Who Are We Protecting? Statutory Rape Laws and the Control of Black Female Sexuality
At first glance, statutory rape and age of consent laws have a clear purpose: to protect youth from sexual exploitation by adults. However, these seemingly innocuous laws have drawn a great deal of controversy due to their varied application among states and the complexity of scenarios that they approach. While some Americans question their utility at a time when teenage and adolescent sexuality is becoming increasingly commonplace, others reinforce the need for their existence by pointing out that youth are at a high risk of being harmed by adults. Still others believe that statutory rape laws are necessary, but question the way they are applied and the actual effects of the law. Despite the substantial body of research on statutory rape, many criminologists fail to look at a very important element in its application: race. This paper will provide a background on the current discourse on age of consent laws and then address the significance of race.
Soyeju, Kemi, "Who Are We Protecting? Statutory Rape Laws and the Control of Black Female Sexuality" (2012). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI13851736.