I am writing in response to the Feb. 24 article “Man who had sex with 12-year-old jailed.”
This article stated that the sexual relationship between a 12-year-old and a 25-year-old man was consensual. Defence lawyer John Brown is quoted as comparing the issue of consent to that of “underage sex workers.”
This demonstrates an obvious lack of understanding regarding the issues of legal age of consent and the realities of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. We should expect our lawyers to know better. It is deplorable that Mr. Brown implied that “underage sex workers” and 12-year-olds lured into sexual relationships with adults are actually consenting to the activity and responsible for it.
Let’s be clear about this — a 12-year-old child can never legally consent to have sex with a 25-year-old. Our laws understand that children do not have the power and control to make such choices. Why would anyone in the justice system think the victim in this case provided informed consent?
As a lawyer, Mr. Brown knows full well that buying children under the age of 18 for sex is illegal.
Further, they are not underage sex workers. They are not child prostitutes. They are sexually exploited children and youth.
Imagine hearing an adult simply dismiss you as “an underage sex worker.” Imagine listening as a lawyer explains to the court that you consented to
child abuse. Imagine that child is your daughter, son, grandchild, niece or nephew.
Our children and youth are being sexually exploited, sexually abused and lured into sexual relationships with adults. These experiences are traumatic and damaging.
Shamefully, adults are having sex with children. There’s loads of responsibility to share — and none of it belongs to our children. These kids are not to blame. As a society, we are failing at protecting our children and youth from sexual exploitation.
We must stop minimizing the abuse of our children.
Community Youth Network