Keyword: age of consent

Fass,(Editor) Paula S.; Child Abuse, Oct 03 2003
Defining Abuse in Historical Context, Innocence and Abuse, Preventing and Prosecuting Child Abuse
Entry from Gale Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society
Child abuse, as a historical subject, is deeply problematic, since the concept of abuse is inevitably relative and can be only very tentatively applied across cultures and across centuries.
The watershed in the history of child abuse must be dated as recently as 1962, when child abuse received its modern formulation by the American medical establishment as the battered-child syndrome.
The attribution of innocence implied the possibility of violation, and the necessity of protection.
A full generation after "The Battered-Child Syndrome" was first published, there is general public recognition that various forms of child abuse are pervasive – but also an awareness that abuse may remain largely concealed within the domestic walls that protect family privacy.
Furthermore, just as treatment of children in the historical past may appear abusive by current standards, so there is also a divergence of perspectives within contemporary society about what exactly constitutes abuse.
For all these reasons, child abuse is a social problem that has been recognized but by no means resolved.
Levine, Judith; Standing Member, Oct 25 2006
Judith Levine critisizes Foley as a hypocrite: 'protecting the children', in the meantime having intimacy with his page. She also critisize the comments on Foley, naming him 'a pedophile', as well as the laws and other measures to 'protect children' against their own sexuality: "The words child and protection lose all meaning.
Mader, D. H.; "The individual can ...": Objectifying consent; Thymos; 4(2), 103-112, Oct 01 2010
The issue of age of consent for sexual activities has been bedevilled by the absence of any objective standards or criteria for what is meant by or involved in 'consent'. Despite this absence-or because of it-the social and political response has been to reach for blanket prohibitions on sexual activity by persons under particular ages-ages which have settled in the mid- to late teens.

At the same time, the percentages of persons aged 15 and under who are sexually active in our societies indicate that young people are regularly consenting to sexual activities. Consent to sexual activity has also been a concern in relation to the lives of the cognitively or mentally impaired.

In an attempt to clarify issues surrounding consent there, a significant proposal in regard to objectifying standards for consent was reported by Carrie Hill Kennedy, in her article "Assessing Competency to Consent to Sexual Activity in the Cognitively Impaired Population" (Journal of Forensic Neuropsychology 1:3, 1999), where she developed a two-part scale for ability to consent, including twelve criteria involving knowledge and five criteria involving personal assertiveness and safety. Kennedy herself has maintained that there is no relevance for her research as applied to minors: adults have sexual rights, minors do not.

However, it would seem clear that there is a certain relevance-if not in the use of a similar scale for assessing the competence of a particular minor to consent, then in generally comparing the age at which children attain the developmental level comparable with that implied by Kennedy's five Safety standards, and using that information to critique the present, obviously unrealistic ages of consent. In relation to the Knowledge scale, the importance of sexual education becomes still clearer.