03 May, 2009

Stupid Laws in the NT

So it has recently come to my attention (via Cheshire_Bitten) that some pretty fucking stupid laws have been passed in the Northern Territory recently.

Firstly, there is now mandatory reporting of any child under 16 purchasing condoms. Or having sex. And this law applies to everyone. If you are a friend or brother and you know of someone having sex, you must report it.

Then, there is this:
"Any person who has sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 16 is guilty of a crime and liable to imprisonment for 16 years," Dr Bauert said.

"There's no age defence, so if the person who was having sex with somebody under the age of 16 is 15, that is no defence."

That's right, 15 years olds having sex with each other is now rape. Because, you know, teenagers aren't hormone-filled, confused people just trying to figure everything out. They're rapists. Let's jail them for 16 years.

There are many reason why these laws are full of shit, the rape charge being one of them (and the big one, IMHO). But these laws effectively remove sex-ed from the equation. If a 15yo comes to a doctor or teacher for help with preventing pregnancy or STDs, that person will need to report the 15yo.

So with possible jail terms, why would any 15yo ask for help or advice about sex? There's also the possibility that parents, afraid of breaking the law, will not provide the proper information, because that could be seen as encouraging underage sex.

Look, people, a person does not magically mature into a fully-capable human being when they reach that magical, arbitrary age. They aren't suddenly able to make informed decisions. Firstly, some kids are mature at 14. Or younger. Hard to believe, but very, very true. There are also kids who aren't mature at 21. Less hard to believe. Still very true.

Also, kids will experiment, whether they are mature or not. Sticking your head in the sand will not make that go away. Calling 15 year olds rapists will not make that go away. How about instead we encourage proper sex-ed and do our part to help prevent STDs and unplanned pregnancies. Support and help is what a teen needs, not a criminal record!

If you live in the NT, write to your local MP and tell them how fucked up these laws are. If you don't, write to the NT MP and tell them how fucked up these laws are. Not sure how much good letter writing will do, but it's better than doing nothing.

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