French minister: sex with child is by definition rape

The French government is going to take harder action against incest and child abuse. When an adult has sex with a minor under the age of 15, it is by definition considered rape. โ€œThere can be no longer any question of a perpetrator saying that the child agreed to sex,โ€ said Minister of Justice ร‰ric Dupond-Moretti on French television.

Until now, the latter has often happened. Perpetrators often said in lawsuits that the sex with the child took place by mutual consent. Subsequently, the minor had to prove that this was not the case, which was often legally complicated. The French Government now wants to put an end to this practice.

Also, in the future, perpetrators will be more likely to be tried for sex with children and incest, even if the 30-year limitation period has already expired.

The Minister of Justice decided on the measures after three weeks of consultation with various interest groups. They have long argued for stricter legislation.

Debate gaining momentum

The debate on this was gaining momentum last month. Then a book appeared in which the prominent scientist and ex-politician Olivier Duhamel was accused of incest with his stepson. That would have happened in the 80s, when the boy was 13.

Duhamel himself did not explain the allegations, but did not explain all his work. Justice opened an investigation into the allegations.

#metooinceste

After the publication of that book, many tens of thousands of French people posted their testimonies on social media. With the hashtag #metooinceste they told us that they too were victims of incest. According to a recent poll, 1 in 10 French had to deal with this as a child.

โ€œ French society is at a turning point. Social media have made people dare to speak out now,โ€ said Dupond-Moretti. โ€œSociety has ensured that we now adapt the law.โ€

In recent weeks there has also been a lot of debate about the 30-year limitation period. Many victims dare to speak out only after a long time. As a result, the likelihood of persecution is low. The Minister of Justice wants to tackle that too.

If a perpetrator is brought to justice for a case of child abuse or incest which has not been time-barred, cases of other victims of the same perpetrator may also be brought to justice, even if those other cases have been time-barred.