be the most vulnerable in society from harm--and thereby risk bringing their society one step closer to a police state.
Also very important to consider is this extremely cogent point raised against the all too often heard justification for retaining a high AoC that I tackled up above, courtesy of my friend and ally CatcherInTheRye after reading the initial version of this essay:
- "Regarding their argument that if the age of consent were lowered, some adults would threaten a child into saying it was consensual[...]
- "As the laws are now, if an adult has sex with someone below the AoC, what do they think is stopping that adult into threatening a child into not telling anyone that a sexual act occurred at all? '
- "If they're willing to threaten them into saying it was consensual, they're probably willing to threaten them into total silence.
- "Why can't they understand that the AoC is quite irrelevant?"
To use a bit of popular slang...it would appear that my friend just totally pwned the purveyors of that tired old justification for keeping a high AoC by showing how inimical to common sense and utterly useless the AoC laws are for protecting minors from genuine abuse (as opposed to simply denying them their sexual rights by criminalizing sexual activity that is entirely consensual), and why the laws against actual forcible rape and sexual harassment are more than sufficient to deal with any actual rapists, sexual harassers, or stalkers on their own, just as they do for people above the AoC.
It can be readily observed that whenever a single draconian law is passed to solve a perceived problem, such a law is inevitably and inexorably followed by more and increasingly greater draconian laws, each one more hysterical, outrageous, and undemocratic than the previous ones. Please note how the various Western governments, in their ongoing endeavors to prevent the sexual abuse of minors, goes from criminalizing all sexual contact between minors and adults regardless of whether it's consensual or not, to criminalizing the mere viewing of pictures and videos of minors in sexual situations, to the criminalizing of viewing pics and vids of nude kids even if they are not in sexual situations because some adults may still get aroused by them, to criminalizing pics and vids of fully clothed minors because they might still arouse an MAA, to criminalizing drawings and CGI generated images of nude minors, to criminalizing sexually explicit pics and vids of adult women who are pretending to be minors, to criminalizing sexually explicit pics and vids of adult women with small breasts because images of such women might be used by MAAs as a proxy for fantasizing about minors, to...I think you get my point. Do we even want to know where these laws will go next? Could all pornography featuring adults be next?
Or, as another example, laws that criminalize online cyber-sex between adults and minors then leads to the criminalization of any and all online communications between adults and minors based on the assumption that such convos might lead to cyber-sex and perceived "sexual exploitation" of the younger person by the adult. Where does it end? What is the logical conclusion of such increasingly draconian laws? How can we ever justify the passing of such a law when we consider the historical precedent of doing so? As the old saying goes, "If you give someone an inch, they take a yard." That is why it's foolish to assume that just one draconian law passed within a democratic framework will not lead to more and more increasingly undemocratic and outrageous encroachments on democratic freedoms, or that any such law can ever be justified as a "necessary evil." No draconian law is ever beneficial to society no matter how great the perceived threat within the society may be. This is why, as I said before, I lost all respect for a former MAA ally of mine that I know from the Girl Lover sub-community when he suddenly and abruptly went from one of the most staunch pro-choicers in the community to a shameless defender of the AoC laws and actually said that he supports these laws and doesn't care how draconian they are (yes, he actually used these words). He and others like him seem to feel that the need to protect minors from abuse is so overwhelming that absolutely anything goes in doing so, no matter how many innocent people may suffer, no matter how hysterical and outrageous these measures become, and no matter how many freedoms and civil liberties are sacrificed as a result. There is nothing honorable about such measures to "protect" minors, because they pander to a police state mentality and ultimately everyone in society, including the young people they purport to protect, suffer from these rabid encroachments on our basic civil liberties. This is something that is clearly evident by the current crop of such laws putting young teens in prison and on sex offender registries for taking nude or provocative pics of themselves and sending them to friends via their cell phones, or uploading such pics on socnet sites. Need I say more?
In a democratic society that is based on a system of progressive values, it's unfortunately necessary to allow the occasional guilty person to temporarily go free in order to insure that no innocent people are thrown into prison and having their lives destroyed, and to insure the full freedom and liberty of all people, including younger people. It's totally impossible to create a system (at least within the context of our current class-divided system) where 100% of minors are never abused, even within a police state. Those who are truly concerned about enormously decreasing the number of kids who are abused, as are youth liberationists, should spend their efforts targeting the places and institutions where kids are subjected to genuine abuse in by far the greatest numbers, which is within the home or other institutions (such as boarding schools, particularly religious boarding schools) where kids are under the greatest amount of control by adults, as opposed to targeting adults who do not live within the home or have a great and direct degree of power over kids, and who thus commit crimes of actual abuse against kids only on rare occasions. AoC laws clearly target the latter individuals and sensationalistically overstate the degree of danger to kids posed by adults outside of the home or other authoritarian institutions who may engage in romantic/sexual relationships with youths, and utterly fail to address the places where kids are abused most often. As noted before, the AoC laws also result in huge amounts of innocent people being thrown into prison, not to mention the suppression of the sexual choices of youths under a certain arbitrary age.
In summation, despite the opposition by the typical hysteria-mongering elements that benefit from the proliferation of the sex abuse industry, it's extremely refreshing to see Peru and other Latin American nations take a genuinely progressive stance against the current insanity by actually rolling back some of the draconian laws that spawned and support the sex abuse hysteria rather than adding new laws of that sort to increase the Orwellian encroachments on what few rights youths currently have in modern society, and which slide all democratic societies further towards a police state. Hopefully, the example taken by these courageous and progressive lawmakers in Peru and other Latin American nations will encourage the progressives in America, Canada, England, and Australia to develop some spine and to do some serious objective research (as has Judith Levine and Robert Epstein), and to live up to their principles by opposing the sex abuse hysteria rather than helping to add to it at every opportunity in order to avoid being called names by the conservatives. In fact, the mainstream progressives should be totally shamed by the fact that certain prominent conservatives are actually doing more to advance the cause of youth rights in America than the progressives are, as evidenced by the recent support given to Robert Epstein's work by Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich, which speaks quite poorly of the current crop of progressives in America and other Western nations.