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They also argued that the age of consent should be aligned with other benchmarks of development, such as the age at which girls could enter into contracts and hold property rights, typically 21 years.
Opponents remained focused on physiological maturity, however, and argued that girls in their teens were sufficiently developed not to need legal protection.
An underage girl did not have to physically struggle and resist to the limit of her capacity in order to convince a court of her lack of consent to a sexual act, as older females did; in other words, the age of consent made it easier to prosecute a man who sexually assaulted an underage girl.
However, since the age of consent applied in all circumstances, not just in physical assaults, the law also made it impossible for an underage female to consent to sexual activity.
Laws and regulations based on age were uncommon until the 19th century, and consequently so was possession of proof of age or even knowledge of a precise date of birth.
Near the end of the 18th century, other European nations began to enact age of consent laws.
Consequently, any one who has sex with an underage individual, regardless of the circumstances, is guilty of a crime.In 1875, England raised the age to 13 years; an act of sexual intercourse with a girl younger than 13 was a felony. S., each state determined its own criminal law and age of consent ranged from 10 to 12 years of age. Although scientists and physicians had established that menstruation and puberty occurred on average around age 14 in Europe at this time, different individuals experienced it at different ages -- a fluid situation at odds with the arbitrary line drawn by whatever age was incorporated into law.At the end of 19th century, moral reformers drew the age of consent into campaigns against prostitution. Stead's series of articles entitled, "The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon," published in the Pall Mall Gazette in 1885, was the most sensational and influential of these exposés.In addition to class, the intersection of race and age also gave the law a regulatory character.In India, for example, the prevalence of the custom of child marriage among Hindus led the British colonial authorities to apply the age of consent to married as well as unmarried girls, thereby creating a crime of marital rape that did not exist in British law.