The topic of rape is a very sensitive subject that directly relates to unwanted sexual acts. However, there are specific instances when such acts involve not just the lack of consent, but the age of the persons involve. When one person involved in the sexual act is below the age stipulated by law to have legal consent, then that sexual act is considered as statutory rape.
Statutory rape often refers to instances wherein an underage person engages in sexual activities with adults. Such persons are considered underage if they do not meet the age of consent. This incident of rape is not necessarily defined in the same manner as the general term rape, since statutory rape may not involve physical force or abuse. For statutory rape, the most salient point to note is the age of consent. This age of consent or definition of it may vary among jurisdictions. However, the meaning behind it is that a person reaches a certain mental or functional age that allows them the ability to make decisions maturely. Thus, the purpose of statutory rape laws is to punish individuals who engage in sexual acts with persons who are legally incapable of providing consent. This is because such persons are not on equal footing with adults in terms of mental capacity, as well as economic, social, and legal capacity. The point then of establishing statutory rape laws is to provide such individuals with protection from adults who may wish to engage them in sexual activities.