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Statutory Rape: Sex between Young Teens and Older Individuals

A little discussed but significant behavior in our society is statutory rape.

Statutory rape is defined a little different from state to state but the idea is that one of the partners is under the age of 16 and has sex, even consensual if that is truly possible, with someone 3 or more years older.

The Child Trends data bank has an interesting article on the issue.

"Among young people ages 15 to 24 in 2002, 13 percent of females and 5 percent of males reported that their first sexual experience occurred at age 15 or younger with an individual who was three or more years older ("statutory rape"). (See Figure 1)

Sexual relationships between young teens and older individuals are associated with risky sexual behaviors that could lead to unintended pregnancy and childbearing, as well as to sexually transmitted infections. Among sexually experienced teens, having sex with someone who is older has been associated with reduced and inconsistent use of contraception,1,2,3 including reduced use of condoms,4 and a greater risk of a teen pregnancy.5 In fact, more than one in four children born to mothers between the ages of 15 and 17 were fathered by someone five or more years older.6 Additionally, engaging in sexual intercourse at an early age is associated with a number of negative consequences, including having a greater number of sexual partners, reduced contraceptive use, and a greater likelihood of having a teenage birth.7"

I remember reading a study which reported that one predictor of initiation of sexual activity is whether the partner is sexually experienced. In other words, if a virgin is going out with a non-virgin, this increases the liklihood that the virgin will loose his/her viriginity. Parents and guardians need to provide appropriate supervision for their children by determining the sexual experience of the person their children are dating and spending time with.

Link: Child Trends DataBank - Statutory Rape: Sex between Young Teens and Older Individuals.


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