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.
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.
France plans to set the age of consent at 15, after activists campaigned.
The lack of consent laws blocks efforts to punish child abusers. A girl was allegedly raped by 20 firefighters when she was 13-15.
They were not charged with rape because sex with a minor was not a crime. pic.twitter.com/z64nycrlXU
— AJ+ (@ajplus) February 10, 2021
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.
“I am very happy about the #MeTooInceste movement, not so much because people are talking, but because they are being listened to."
Camille Kouchner's battle to liberate herself from a family secret has touched a nerve in France. @NYTimesCohen for @nytimeshttps://t.co/Lz5ggq6ZE8
— Forum.eu (@forumdoteu) February 5, 2021
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.”