Talk:Age of consent

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Inconsistencies with how countries have their age of consent assessed[edit]

While I understand that very few people actual understand the complex system of the law, I have noticed that some countries such as Japan, which has a national law implemented on the age of consent, is in actuality governed by regional law on the matter. While I understand that going by national law rather than regional law is one method of going about this page, a country like the USA, has its age of consent divided by region. I find it very inconsistent that each country has their age of consent judged differently, and it should either be determined on national law for all countries, or regional law for all countries. Honestly, what I believe the problem of this page to be is that it paints a very black and white picture of age of consent when the subject is actually very complex, and cannot be, and should not, simplified to a simple "age of consent in country X is Y". I believe the purpose of Wikipedia is to inform people, not give people an inaccurate picture. It is better to not explain at all rather than explain inaccurately. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sassyftw (talkcontribs) 06:14, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

Fair enough comment. Generally speaking the US is often covered in far greater detail than other countries, and non-English speaking countries often get the least level of detail. But that's not intentional: the volunteers that edit this page simply don't speak those other languages, so it's often difficult to find primary, reliable information and source it. Bilingual editors are a treasured resource, but hard to recruit.Legitimus (talk) 13:24, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
I would be happy to provide the necessary edits with the appropriate sources. The main purpose I put this discussion up was to confirm whether or not the page was open to such a change. While I have only studied British law, I am sure that I can find appropriate material from Japanese Government sites. Unfortunately Japan is the only country that I can actually research in detail, outside of Japan, there is little I can do. I also apologise if my earlier comment was on the aggressive side. It was actually reading a recent newspaper article, and the comments on it, that had me irritated rather than Wikipedia. I will admit that I am not entirely familiar with Wikipedia's editing system, but I am sure I can learn. Seeing as this page doesn't actually outline the countries in detail, the necessarily detail should be added to the Asian page instead? Sassyftw (talk) 14:47, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Certainly it is open to editing if you want to make changes, especially if you have reliable sources. Editing takes some practice, so I suggest when you make edits, press "Preview" first instead of "Save page" and look at how it appears, then make appropriate changes to your material. Often the various codes and marks can take some trial and error to get to appear correctly. I and other editors can make fixes to your edits as well.
You are correct in that this page is meant as a summary, whereas fine detail is provided in the sub-pages like Ages of consent in Asia. However if the summary on this page seems misleading about the nature of the law in certain nations, you can make some changes to this page as well as long as it doesn't get too long-winded.Legitimus (talk) 13:45, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

We want to be careful about imputing motivations for old laws[edit]

An editor added this paragraph to the end of the "History and social attitudes" section (before the "Modern laws" subsection):

The purpose of these laws was to preserve female virginity and protect the ownership rights of the father (whose daughter could become unmarriageable if deflowered) and to prevent premarital sex -'fornication'. The concept of child exploitation/child abuse as understood contemporary would develop much later.[1][2]
  1. ^
  2. ^ The Emergence of a New Taboo: The Desexualization of Youth in Western Societies Since 1800. by Martin Killias. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research Vol.8 (2000). ISSN 0928-1371.

The preceding paragraph says:

  • In the 16th century, a small number of Italian and German states set the minimum age for sexual intercourse for girls, setting it at 12 years.
  • Towards the end of the 18th century, other European countries also began to enact similar laws. *The first French Constitution of 1791 established the minimum age at 11 years.
  • Portugal, Spain, Denmark and the Swiss cantons, initially set the minimum age at 10–12 years. [N.B. no dates given]

and I assume these are the "these laws" referred to. (If the paragraph is intended to cover all the laws described in the entire section, going back to antiquity, that's an extremely broad area and I'd be skeptical of any one-sentence summary of the motivations for all of that.)

But the first ref (D'Cruz) doesn't support the assertion, at all. D'Cruz, though versed in the subject generally, does not write well so it's not always clear what she's saying, but she doesn't say anything close to that (her paper is mostly about adolescent girls in Britain 1850-1940 anyway). Killias I can't access.

This got me wondering "Why was the French Republic motivated to especially protect paternal property rights and prevent fornication, while the Old Regime wasn't?" since the Republic wasn't reactionary on most matters, I think; I know little of the details of this period, but it's a reasonable question, and similar questions arise for the other instance. Figuring out why people made a law is hard, particularly when it was 500 years ago, and I'm leery of presenting a single one-sentence cause to the reader and saying "that's it". So I'm skeptical that Killias (or anyone) can do that, and doubly so since I know the other ref presented (D'Cruz) didn't, so I removed the paragraph for now on that basis.

The editor did add other useful material elsewhere for which I thank her, and D'Cruz offers some good material (mostly in her refs) and it might be useful to offer the reader some suggestions on what was going in people's heads when they made these laws, but it's probably complicated and we want to be cautious here. Herostratus (talk) 06:09, 15 April 2014 (UTC)


Earlier today a large amount of information was boldly cut from the article Jailbait and pasted here. Whilst i'm certainly not opposed to having a mention of jailbait images here (in the same style that the sub-section child pornography has) I strongly do not think this entire section, with a thorough description of what jailbait images are as there is no main article to link to, and with it's own sub-section about a controversy involving jailbait images that doesn't really have much to do with age of consent laws on its own, belongs here. I strongly think the jailbait images should have its own article (back at jailbait like it did before it was moved here), and if anything this article should have a brief mention of the legality regarding said images with a link to the main article just like the child pornography sub-section has. I would very much like the opinions of others on whether this entire section should have been removed from its original location and transferred here. Freikorp (talk) 14:15, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

For others, see Talk:Jailbait#reducing to redirect for the main discussion. A WP:Permalink (in the case of that section being archived) is here. Flyer22 (talk) 14:44, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
I have since shortened the sub-section here, with a link to the newly created main article Jailbait images. The information at jailbait regarding jailbait images was boldly split into the new article by the same user who moved the information here in the first place. This action is contested, see Talk:Jailbait#Creation of the Jailbait images article. Freikorp (talk) 14:41, 30 June 2014 (UTC)


JMJimmy: The source in this edit does not, so far as I can see, discuss "the age at which a person is considered to be legally competent to consent to sexual acts" or, more specifically, "how birth dates in leap years are handled, or even the method by which birth date is calculated" in relation to age of consent. I have been referred to page 41 in the source. The page numbered 41 is the cover page for a new chapter and does not seem to mention sexual acts in any context. The 41st page of the document (page # 27) also does not seem to discuss the topic of this article in general or the text it is cited for in relation to age of consent.

Similarly, the next edit[1] refers to a source that does not seem to discuss age of consent.

Am I missing something? - SummerPhD (talk) 23:03, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

The sources are backwards in your comment (not in the article) - that was my fault, I didn't notice both fws and screwed up the edit descriptions. Sorry about that.
Assertion: Ages can be different based on the calendar used, PKK article states (p41) "If a mature man sodomizes a minor, the active party will be executed while the passive party who was consenting will receive up to seventy four lashes" and in section 3 defines minor vs mature in terms of the lunar calendar and discusses when the Gregorian calendar and discretion can be applied in other laws.
Assertion: birth dates in leap years. I didn't source this rather linked to the article which discusses it in appropriate detail. Uses the example of English common law which treats feb 29 as March 1st vs New Zealand which treats feb 29 as feb 28 in non-leap years. That simple difference can change both the age of consent and majority between countries. It's particularly important when combined with alternate calendars that use different leap days.
Assertion: method by which birth date is calculated - this is difficult to source, however, countries do codify how to calculate years. These laws differ in minor ways in most of the world, however, in some like Korea they start from age 1 (vs age 0). The source I did use, ilpa, illustrates the difficulties encountered in figuring out ages between countries which goes to the entirety of the assertions. Duarte, 16, from Angola case shows how an official assessed/calculated the boys age to be over 18. As a result he was put in a situation where he was raped/forced to perform oral sex by an adult. Upon a standards based re-assessment he was determined to be a minor (16). This wasn't so much a discussion of the specific age but of a consequence with regards to the method used in calculating age. JMJimmy (talk) 06:20, 8 August 2014 (UTC)