COMIC: I'm 18 and Dating Someone Younger. Is it Illegal To have Sex?
Panel 1: Two round characters with big eyes are leaning close to each other, as if the left one has their arm around the right one. They are looking at each other admiringly as a thought bubble rises above the head of the one on the left. The thought bubble says: “I’m 18 and dating someone younger. Is it illegal to have sex?”
Panel 2: An anthropomorphized document with the words “statutory rape” scrawled across the top stands assertively with hands on its “hips” in between two couples of round characters. The couple on the left is holding soda cups in one hand and their admirer’s hand in the other as they gaze into their eyes. The number “18” is written above the character on the left, and “15” is above the one on the right. On the other side of the law character is another couple, sitting close together on the ground, looking at each other while both holding the same cell phone. The number “16” is written above both of them. The text says: “Did you know that if you’re 18+ and have a sexual relationship with someone younger, or if you’re both under 18, you could be breaking your state’s statutory rape law?"
Panel 3: The same scene from the previous panel, except now the couple on the left is dropping their sodas and everyone is looking at the law character in surprise, with exclamation points above their heads. The text says: “Here’s what you should know about the law of statutory rape.”
Panel 4: The law character is zoomed in on the bottom half of the panel, with the words “statutory rape laws” and “sexual activity + with someone too young to consent” written in. The text says: “What is statutory rape? Statutory rape is a law that makes it a crime to do sexual acts with someone who the law considers too young to consent to sexual activity.”
Panel 5: The law character holds up a sign in each hand, on either side of its “body.” The left sign says “old enough to consent” and is held out over a nervous blob character. The right sign says “too young to consent” and is held out over an incredulous round character who is saying “I’m only a year younger!” The text says: “What is the age of consent? The age of consent is the age the law considers you old enough to consent to sexual activity. It depends on your state laws, but it is usually between the ages of 16 and 18."
Panel 6: The law character leans over two little round characters, imposing its authority. The round characters say “But I consented” and “Me too!” but the law character, who looks angry, says “I care about age.” The text says: “What if we both consented? Even if you both agree it was consensual, the law won’t see it that way. You could be guilty of statutory rape for simply doing any sexual act with someone who the law considers too young to consent.”
Panel 7: A new law character appears and stands in front of the original law character, blocking them mostly from view. The new law character has a tiny drawing of a round character on a balcony looking down upon a Romeo character in the courtyard. Two round characters are standing, holding hands, to the left of the two law characters. The old law character says “too young” and the new one says “it’s ok! They’re close in age!” The text says: “What if we are both under the age of consent? Generally, both minors risk statutory rape charges. But many states have “Romeo and Juliet” laws to avoid sexual offense charges against minors or couples who are very close in age.”
Panel 8: The Romeo and Juliet law character looks down at the two round characters, who look happy, and says “I care about your age difference.” The text says “Romeo and Juliet laws protect partners who are close in age from being charged with statutory rape for otherwise consensual sex. These laws use the age difference of the couple to decide if statutory rape happened.”
Panel 9: A somewhat concerned character sits with legs splayed on a bed with a laptop on their lap. The text says “Visit FindLaw.com, where you can find attorneys near you and read about the law."
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