Until last week, the ages of consent to have sex or marry in Spain were among the lowest in the world: 13 years for sex, 14 years for marriage.
But citing health and safety concerns, Spanish Health Minister Ana Mato said the country would raise the minimum consenting age for marriage to 16, reports Medical Daily. The new minimum age for consensual sex? That’s still to be determined by Parliament.
The move to raise the age of consent comes on the heels of a proposal in India to lower the age of consent from 18 to 16 — where recent brutal rapes cast a harsh spotlight on attitudes towards sexual harassment. That proposal ultimately failed, and the age of consent was fixed, although not without controversy, at 18 years.
By comparison, the age of consent in the U.S. varies from state to state — between 16 and 18 — though historically speaking, it used to be much lower. According to Stephen Robertson of the University of Sydney, Australia:
By 1880, the first date chosen, many western nations had established an age of consent for the first time, typically of 12 or 13 years. By 1920, when the influence of reform campaigns that established a new link between the age of consent and prostitution had run its course, most had revised their age upward, to 14 or 15 in European nations, and 16 in the Anglo-American world.
Slotting in the “extreme outlier” category: the U.S. state of Delaware, where in 1880 the age of consent was only 7.