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Adolescent Sexual Behavior and the Law

(2011) Brittany Logino Smith, Glen A. Kercher

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Statutory rape laws have been enacted to protect minors from sexual abuse from either adults or peers. The intent of the laws when they were passed was to protect minors from coercive and involuntary sexual activity. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that some teenage girls engage in sexual activity even before the reach the legally defined age of consent. In the eyes of the law, persons below that age cannot give consent. Given the changing mores in this country and the increasing acceptance by teenagers of early sexual intimacies, more and more young people are finding themselves facing sexual assault charges, whether or not either partner feels victimized.