When child sex isn’t rape: De­bate rages in France

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

— Is a 13-year-old old enough to agree to sex with an adult? That’s a ques­tion France is ask­ing as the gov­ern­ment pre­pares to set a le­gal age for sex­ual con­sent for the first time.

Twice in re­cent weeks, French courts have re­fused to pros­e­cute men for rape after they had sex with 11-year-old girls be­cause au­thor­i­ties couldn’t prove co­er­cion. Amid the pub­lic dis­be­lief over the sit­u­a­tion, the French gov­ern­ment is draft­ing a bill to say that sex with chil­dren un­der a cer­tain age is by def­i­ni­tion co­er­cive. Jus­tice Min­is­ter Ni­cole Bel­lou­bet pro­voked con­ster­na­tion among fem­i­nist groups Mon­day by say­ing a le­gal min­i­mum age of 13 for sex­ual con­sent “is worth con­sid­er­ing.”

Ac­tivists staged a small protest Tuesday in cen­tral Paris to ar­gue that the age of con­sent should be set at 15. Pro­test­ers waved plac­ards that read “for him im­punity, for her a life sen­tence” in ref­er­ence to the re­cent cases. “We want the law to guar­an­tee that be­fore 15 there can be no con­cept of con­sent,” prom­i­nent French fem­i­nist ac­tivist Caro­line de Haas said. “I don’t know why (Bel­lou­bet) said it,” added Alice Col­let, a mem­ber of the Na­tional Col­lec­tive for Women’s Rights. “It’s a sign of ig­no­rance of the is­sues.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.