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15 J. Juv. L. 197 (1994)
Teenage Sex in California: Thirteen Years after Michael M.

handle is hein.journals/jjuvl15 and id is 203 raw text is: TEENAGE SEX IN CALIFORNIA: THIRTEEN
The crime of having sexual intercourse with a minor female has
its origins in the enactment of the Statute of Westminster during the
reign of Edward I in 1275.1 At the time this first statutory rape law
was ordained, the age at which a female could give legal consent was
twelve years; but, the age of consent was subsequently reduced to ten
years in 1576.2 This statute was brought to America as part of the
English common law, and the statutory rape law was included in Cali-
fornia's first penal code enacted in 1872.3 In 1913 California raised
the age of consent (which defines a minor) and fixed it at eighteen
years, where it remains today.'
There have been a multitude of purposes posed for the criminal-
ization of sexual intercourse with a female minor. The puritan notion
of women as chattel prevailed in the 13th century - the woman be-
longing to her father before marriage and to her husband after mar-
riage. An unmarried, sexually active female was considered damaged
goods and the criminal statute was needed to preserve the minor fe-
male's marriageability. The obvious purpose of [the statutory rape
law] is the protection of society by protecting from violation the virtue
of young and unsophisticated girls.'
The statutory rape laws have embodied society's attitude that it is
necessary to protect a minor female from herself, from her own mis-
guided judgment regarding sexuality and sexual relations.
The minor female is presumed too innocent and naive to under-
stand the implications and nature of her act .... The law's concern
with her capacity or lack thereof to understand is explained in part
by a popular conception of social, moral, and personal values which
are preserved by the abstinence from sexual indulgence on the part
of the young woman.6
1. Michael M. v. Superior Court of Sonoma County, 450 U.S. 464,494-95 n. 9 (1981)
(Brennan, J., dissenting) (citing 3 Edw. 1, ch. 13 (1275); 13 Edw. 1, ch. 34 (1285)).
2. Id. (citing 18 Eliz. 1, ch. 7, Section 4).
3. Id. (citing Stats. 1850, ch. 99, Section 47, p. 234).
4. Id. (citing Stats. 1913, ch. 22, Section 1, p. 212).
5. Michael M., 450 U.S. 464, 495 n. 10 (1981) (Brennan, J., dissenting) (citing People
v. Verdegreen, 39 P. 607, 608 (Cal.1895)).
6. Michael M., 450 U.S. 464,495-96 n. 10 (1981) (Brennan, J., dissenting) (citing Peo-
ple v. Hemandez, 393 P.2d at 674 (Cal.1964).

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