clear
Monday November 20th, 2017 3:56PM

When child sex isn't rape: French to set age of consent

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

PARIS (AP) — 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."

Establishing a legal age of consent is one piece of a pending bill to address sexual violence and harassment in France. The subject of sexual misconduct has drawn fresh attention worldwide since rape and sexual assault allegations were made against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein.

"In America with the Weinstein fallout, there have been legal investigations. But here it has been radio silence from politicians," said de Haas.

French women have increasingly been speaking out online and to police in recent weeks about past abuse, but no high-profile men in France have lost their jobs or suffered reputational damage so far.

A report Tuesday night in the newspaper Liberation detailed allegations by eight women accusing the former head of the Socialist Party's youth movement of serial harassment in 2010-2014. The alleged perpetrator, Thierry Marchal-Beck, is quoted as saying that he was "stupefied" by the accusations and threatened possible legal action. It may be too late for the women to press charges under French law.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Health, AP World News
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Pakistan cleric gets bail in model's murder case
A defense lawyer says a Pakistani court has granted bail to a Muslim cleric arrested for alleged involvement in the 2016 murder of social media model Qandeel Baloch
6:49AM ( 9 minutes ago )
GOP bill aimed at overhauling taxes to get Trump push
As Republicans stake their claim to middle-class rescue in tax cut legislation deemed to carry tax hikes for millions, President Donald Trump plans an in-person appeal to lawmakers as the proposal faces a crucial vote in the House.
6:32AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Rescuers search debris after Iran-Iraq quake killing 430
Rescuers are digging through the debris of buildings felled by an earthquake that killed more than 430 people in the border region of Iran and Iraq
6:25AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Novice surfer masters a pro move: Punching a shark to escape
A novice surfer mastered a pro's move on the first try: He punched a shark on the nose to escape its jaws
5:50AM ( 1 hour ago )
Poll: Afghans slightly more optimistic despite turmoil
A nationwide survey has found that Afghans are slightly more optimistic about the future than they were last year, despite a stagnant economy and near-constant attacks by a revitalized Taliban
5:29AM ( 1 hour ago )
Death toll from airstrikes on market in Syria climbs to 61
Syrian war monitors say death toll from airstrikes on market in northern Syria has climbed to 61
5:23AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
Pakistan cleric gets bail in model's murder case
A defense lawyer says a Pakistani court has granted bail to a Muslim cleric arrested for alleged involvement in the 2016 murder of social media model Qandeel Baloch
6:49AM ( 9 minutes ago )
GOP bill aimed at overhauling taxes to get Trump push
As Republicans stake their claim to middle-class rescue in tax cut legislation deemed to carry tax hikes for millions, President Donald Trump plans an in-person appeal to lawmakers as the proposal faces a crucial vote in the House.
6:32AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Rescuers search debris after Iran-Iraq quake killing 430
Rescuers are digging through the debris of buildings felled by an earthquake that killed more than 430 people in the border region of Iran and Iraq
6:25AM ( 32 minutes ago )
10 Things to Know for Today
Among 10 Things to Know: Trump Jr. messaged with WikiLeaks during 2016 campaign; Rescuers search debris after Iran-Iraq earthquake killed more than 400; Republicans continue abandoning Alabama Senate candidate Moore after new accusations
6:19AM ( 38 minutes ago )
The Latest: Iran's Rouhani seeks probe in quake-hit area
The Latest: Iran's Rouhani promises probe into faulty construction under government program in quake-stricken area
6:14AM ( 44 minutes ago )