It's Time to Pass Age of Consent Laws in France

  • af: Audry M
  • mottagare: The Government of France
The explosion of revelations of sexual misconduct by powerful men in the US have reverberated all around the world. The #METOO movement — recently named Time Magazine's Person of the Year — has helped people — both women and men — realize their survival stories are valid and deserve to be heard.

In France, apart from the outcry against sexual harassment in the workplace, a spotlight has also been focused on the lack of legal protections for child victims of sexual assault. As it stands right now, adults in France can only be found guilty of abusing a child if the victim can prove violence or coercion were involved. And children over the age of 15 are considered able to consent to sexual activity.

As a result, a slew of court cases have found multiple men innocent of assaulting minors. In one case, a jury decided a 30-year-old man was innocent after he raped an 11-year-old girl. Why? Because she had trusted him, so there was no evidence of coercion or threats. In most other countries, this would have obviously been statutory rape and child abuse.

France is an outlier. Most countries in the western world have age of consent laws in their penal code And for good reason. According to experts, children lack the capacity to understand or consent to sexual activity, and being manipulated into these situations can destroy a young person's future. Child sexual assault can have extremely far-reaching implications; survivors are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide, compared to others.

These statutes protect children from abusive and unhealthy adults who use the power dynamic to manipulate them into doing something they are not ready, or willing, to do — including enter a sexual relationship. It is time for France to include this important legal statute in their books. Children, almost more than any other individuals, must be protected from predators. This law is a way to, not only protect the victims but put those who prey on children behind bars.

Add your name to the list and tell France you support their move to protect children's rights. Tell them to pass an age of consent law.
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