... a five year old definitively can or can't consent to sex.
It's not about maturity.
It's not about education.
It's not about any single factor.
It's about in this particular relationship, in this particular instance of human sexuality, was there any abusive or unethical behaviour that warrants involvement of law enforcement agents and possible criminal prosecution. In order to determine that you have to look at the very specific circumstances, events, and personalities involved in the relationship; take into account everyone's point of view; and make a carefully considered call as to if anyone has been violated and how.
No brand of human sexuality should be definitively illegal, regardless of how the bulk of society feels about it.
There are always exceptions.
You can't say "everyone under the age of X is off limits to everyone over the age of Y" with any more success or validity than you can say "everyone under the height of X is off limits to everyone over the height of Y"; or "everyone of the gender X is off limits to everyone of the gender Y"; or "everyone with a skin tone of X is off limits to everyone with a skin tone of Y". It's all the same. There are always reasons to try and justify draconian laws and they always add up to nothing compared to the truism of "no harm, no foul".
As much is there are significant differences between five year olds and fifteen year olds and twenty five year olds and etc., there will always be some cross generational affairs despite those differences which end up being harmless because there was indeed mutual chemistry.
It does happen. Everyone is different in their development, and some people end up psychologically and/or physically preferring the company of older or younger people.
It's not sacrificing the freedom of a few to ensure the safety of the majority; it's just simply unnecessary to prosecute if there was no violation. Sometimes a person who has been violated may not understand that they were violated, but sometimes a person may understand why they should have apparently been violated and simply disagree that they were. Maybe the relationship they had with the person who supposedly violated them was such that it wasn't viewed as a violation or perhaps even was viewed as a violation but only a minor or insignificant one. The point is that all of these points of view are equally valid, not only the one which would poll as most common.
Only the feelings of those directly involved actually matter; disregarding those feelings is just an additional violation of the one who was supposedly violated!
What we NEED is to teach our girls (and boys) about sex; more comprehensively and from much earlier ages.
For reasons of SAFETY; to give them the capacity to protect THEMSELVES from being violated in the first place.
You know those creeps that show up on girls' live streams trying to manipulate them into giving them eye candy?
You don't teach that such behaviour is inappropriate because that only works if the girls recognize that it is inappropriate.
If you try and keep kids away from sexuality, you end up making them way, way more susceptible to those who want to take advantage.
Why not just make it impossible to take advantage? Rather than intentionally keeping up a state of sexual ignorance for as long as possible, why not teach them to be sexually aware so that they can interpret with accuracy the cues of others and choose autonomously how they want to respond?
Why not teach them that only THEY have ownership over their own person, that only THEY can grant or deny permission for someone to engage with them sexually, and that attempts to pressure them into doing something they don't want to do qualifies as harassment, etc.?
I hate protectionism. We as adults can't protect kids from the world.
Not only does it not work all of the time; when it does work, it results in immature adults who were never taught how to protect themselves.
My Little Family Member, at her level of sexual awareness, is significantly more protected against unwanted advances from guys, having the power to accurately read and deny those advances (or accept ones she wants). Her development has been natural and gradual, at a pace set by her, although earlier than average... and she is now so much better off than the girls her age who have retained a state of ignorance about their own sexuality.
If, God forbid, she were ever to be taken advantage of... it would be black and white and easy to prosecute.
Compare to the 14 year old coming into her sexual awareness with another for the first time, not really sure whether she wants to or doesn't want to, gives in reluctantly to the guy at the party who is strictly interested in getting off, eventually regrets and breaks down into tears; but her consent was given and that's that.
Well... the State's response is to say: NO SEX BEFORE EIGHTEEN (give or take) AND IF IT WAS WITH SOMEONE OLDER THAN EIGHTEEN THEN THAT PERSON WILL BE PROSECUTED (etc.).
How well does that work out?
We try and have people start to prepare for the world of sex at the very moment they find themselves suddenly wrapped up in it. And our response to the problem which that creates is to try in vain to further separate young people from the world of sex beyond the point where even the majority have become compelled to partake. It makes no sense.
But in the first place:
To the end of truly protecting individuals from all kinds of harm, a hard cutoff attempting to separate "the sexual world of adults" from "the asexual world of innocent children" - and all of the culture of hysteria that accompanies that option (which is enough for a post in and of itself) - is just enormously counterproductive, and ignorant of reality...
... and leads to the persecution and destruction of innocents whose feelings are on the wrong side of the legislature.
R a i n b o w l o o m