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Socialist Review, June 1994

Julia Nawrocha


Child abuse: it’s not the norm


From Socialist Review, No. 176, June 1994.
Copyright © Socialist Review.
Copied with thanks from the Socialist Review Archive.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Richard Purdie (April SR), rightly argues that children are oppressed – an important point, and one often overlooked by socialists. I think he contradicts himself though when he argues that we should be in favour of a legal age of sexual consent because it regulates ‘sexual access to children’.

The logic of his argument seems to suggest that without consent laws every adult would be abusing every child. Capitalism distorts sexuality, as it does all relationships, but abuse is the exception rather than the norm. Sex is a commodity, stacked on the shelves next to the baked beans, so as it’s possible to steal beans it is possible to steal sex. It is rare though that someone’s sexuality is so distorted that they steal sex and when this is the case the law is not the main deterrent.

Young people want to experiment sexually but they don’t look to adults in this process of discovery, rather they look to people of their own age. Removing the age of consent not only decriminalises many young people but it takes away some of the guilt surrounding sex.

Ultimately only socialism will free us of oppression and allow us to express our sexuality, but in the meantime why punish the people whose rights you champion, Richard?

By taking away the age of consent at least one part of the guilt surrounding sex will be removed.


Julia Nawrocha

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