This is a contentious issue. It seems to me that youngsters mature a lot earlier than they did in the 50s when I was a young teen. I looked like a young lady, but inside I had no idea how to handle the feelings struggling to surface.
Nowadays, youngsters watch singing stars flaunting their sexuality with suggestive moves. Immature minds can't be blamed for assuming this is normal behavior.
In the past, the age of consent for a sexual union was a matter for the family to decide, or a tribal custom. In most traditional societies, this coincided with signs of puberty, menstruation for a woman and pubic hair for a man.
Reliable data for when people would actually marry is very difficult to find. In England for example, records involve only those who left property after their death. The records are rare and rarely state the participants' ages. The first recorded age-of-consent law dates to 1275, in England, as part of the rape law, a statute, Westminster 1, made it a misdemeanor to ravish a maiden within age, which at the time was 12 years of age, whether with or without her consent.
In the 12th century Gratian, the influential founder of Canon law in medieval Europe, accepted age of puberty for marriage to be between 12 and 14, but acknowledged consent to be meaningful if the children were older than 7. Some authorities said consent could take place earlier. Marriage would then be valid as long as neither of the two parties annulled the marital agreement before reaching puberty, or if they had already consummated the marriage.
In the 16th century, a small number of Italian and German states set the minimum age for sexual intercourse for girls at 12 years. Towards the end of the 18th century, other European countries also began to enact similar laws. The first French Constitution of 1791 established the minimum age at 11 years. Portugal, Spain, Denmark and the Swiss cantons, initially set the minimum age at 10–12 years.
How do you feel about this? Should a government reduce the age of consent?
In my co-written Higher Ground past apocalyptic series, the sixteen-year-old heroine is free to mature at her own pace. However, thugs roam the forest covering the Britland and sometimes her friends are not close by.