Like we are asked to show IDs before we are served alcohol, will we now have to show IDs before engaging in sex?Sameena Kenaz firstname.lastname@example.org
Last month, the Parliament and the Delhi High Court were engaged in a rather perplexing matter of the age of sexual consent. The Parliament passed a bill deeming sex illegal for those under the age of 18 and the HC countered that saying ‘times have changed’, the legislatures should keep in mind the changing attitudes of people before passing such legislations.
The question that instantly comes to mind is that should we be meddling with the law at all? If we are allowed to vote, drive and supposedly be taxed at 18 then why exactly can we not take decisions . We spoke to people that this bill primarily concerns, the youth. Here’s what they think about the entire episode:
Chetan Singh, a filmmaker says, “Lately, the youth have become more mature because of exposure to various media and their curious mind makes them susceptible to sexual activities. If it is happening with the consent of the girl, then I don’t think there is anything to worry about, cause even in olden times girls got married below the age of 16 and they were fine. They had kids by the age of 17 !”
Debjyoti Das, a student of Mass Communication and Journalism adds, “I prefer sex after marriage because of my personal beliefs, but everybody doesn’t think alike. Times have changed and we live in a democratic country. The government can’t put a legalised age for sex, that’s rubbish! Every individual has the right to choose what he wants. The government would be better off focusing on other issues like poverty, corruption, terrorism, etc.”
On that note, if one were to notice then the mindset of people regarding premarital sex, have also changed a lot in the last decade. It is no longer something that attracts the awkward attention of society because the society itself, is now formed by the youth. If they don’t have a problem with it and are ready to accept people with their pasts, sexual and otherwise, then is the government right by intervening? Anjana Parvathy, a student of law, seems to disagree though, “I think the age of consent should be 18. Considering the rash lifestyle of youth in India today, I guess the government’s taking the right decision. Agreed that maturity to a large extent comes from experience and not age…but at some point maturity comes with age and the limit must also be set where one can take their own decision weighing the pros and cons.
“The ability to take a matured decision is what matters in such cases and hence, the bill is doing the right thing. The Delhi HC is wrong. At ages like 15-16, it’s easy to misguide someone, force your views and hence easy to take advantage. Such category of people need protection, even if it is through imposing an age restriction. Consent is a relative concept, anybody can be persuaded.”
If this is the government’s way of tackling sex abuse then legalising the age of consent does not even address the problems of sexual abuse, in fact, it does nothing. It is nothing but an interference of the government into the private and personal lives of its people is what most people feel.
Age of consent across the world
Mexico, Columbia: 12
Japan, Spain, Syria: 13
Germany, Georgia, Hungary, Italy: 14
Bahrain (Must be married), Lebanon, Monaco: 15
US, UK, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Malaysia: 16
India, Uganda, Egypt, Pakistan, Denmark: 18