15A050 Consent by Jim Davies, 9/4/2015    


In the summer of 2014, a young man and a young woman had a steamy encounter in Concord, NH. They were acquainted, and the girl (I'll call her Penelope) was reluctant at first but the boy (Owen) was patient and charming and in due course the clothes came off and each gave the other a full measure of pleasure. They parted friends, and that should have been that.

But it wasn't. Penelope was 15, and had some degree of regret later, so the encounter came to Mommy's attention, who immediately entered full battleship mode and went after Owen with screeches of "Statutory Rape!" The case came to court last month.

As they often do, the prosecutor padded his main charge with a pocketful of lesser accusations and while Owen was lucky with his lawyer and jury so was acquitted of rape, he was found guilty on some of those lesser ones and the judge landed him with a scarlet letter. For evermore, he will have to register as a "sex offender" wherever he goes. His life will continue to be blighted, long after Penelope has married and raised a bunch of kids. If I were he, I'd emigrate.

I do blame him for one thing: as an 18-year-old student at the prestigious St Paul's School, an Episcopalian foundation, he had planned to become an ordained minister. That would have included preaching against fornication, so he was hypocritical last year. I'm glad he has now put that ambition "on hold." He was Harvard-bound, and that too is on hold.

This case clarified for me something I'd not quite appreciated before, centering on the significance of the law defining sex with a minor as "rape" regardless of the circumstances. The two may fully enjoy their encounter, take all birth-control precautions, have no regrets, yet by definition, rape has occurred. One lawyer commented this way: "by law, a girl is LEGALLY INCAPABLE of consenting and it doesn't matter whether she seemed to enjoy the encounter or how many times she gave permission for it." That ties a defendant's hands behind his back; perhaps Owen's jury was sensible enough to nullify the law. Observe, though, what that law does: it takes away and over-rules the girl's natural right to decide what to do with her own body. Any words she utters are declared void and of zero consequence. In effect, it prohibits sex; what Nature has put in place, government has removed. Utterly outrageous!

How it is that groups that claim to advance the rights of women can simultaneously favor laws that literally negate and nullify the wishes of such women, fairly boggles the mind.

It's no fix just to lower the "age of consent." Some girls are mature at 12 or 13, some not until 18. No one-size-fits-all age will do. The whole idea of statutory rape needs to be scrapped. A girl who is not physically mature will not wish to have sex, so will not consent; if a man then forces himself on her, rape will have occurred without question. If on the other hand she is mature and does want it, no third party should interfere.

But that's hardly the half of it. Not only are stat-rape laws outrageous in that they deny self-ownership to maturing girls, every law is outrageous in that it denies everyone self-ownership! Every law removes some aspect of choice and decision, thereby reducing the humanity of all affected. The whole business of government, therefore, is to make everyone less human, to turn us into obedient machines, making our "consent" always irrelevant. It's not just that stat-rape laws need abolition; government and all its laws need abolition. That's the ultimate lesson from Owen's trial.

We arrive again, therefore, at the premise of this Blog: that government is parasitic at best and needs to be scrapped outright. We also arrive at a fair question: absent government and its stat-rape laws, in the coming zero government society how will young, immature girls be protected from rapacious males?

Not hard at all. She, or usually her parents, will approach the predator and demand compensation for their daughter, who may well have suffered serious psychological damage and will need expensive treatment to put it right. He has violated her self-ownership (remember: being immature, she will not have desired the experience and so will not have given consent) and so must repair that damage. If he refuses to do so, they will take him to a free market court, which will presumably find in the plaintiff's favor. He will be ordered to pay. If he refuses, that fact will appear on his public record and deter everyone from doing business with him, for example by offering him a job. He will be an outcast, probably with an abbreviated life. There can hardly be a stronger deterrent for others.

Or if he concedes but is indigent, the needed money will come from insurance, assuming the parents have been wise enough to buy some. The market always works, and it will work in the industry of justice.






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