FMT LETTER: From Ravinder Singh, via e-mail
Consent is not as simple as saying “Yes” or “No”. If a 12-year-old is physically as big as an adult, or even has reached puberty early, it does not follow that the mind of the 12-year old is as mature as that of an adult. However, it appears that some people, even those learned in the law, would think that physical size and biological state are the things that matters. A case of out of sight, out of mind? The mental state cannot be seen, so why bother to inquire about it?
The issue of consent is relevant when the person raped is an adult, but not at all relevant when the victim is a child below 16, or even a minor below 18. Consent is not a matter of body size and biological state, but of the mental capacity of the person to make a reasoned decision. The fact that so many teenage mothers are dumping their secretively delivered babies points to the mental capacities of these mothers to have got into what they got into. Have any studies been done to find out why they had had sex in the first place if they did not want the babies?
If they had consented to having sex, how did that consent come about? Who were the fathers of their babies? Had they known they could get pregnant and deliver babies, would they have consented? Have any of the fathers of the dumped babies been traced?
Dumping babies is a willful act. If the babies die, it is murder. So, in our society today it is fine to create life and then snuff it out the moment it comes into the world? Who should be charged with murder, the mentally immature mother or the lusty father? Or shall we just dismiss it as an honest act of consent and a naughty act of dumping the babies?
Little girls are not chattels. They are innocent human beings in their own right. They are somebody’s daughters, grand-daughters, sisters, nieces. Would any sane parents not be incensed if their child-daughters in primary school uniform were raped by youngsters with so-called bright futures?
“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”. If the lawyers, judges and others who feel nothing wrong was done by the rapists of these girls, then they should be able to tell the world honestly that if they had young daughters or grand-daughters, nieces or grand nieces of school uniform wearing age, they would not mind if their girls were raped by young men who had a bright future. It is one indifferent thing when the girl is somebody else’s daughter, but not the same if the girl were yours, or is it not?
How can learned people, even those learned in the law, argue that statutory rape is not rape if the girl had consented when a child below 16 is not even capable of making reasoned decisions, and certainly not one concerning sex and its consequences?
What are we reducing our society to? When in history were children under 16 considered matured enough to make reasoned decisions and therefore did not require the protection of society?
If there is hard evidence that girls, even those in primary school uniforms, can make reasoned decisions and give valid consent to sex, then let us change the constitution and register all secondary school girls as voters. Capacity to make reasoned decisions should be reflected in all matters, not just consent to sex.