Yes, thank you.
I am the mother of a teenaged son, and when I was preparing for this I had some discussions with my son's friends and my daughter—who is pre-pubescent—and some of her friends, and in a very interesting way, the least informed were the most supportive. Let me put it that way.
I had thought about it, and in fact Professor Gilbert and I had some discussion about the whole issue of consent to medical treatment. We talked specifically about young women, and we wondered whether a young person going in to see her doctor, if there was a sexually transmitted disease or some other sexual health issue and she knew that her partner was beyond the scope of the five-year age, would report that, and what the consequences would be if she refused to report.
I suspect there are others, and probably Professor Gilbert herself has more information. I think there would be ramifications. There certainly are now if young women recant or don't report or withhold information in situations where the criminal law presumes that they should be providing that information, so I think there very likely would be concerns in that area.
Also, when I was talking with some young people yesterday at a birthday celebration that involved young men and young women, many of the young women said that they not only wouldn't report, but they might not even go to the doctor if they were fearful of that, and that caused me great concern. Young people, including my child—My son doesn't necessarily report everything to me. I don't presume that I'll get it. But I thought that if they would tell me that in a fairly open discussion, I'd be concerned about what else they might not talk about. If they would say that they might not actually report the sexual activity, that's one thing, but more importantly, if they wouldn't seek assistance, that was a much graver concern.
If in fact our interest is, as I think it is for all of us, protection of young people—and in my case I agree that some of it is maternalistic—I would want to think that even if my child were participating in a relationship that he or she was not comfortable telling me about, he or she would be comfortable going to their doctor, to whom they do go and have private conversations, and would be able to feel comfortable in disclosing. Now I'm not so sure that would be true.
I could raise other concerns, as a parent, of course, in another context, but in this particular issue I was surprised to hear that. I was surprised to hear it from a young woman who I don't know particularly well.