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Debate Guide: There is no law that prohibits minors

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The process of removing rights from a social demographic can in part be achieved by criminalizing others

Typically employed as a "gotcha" argument on youth-rights by self-identified rationalists with room-temperature IQ:

You say that minors are effectively emancipated by reforming consent/grooming/CP laws. They are already emancipated, since they are not criminalized in these interactions which they are free to pursue.

Firstly, for this argument to succeed, one would have to assume minors were not being criminalized and prosecuted for sex or sexting with one another. Sadly, this is just not the case, as RSO activists repeatedly remind us.

Secondly, you could similarly say that a gay teenager is "free" to pursue deep and meaningful discussion of their sexuality with their violent/homophobic parents. While today, this argument would be dismissed as absurd, it is also the case that consent/grooming/CP laws set up a hostile environment that forbids minors full freedom over their interactions with adults.

Granted, assuming the minor partner is not the "perpetrator" or engaged in sex work, there is usually no technical infraction of the law on their part. However, they are effectively forced to stay silent about these relationships, or otherwise face severe social fallout, including no end of gaslighting and social shaming related to ongoing relationships. A great deal of guilt is also caused by self blame - i.e. the feeling of bringing harm unto the person the younger partner considers to have been a friend, looking out for them. Extensive legal proceedings, interrogation, and intrusive physical examinations, leave young people in a catch-22 situation regardless of whether or not the relationship is abusive. The same goes for the older partner, in turn negatively impacting the quality of relationship for the minor.