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Of course, those who actually committed sexual battery should be held accountable.
Statutory rape implies consent, even though the consent was given by a minor -- sexual battery is the opposite of consensual sex.
Near the end of the 18th century, other European nations began to enact age of consent laws.
The broad context for that change was the emergence of an Enlightenment concept of childhood focused on development and growth.
Florida Statute 943.04354, titled, So, a 14 year old and an 18 year old; up to a 17 year old and a 21 year old; are allowed to have consensual intimate relationships, without fear of the life time stigma of sex offender status.
This Romeo and Juliet law was passed quietly without fanfare.