I don't know if I have addressed this before... but... there's an interesting experiment in Amsterdam going on. Their law is structured something like this: 16 is the legal age of majority. Consentual sex is allowed between a minor aged between 12-16 and an adult. HOWEVER, the sex must be consented upon by both the minor and the minor's parent(s). They both can bring charges of statutory rape against an individual... furthermore, laws against rape, sexual abuse, harassment, etc. would still apply, regardless of the age of the consenting parties. This is a particularly interesting example of applied law... because what it says is that their culture knows these things happen. Instead of inundating the courts with tons of cases that have little legal merit, the law has been structured in such a way that it both protects the minor's rights, but also graduates teenage minors towards developing their own degree of sexual responsibility. Pretending that it doesn't happen or creating laws to hope that it doesn't happen has neither made teens more responsible nor safer from true sexual predators. A hybrid law is far from being accepted in the conservative atmosphere of America, but given time, we might find that the only key to protecting teens is giving them elevated responsibility for their own decisions in addition to rights and protections under the law. Ultimately, they do have to live out in the real world, and a graduated approach instead of a sudden "casting out" into the adult world may prove far more effective in preparing one psychologically and physically for the real world.