According to general law , statutory rape consists of sexual activity in which one partner is not of the age that is necessary to legally assent to the conduct. Although this basically is with reference to adults having sexual relations with minors who are underage, it is a broad term, and very few courts of law or law officials use the authentic expression statutory rape in the language of statutes. Different jurisdictions use many different statutory terms for the crime, such as sexual assault, rape of a child corruption of a minor unlawful sex with a minor carnal knowledge of a minor unlawful carnal knowledge sexual battery or simply carnal knowledge. In statutory rape, explicit force or threat is usually not made.
Statutory rape laws reduce intimidation because a minor or mentally handicapped adult does not possess the inherent capability for consenting to sex. The term statutory rape generally refers to sex between an adult and a sexually mature person who has attained the age of puberty. Sexual relations with a child who has not reached the age of puberty is generally called child sexual abuse or molestation and is a heinous crime. Statutory rape laws have their foundation on the principle that until a person reaches a certain age, that individual is legally unqualified and helpless for agreeing to sexual intercourse. Therefore the law assumes, even if he or she willingly engages in sexual intercourse, the sex is not by mutual consent.
People who disagree with the statutory rape laws argue that age limit should not be used to determine the ability to consent to sex, because a young teenager usually possess enough social sense to make knowledgeable and adult decisions about sex, while some adults might never develop the ability to make mature choices about sex, as even many mentally healthy individuals remain immature and easily manipulated throughout their lives. Another justification comes from the fact that minors are generally economically, socially, and legally unequal to adults. By making it against the law for an adult to indulge in sex with a minor, statutory rape laws aim to give the minor some protection against adults in a position of power over the youth.
The basic reason of statutory rape was for the protection of young, unmarried girls from males who might make them pregnant and not take responsibility for financial support for the child. This rationale aims to preserve the marriageability of the girl and to prevent unwanted teenage pregnancy. Previously a man could defend himself against statutory rape charges by proving that his victim was already sexually experienced prior to their encounter A requirement that the victim be “of previously chaste character” remained in effect in some U.S. states until as late as the 1990s.