A top UK lawyer has suggested an interesting way in which society might rid itself of the majority of child sex abuse cases: legislate them out of existence by changing the age of consent to 13. That's what Barbara Hewson, a London Barrister proposes in the latest edition of Spiked, an on-line magazine. It's just mean, apparently, in her view to want to bring the full weight of the law down on grown men who fancy a bit of slap and tickle with school girls; and it is positively reminiscent of the worst excesses of the former Soviet Union to want to prosecute historic cases going back decades of men whom current laws would categorise as serial child sex abusers.
Hewson says: It’s time to end this prurient charade, which has nothing to do with justice or the public interest. Adults and law-enforcement agencies must stop fetishising victimhood. Instead, we should focus on arming today’s youngsters with the savoir-faire and social skills to avoid drifting into compromising situations, and prosecute modern crime. 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.
Those gentlemen for whom there is no such thing as 'too young' are going to make this lady their pin up girl (in a metaphorical sense; as she's a grown woman, she's clearly too old to be an actual pin-up for any of them). And they will especially love her suggestion that little girls should be armed with 'the savoir-faire and social skills to avoid drifting into compromising situations.' Or in other words, if a girl does get trapped and sexually assaulted by a man old enough to be her dad or grand-dad, it's her fault for not having the 'the savoir-faire' or 'social skills' to have prevented it.
Of course, horror is being expressed about what Ms Hewson is saying. Colleagues at her chambers are already scrambling to distance themselves from her remarks. The lady will be persona non grata for a while. But someone else will then come along and suggest something similar; and someone else. And drip-drip-drip before you know it, it'll be OK for adults to 'cruise' kindergartens and playgrounds for their sexual pleasure. Parents beware. And kids - time to start brushing up on your savoir-faire and social skills. You'll need them sooner than you think if some get their way.