The Madras High Court recently made observations acknowledging sexuality of young people and the need to re-define it within the purview of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The court after looking into the matter of a young couple elopement recommended that POCSO should be amended so that consensual sexual relations between a girl of 16 years and above, and a boy who is not more than five years elder to her, should not be considered as sexual assault under the Act.
POCSO Act was introduced in the year 2012 to protect children from sexual offences. The only problem with the law was that it never acknowledged the fact that young people could also be sexual beings and could get attracted to each other.
This is where limitations of law become pretty evident in understanding what could be sexual advances and what could lead to sexual offences. Since children are defined as anybody below the age of 18 years old within POCSO, there is so no scope of defining consent or even understanding consent in case of a relationships between young people.
Since law has its processes to follow, it is always behind the technology spaces where all these young people are spending their time.
These young people are forging relationships and finding ways to develop sexual relationships and sometimes end up harming themselves more because law has failed to acknowledged their curiosity.
Many young people, are meeting people outside their usual social circles and forming relationships. They are curious and their curiosity is taking interesting twist. Young people are taking decisions based on whatever little information they are.
and this is where the society is failing them.
Banning children from any kind of activity in an era of too much of information, is a bad move.
What we need is a space, or systems which would help them think through this net of information and help them see a pattern.
Instead of laws, that only take the protectionist approach, where the very law which is supposed to protect them, ends up putting them in institutional set up. We need to look at alternative systems along with laws which will actually provide young people with a space to make those mistakes and ensure that they still feel safe and confident and will share the problems with people who care about them.
Hidden Pockets runs a WhatsApp referral number (8861713567) for young people to ask any queries around sexual and reproductive health . We provide confidential information. Trust Us. We Care.