The age of consent laws in the UK are 16. In Sweden it is 15. That means that by the time I arrived in England, I was ready and legal, and could promptly get it on with Mark when he plopped into my life. For a mere chance of being roughly equal in age, with just two months difference and being on the right side of an arbitary age limit, we avoided becoming child rapist and child rape victim.
This is not the case in the United States, it seems. A seventeen year old girl dated a fifteen year old class mate, and as soon as the older girl turned eighteen, the parents of the younger girl reported her for sex crimes against the younger girl. The older girl was expelled from her school before graduation, and won’t receive a high school diploma it would seem, and has to go to court to defend herself against charges that will land her on the sex offender registries for life.
From the article at the Advocate:
Kaitlyn Hunt was a popular student at Sebastian River High School, participating in everything from cheerleading to basketball. Hunt began dating another female student and the latter girl’s parents became enraged, according to Hunt’s parents. Kaitlyn was 17 at the time the relationship began, while her girlfriend was 15. Upon Kaitlyn’s 18th birthday, her girlfriend’s parents sent the police to the Hunt home and the teenager was arrested.
Hunt was charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a child. Then, weeks before her graduation, Hunt was expelled from school.
I read that article, and I look at Mark and my relationship, and wonder what arbitrary difference there is between me and him, and this girl couple, except for the law. In their case, the older girl will end up on the sex crime registries. In my case, people go on about how cute me and Mark are together, before they ooh and aah about young love.
I’m not trying to make a moral superiority case here because if I had been younger than 16, or if Mark had been, then in the eyes of the UK law we could have been in the same position as that couple. What if either of us had been 15 and a half when we met two years ago? Would either of us have deserved to have our future destroyed by being expelled from school, and would either of us have deserved to end up on sex crime registers as child rapists?
That is the fate the older girl in the article apparently face, and I can’t help think that it’s a case of deep, bottomless and boundless injustice.