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#MeTooInceste pushes French government to set age of consent to 15

Thanks to a growing social movement and a growing number of national rape cases, France is finally making moves to set the age of consent to 15

It’s been a long time coming, but the French government is finally in talks to set an official age of legal sexual consent. France is one of the only European countries that do not yet have an age of consent, making this a huge step forward.

Introducing this legislation will mean that offenders will face stricter sentencing, and as an even more significant step forward, having sex with someone under the age of 15 will be classed as rape.

Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP via Getty Images
Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP via Getty Images

This is not the first time France has looked to introduce such laws. During the #MeToo movement three years ago, the country proposed but failed to follow through with such laws due to legal complications. However, after the build-up of rape cases in the country, France has once again rallied to see change.

Under current French law, although sexual relations between an adult and minor are illegal, the law still accepts that a person under the age of 15 can consent to sex. Consequently, offenders will only be charged for sexual assault, not rape.

 

New momentum has been gained on the issue with a string of allegations coming forward on the topic. One comes from the stepdaughter of highly respected political commentator Olivier Duhamel, accusing her stepfather of abusing her 30 years ago.

Since the Duhamel case was brought to the public’s attention, an overwhelming amount of cases have come forward with their own stories of rape and sexual assault. Victims are using the hashtag #MeTooInceste across social media platforms to share their own stories.

Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti spoke to France 2 television, stating “We are cracking open this sort of ideological leaden weight which prevent victims’ voices from being heard.”