Caution: Sensitive Material discussed below.
Welcome Dear Reader,
Today I'd like to chat with you about the sheer stupidity of some of our laws.To set the scene, let me tell you a story....and unfortunately it's all true.
Last year in Texas, the good ol' Lone Star State in the US of A, a 51 year old man was slapped with a felony charge of 'sexual performance by a child and possession of child pornography'. The man was caught after an investigation by the Houston Independent School District police found inappropriate messages and lewd photos of a 17 year old girl on his phone.Well done, I say, to the Police. Let's give him a fair trial and if he's found guilty, send his sorry ass to some skanky ol prison where he gets to see what it's like to be the victim of abuse for a change.
But wait, there's more. Apparently, it was even worse. Not only was he 'sexting' this girl, but he was also in an intimate relationship with her. Ok, now that's got to be a lot worse yeah? Hit him with sexual assault charges as well I reckon. But they didn't.
Why? Well, as it turns out, the legal age of consent to engage in an intimate relationship in Texas is...16. So, according to the good old rule book, you know, the Law, him and her in a sexual relationship is all just fine and dandy. Go ahead, nothing to see here.
So now I'm confused. The Law says he can see her nude for real all he likes, as long as she consents. And he can even do physical, intimate stuff with her as much as he wants, again as long as she consents. But. If he talks suggestively to her on the phone or she sends him topless photos on the phone like other legally consenting couples are allowed to do, well.....he's just broken the Law, even if she consented.
Because the law says that under 18 she's too young to give consent when it comes to texting and photos. That's called Child Exploitation. Them's the rules fella, and you just broke them.
So, off he went to court, where he admitted their relationship and plead guilty to the charges. The girl even sat with him and gave him encouragement through the process. And the court finding? Guilty of course. I mean, he even admitted it, so that was an easy one. The sentence? 5 years in jail, deferred adjudication. 'Deferred what?' Apparently that means that he has to pay a fine, do 250 hours community service and basically be on probation for the next 5 years. If he's a good boy, the case is dismissed with no conviction whatsoever on his record. Slap on the wrist. But if he's naughty? Automatic up to 20 years in jail.And in some kind of wierd way that admitted the situation was just plain wrong, the judge told him he had to stay away from her for a year. Yep, stay away from someone who is legally allowed to be with anyone she pleases. Hmmmm. And now? Well, she is now 19, he has been a good boy till now, and they are still a couple. (I wonder if they use their phones much anymore?)
So, what have we learnt here? That after this happened, the decision makers would get together, realise this situation is just plain stupid and fix it? Nope. Just slap him on the wrist because 'we all know you broke the law mate but you didn't really break the law did ya'. How the hell do they just let this slide?
Or maybe we've learnt that those silly old Texan legislators are just plain crazy, because that wouldn't happen here would it? Um, sorry, that's wrong too. These stupid discrepancies in the law regarding the necessary protection of minors are everywhere, even in our dear old Australia.
Yep, according to Australian Law, in particular the Criminal Code Act 1995 section 473.1, child abuse material refers to any depiction or representation of any person under (or implied to be under) the age of 18. So, pretty clear isn't? Under 18, no suggestive words or intimate piccies yeah.
But the age of consent? Well, that's an individual State thing, with each of them having their own ideas. In general, however, you can say that the age of consent is the same as good ol Texas. Yep, 16, except for South Australia and Tasmania where the age is 17.So, sorry Aussies, you can't bag Texas for being the only stupid ones here who can't sort out their bloody laws. Join the club.
But here we are, in this mess. How in the world did we end up in such a stupid place where we, as a smart, logical and moral society, make laws that say any adult can have an intimate relationship with another person as long as they're over 16, but don't you dare talk sexy on the phone to them or, heaven forbid, send or ask them for a sexy photo. Now, I'm not a lawyer (yay!!), but I would have thought that if we reckon that talking dirty to, or looking at nude photos of, a 17 year old is just plain wrong (here I agree) then how the bloody hell is having a relationship with them ok? It can't be can it? What bloody craziness are we dealing with here?
Now I know some of you out there might reckon the age of consent is set at 16 so that young kids doing what young kids do won't get into legal trouble if/when they muck around with each other (and yes, I'm sorry, it does happen. Remember when we were that age?) Not so the case. In Australia, for example, each of the States have specific rules in regard to 'underage' (under 16) relationships, ensuring that youngsters playing around is not treated the same by the law as some gross old grangpa hanging out with a teenager. Nope, 16 is the agreed age for 'adult' relationships.....but not for piccies.
Here is where I call stupidity by it's real name....Bulls**t!
How hard could it be for our exalted legislators to get together and sort out this mess? To get off their arses and do what we pay them for....make rules that are sensible, logical and moral. Not that bloody hard mate! Protect our children, give them the flexibility to be able to muck around within their own age group and keep the bloody predators away from them. Wouldn't have thought that was asking too much....but then again.Ok, that's enough from me today. Thanks for tuning in.
And please, Be Nice to Each Other