Yes, sure, the Coalition is happy to bang on about "personal responsibility" and all of that, but that's not what I am talking about—what I am referring to is the majorly stupid way in which the law recognises personal responsibility.
My thoughts were sparked by this extraordinary story, which I found via JuliaM.
A social worker who had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl in his care has avoided being sent to jail.
Eh? What? I thought that was supposed to be THE big no-no, surely?
Well, no, incredible as it seems, it wasn't having sex with her that got him into trouble. It was taking pictures:Richard Superville, 51, of Ceylon Road, Westcliff, was caught out after explicit photographs of the teenager were found on his laptop, a court heard.
Although Superville had not broken the law by his affair—because the girl was 16—he had committed a criminal offence by taking pictures of her topless.
OK, let us leave aside the issue of "care"—for we must assume that the law that applies to teachers in this situation does not apply to social workers. What a surprise!—and just imagine that this is two people having a sexual relationship.
In that context, it should be obvious that the story outlined above is utterly insane—it's OK to fuck a 16 year old but not OK to take topless photographs of her? Barking. Naturally, this sparked off some thoughts about the utterly loony laws surrounding "ages of consent".
And yes, I meant "ages" because we have several. Let's have a look, shall we?
- You must be 18 to: vote, sell naked pictures of your own body, buy cigarettes or buy alcohol (if you're lucky: I'm sick and tired of seeing signs proclaiming that such and such a place won't sell booze to anyone under 21. Or even 25).
- You must be 16 to: leave school (until the Coalition arseholes bring in Educational Conscription), get a job, join the army (and be trained to fucking kill people), get married, bring up a child and to fuck (or be fucked).
- You must be 10 to: be held responsible for a crime that you've committed (yes, yes, we all know that was brought in so that the politicians could appease those baying for the blood of the Bulger killers, but it wasn't much higher before—twelve, maybe?).
Now, can we please get this shit sorted out?
If you are responsible for crimes that you commit at the tender age of ten, then you should be responsible enough to do anything else, including buying booze and fucking people. If you aren't responsible enough to do those things with your own body, then you are not responsible enough to know that you've broken the law.
And if, at the age of sixteen, you are deemed responsible enough to fuck and be fucked, then you are most certainly responsible enough to know when you can allow your lover to take photos of your naked body. Damn it, if you want to earn money by selling pictures of your own body to whomever wants them: you are allowed to fuck and you're allowed to work—why the fuck shouldn't you be allowed to sell the pictures of you doing one or the other?
And if you are responsible enough to make love, and to get married, have a child and to hold down a job and get taxed on your bastard wages, then you are most certainly responsible enough to vote for the politicians who are stealing 50% of everything that you earn.
And yet these things are not put on the same level at all—and it's utterly insane. At what age are you responsible for yourself in law—is it 10, 16 or 18?
Successive governments—including the Coalition—quite obviously think that the age is 18: however, they have all lacked the balls to tell people that they cannot get married, they cannot get a job and they cannot screw each other at 16.
Personally, I think that the age of responsibility should be somewhere around the 16 mark—possibly lower. If there is a possibility that a crime has been committed—a very much older lover inveigling a young girl into sex, for instance—then that is for a court to decide.
Sticking with that theme, we could do what most other countries on the Continent do (and as Canada does), and make the law flexible dependent on the difference in ages between the two parties.
Whatever you personally think should happen, I personally think that a little consistency would be a really good idea—if only so that a man is not sent to jail for taking sexually-explicit photographs of the girl that he is perfectly legally allowed to have sex with.