- Published: October 24, 2012
What differentiates intercourse into an act of love or a criminal offense? “Consent” is the key in determining whether the intercourse is an innocent act or a crime because “to locate consent with respect to sexual intercourse is to locate the normative boundary between criminal rape and non-criminal sex”. However, over the course of rape cases, the meaning of consent has been difficult to define. First, before one party can even give consent, he or she must have clear knowledge, volition, freedom of choice, and cognitive ability to make the agreement. Criteria such as knowledge and freedom of choice are easier to confirm, but cognitive ability has been a point of contention in rape cases regarding minors.
The frontal cortex region of the brain, the area responsible for rational decision making and impulse control, does not fully develop until adulthood. Research has shown that frontal cortex development happens “during the second decade of life” and “over the span of a year, gray matter almost double in…the prefrontal cortex” This development in the human brain is responsible for the difference in adult and children behaviors. While teenagers might have full knowledge of what sex entails and its consequence, they do not have…