Suddenly, to reform means change it for the worse. Barbara Hewson, a “senior human rights barrister“, suggests the following:
As for law reform, now regrettably necessary, my recommendations are: remove complainant anonymity; introduce a strict statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions and civil actions; and reduce the age of consent to 13.
All this is the response to “the post-Savile witch-hunting of ageing celebs.” The crimes they are accused of were committed when they were in the prime of their life. Just because someone is now a 70-year-old granddad with a distinguished career and OBEs to prove it, does not mean they should not be punished.
The law probably does need changed. The age of consent should, in my opinion, be increased to 18 – sex results in babies and hardly any 16-year-olds are emotionally and financially equipped to deal with the consequences. The age a person enters puberty has no impact on anything – their cortex is still developing until their twenties. Just because you can physically have sex or even think you want it does not mean you should. To me, anyone in their twenties having sex with even a 16-year-old is a pervert as I, perhaps naively, view sex as an expression of love within a relationship in which two consenting parties engage. I cannot imagine being attracted to someone half my age. Physically or emotionally.
Furthermore, any unwanted and/or illegal sexual advances are wrong. “Touching a 17-year-old’s breast, kissing a 13-year-old, or putting one’s hand up a 16-year-old’s skirt, are not remotely comparable to the horrors of the Ealing Vicarage assaults and gang rape, or the Fordingbridge gang rape and murders, both dating from 1986. Anyone suggesting otherwise has lost touch with reality.” This is a ridiculous argument to the tune of you don’t know what real suffering is (reiterated currently as “just travel the world and you will realise that there is no real poverty in Britain). At my age, I can deal with such “low-level” sexual behaviour. I have the experience, the assertiveness and do not fear the repercussions of speaking up but it is still hard. Can that be said of a thirteen-year-old? Furthermore, lowering the age of consent will mean that even sex with a 12-year-old will not be viewed as too reprehensible over time. After all, they will be of age soon enough.
Anonymity should be extended to the accused to prevent tarnishing their reputation in case the charges are ungrounded or cannot be proven. There should be no statute of limitations – sexual crimes affect the victims throughout their whole lives and are difficult to talk about. It is only fair that proceedings should be brought in whenever the survivor feels ready to do so. It is not about the perceived severity of the crime or its social impact. Otherwise, after the death camps of the second World War, Russian gulags and ethnic cleansing of the 90s we should not be prosecuting anyone for murder. After all, what is one person’s life worth when you compare it to those “real” tragedies.