Teens having sex earlier

by
Aug 5, 2009
Teens having sex earlier <!–10 min–>

By Leow Si Wan
Consensual sex was often at the heart of the problem. Many of the girls had sex with casual friends and boyfriends, most of whom were about the same age.

IT’S a sign of the times: More girls aged below 14 are having sex.

The police have now tabbed this as a worrying crime issue, and are trying to keep a lid on the problem.

Crime statistics issued on Wednesday for the first half of the year showed that the number of statutory rape cases involving girls under 14 jumped more than 70 per cent, to 37 cases, compared to the same period last year.

Consensual sex was often at the heart of the problem. Many of the girls had sex with casual friends and boyfriends, most of whom were about the same age.

But when the girls’ parents, or in some cases, teachers, found out, they were determined that action be taken, and reported the cases to the police, who took action.

When the cases go to court, a variety of punishments are dished out. If the culprits are youngsters themselves, they might be fined, sent for reformative training, given probation or even jailed, said Mr Patrick Tan, a lawyer in private practice.

In one case involving a 19-year-old youth and a 12-year-old girl, the teen was fined $8,000.

But if older men are involved, more severe sentences are handed down. For instance, one 32-year-old man who had sex with a 12-year-old girl he met through a friend was jailed seven years and ordered to be caned 18 times.

The girls involved in such cases are not punished, even if they initiate sex, lawyers said. But they are sometimes counselled, or sent to homes.

But beyond landing those involved in trouble with the law, teen sex also causes other problems. Many such trysts lead to unwanted pregnancies, abortions, and a rise in the number of sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV.

Last year, 787 teens caught STIs, more than three times the 238 in 2002. For HIV, the figure rose from one in 2002 to nine in 2007. The total number of teenage abortions last year was 1,289.

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