Marriage and Consent Laws, 2004–2018
The book’s final chapter accounts for a 2006 Indian law banning child marriage as well as contemporary feminist dilemmas about lowering the age of sexual consent. This chapter tracks the efforts to reform the law on child marriage to make it easier to enforce. The context of legal changes following the 2012 gang rape of Jyoti Pandey is also explained. The chapter shows how feminists are calling for lowering, rather than raising, the age of consent, out of a recognition that the higher age of consent facilitates social control. The chapter uses the history offered in previous chapters to dissect the complexities of recent laws prohibiting child marriage and altering the age of consent. Ultimately, chapter 7 exposes how presumptions about the vulnerability of the adolescent girl can backfire when too much power is vested in parental hands.
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