Dating customs in the 16th century
The 1860 Indian Penal Code set the age at 10 years; in 1891 the age of consent but not the age of marriage was raised to 12 years.
As a result, the age of consent regulated the consummation of marriage, ensuring that it was delayed until an age when Indian girls were considered likely to have begun menstruating.
The phrase "within age" was interpreted by jurist Sir Edward Coke as meaning the age of marriage, which at the time was 12 years of age.
A 1576 law making it a felony to "unlawfully and carnally know and abuse any woman child under the age of 10 years" was generally interpreted as creating more severe punishments when girls were under 10 years old while retaining the lesser punishment for acts with 10- and 11-year-old girls.
Revelations of child prostitution were central to those campaigns, a situation that resulted, reformers argued, from men taking advantage of the innocence of girls just over the age of consent. The outcry it provoked pushed British legislators to raise the age of consent to 16 years, and stirred reformers in the U.
S, such as the Women's Christian Temperance Union, the British Empire, and Europe to push for similar legislation.
This module traces the shifting ways that the law has been defined, debated and deployed worldwide and from the Middle Ages to the present.An age of consent statute first appeared in secular law in 1275 in England as part of the rape law.The statute, Westminster 1, made it a misdemeanor to "ravish" a "maiden within age," whether with or without her consent.In western law, the age of consent is the age at which an individual is treated as capable of consenting to sexual activity.Consequently, any one who has sex with an underage individual, regardless of the circumstances, is guilty of a crime.