Barbara Hewson is a distinguished civil liberties barrister. She’s championed the rights of women and the disabled, among other important causes.
So it is all the more astonishing that she is now advocating reducing the age of consent to 13 to ‘end the persecution of old men’.
She made her comments in light of what she calls the ‘post-Savile witch-hunting of ageing celebs’, which she says has echoes of persecution in the old Soviet Union.
Ms Hewson, 52, even went as far as to claim that sports pundit and presenter Stuart Hall’s sex crimes were low-level misdemeanours, despite the serial sex offender admitting to 14 assaults, one on a girl of nine.
It is unclear whether Ms Hewson is married or has children, yet surely if she did have a 13-year-old daughter she would fight like a lioness to protect her from predatory men, let alone condone her child having consensual legal sex at that age.
On her Twitter account in May, she posted: ‘Seriously having a problem that a kiss of a 13yo leads to a conviction. What planet are folk on? Embarrassing. The pervs are the prosecutors.’
What a mixed-up world she lives in. The ‘pervs’ are paedophiles like Stuart Hall who prey on young girls; the prosecutors the ones who are there to protect the vulnerable.
Girls grow up at different speeds but, as many sociologists observe, one of the greatest crises facing young girls now is their early sexualisation.More... Outrage at barrister who called Stuart Hall's crimes 'low level' Police in 'secret arrest' row over Tarbuck after concealing comedian's arrest for almost two weeks EXCLUSIVE: Now police quiz Jimmy Tarbuck. Comedian arrested over alleged sex attack on young boy during the 1970s Behind the bonhomie, a cunning and amoral philanderer: Revelations of his predatory past are not just a personal tragedy for Hall, but also for his family
Bullied by boys — who are often inspired by online porn — to have sex before they are ready, this generation is bombarded by sexual messages. It is our duty as parents, families, law-makers and as a society to shield them.
The age of consent was raised from 13 to 16 in the late 19th century to protect children from exploitation by men who sought sex with pre-pubescent girls. So why on earth is one of our leading female barristers seeking to remove such protections today?
Ms Hewson’s dismissal of Stuart Hall’s attacks on girls as trivial is an insult not just to every woman he assaulted, but all other young victims, too.Astonishing: Ms Hewson's dismissal of Stuart Hall's attacks on girls as trivial is an insult not just to every woman he assaulted, but all other young victims, too
Her belief that 13 should become the age of consent has infuriated decent people. It is depressing enough that girls of 13 and 14 are already having sex, despite 16 being the legal age of consent.Lower that limit by law, and sexual predators will be grooming girls of 11 and 12. It’s a paedophiles’ charter.
Despite a barrage of criticism, Ms Hewson stands by her views. ‘Like Voltaire,’ she wrote, ‘we must defend the right to express our opinions.’
She’s right, we must. But surely she should properly consider the consequences of her views on vulnerable young girls the next time she decides to exercise her right to free speech.
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