But in many states across America, from a legal standpoint, there’s little distinction between Romeo and Juliet's mutual decision and the abusive actions of a child molester.
The new laws, named “Romeo and Juliet laws” after Shakespeare’s tragic teenage lovers, attempt to correct overly harsh penalties and prison terms meted out over the years.
In 2007, these laws went into effect in Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, and Texas.
When Shakespeare brought Romeo and Juliet to life, he was intentional in choosing two young characters as his protagonists.
Then as now, two teenagers having consensual sex is perfectly understandable.
Teens should be informed of these risks and of the risk of venereal disease.
State legislatures and law enforcement do what they can to protect younger children and teens from those who would try to get them to engage in sexual activity before they're ready, but at the end of the day, your rules and guidelines as a parent are the ones most likely to protect your teen.Bill Albert of the Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy claims that research has repeatedly shown that teens who date someone older are more likely to engage in sexual behavior and to become pregnant.Studies have also shown that teens who date older people are more likely to be the victims of violence within their dating relationships.On the other hand, an adult molesting a child is reprehensible.The difference between the two situations would seem obvious.At age 17, Anthony Croce began having sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend; when he turned 18, the girl’s disapproving mother pressed charges and Croce pleaded no contest.