Underage and consent story
No one under the age of 16 can legally consent to sex, even if they think they want to. This law is in place to protect young people from experiences or consequences they are not be able to handle, as well as to protect them from predators and abusers.
01. Carl was always the fittest one in our group. We all hung out on the grass round the back of where we lived to smoke and drink out the sight of our mams and dads. Most people stopped hanging when they got old enough to drive or go to the pub, except Carl. He’s the oldest, by like two years.
0.2 He’d always get served for me, save me half on cigs and bring a spare hoodie when it got a bit colder. The other girls never really got that treatment, they were too immature to appreciate it anyway.
03. We always wandered off, just the two of us. Sometimes he’d sit next to me and put his arm round me. When we got a bit pissed I’d sit on his knee, it was harmless fun, I could tell he liked it – liked me.
04. He gave me his mobile number eventually. My parents won’t let me on social media or text boys till I’m 13 so he lent me an old phone of his. Our own way of communicating, he’d even top it up for me. He’d text me goodnight every night and tell me how pretty I am. Sometimes he’d even say a few ruder things, it was cool cos I could handle it.
05. It was nearing exam times and hardly any of the group’s parents let them stay out for long. Me and Carl ended up being the only ones one night. He took me over to a hidden bit between some houses near the normal hang place and told me he wanted to see more of me. I liked how hot he thought I was and I didn’t want him to think I was frigid.
06. We hung out on our own more often from then, doing the same things for weeks. We’d pretend to go home early and meet up at our little spot and make out. Sometimes we’d do more. He loved it and I wanted to make him happy. As soon as he got his own car he’d drive me to Mcdonalds for tea after school and I’d return the favour in his backseat.
07. One of the other girls we used to hang with took me aside at school and asked about me and Carl. I smiled and told her that we were dating and doing stuff. She told me it was wrong of him to do that because I’m under 16. Apparently, that means he’s raped me… but I wanted to do it?
08. She keeps telling me that even though I think I want it, by law I’ve been raped and he could be grooming me. This is bullshit, he treats me amazingly and I repay him in the ways he wants, it’s only fair! He hasn’t hurt me or shouted at me and I know him really well so it’s not rape. She’s told me I should tell the safeguarding lady at school but I don’t want to get Carl into trouble.
09. The safeguarding lady pulled me out of class today. She said she was worried that Carl has been inappropriate with me as I’m still classed as a child. I got really angry that she called me a child, I’m not 9 and he’s not 60! She told me that I couldn’t consent to sexual activity until I’m 16. She told me Carl shouldn’t have asked me to do what he did. But he likes me right?
10. I texted Carl about what happened and he got really angry at me. I didn’t like how he was so I turned off the phone he gave me and I didn’t hang out that night… or the next. I felt ashamed but the lady at school was really nice about it and told me it was up to me what happened next, they could help me figure it out and if I ever felt like I needed to I could make a formal complaint about him when I was ready.
Do not ignore the warning signs if you or a friend are at risk of sexual exploitation. See http://notinourcommunity.org/get-help/ to understand the options for help.
Names and other details have been changed to protect identities.