“ VS t is a situation unprecedented in its scale. For two weeks now, sexual violence against children, and more particularly when it is within the family, has been at the forefront in the media. It’s historic. “ The psychiatrist Muriel Salmona knows something about it, she who founded, in 2009, the association Traumatic memory and victimology. And who, since the publication of Camille Kouchner’s book, the Familia Grande, then the #MeTooInceste wave on social networks, followed by no less than fifty interviews … “At least we are given the floor”, insisted the doctor, Tuesday, by presenting a free online training module (1), intended for all, professionals and witnesses, to prevent, protect and take care of child victims.
This historic phase also awakens legislators. “Since June 2020, the European Parliament has voted for a resolution calling for this sexual violence to be a political priority for all States, explains the president of Traumatic Memory. States must organize the protection and care of children, and are urged to vote for sexual imprescriptibility and to register the famous age threshold that is requested. “
Create an offense independent of that of rape
But the French state is lagging behind… In Europe, several countries have already set an age for presumed non-consent to sexual acts. A threshold that varies from 12 years (in Spain) to 16 years (in Switzerland). And even if, last Sunday, President Macron’s wife demanded, from the TF1 newspaper, a “Judicial reform” on the subject, all is not yet acquired. It is in this context that arrives, this Thursday, the bill of the centrist senator Annick Billon in public session at the High Assembly. The text provides for adding this article to the Penal Code: “Any act of sexual penetration, of any kind, committed by a person of full age on a 13-year-old minor is punished by twenty years of criminal imprisonment. In 2018, Marlène Schiappa had already attempted to include the establishment of a presumption of non-consent for minors under 15 in her bill. Following doubts regarding its unconstitutionality issued by the Council of State, the text had been rewritten: rape was no longer systematically considered during sexual intercourse between an adult and a 15-year-old minor. He had just introduced a presumption of constraint, for minors of 15 years, in the constitution of the rape (this one being defined only if there is threat, violence, constraint or surprise), specifying simply that “the moral constraint or surprise can result from the victim’s abuse of ignorance ”. A text too vague, had unanimously criticized associations for the protection of children.
Senator Annick Billon wants to create an offense independent of that of rape. But only for minors under 13 years old. “A breakthrough that may not pass, considers master Isabelle Steyer, specialist in women’s and children’s rights. The problem is, it makes crime automatic. However, in a crime, there is a legal element, a moral element (being aware of violating the law) and a material element. And there, there is no more moral element. Like a ticket. The age of the victim is made the condition of the crime. It would be better to say precisely: all sexual relations between an adult and a minor of 13 years. “ For the lawyer, “Beyond the legal formulation, it is a question of society that is asked: is, indeed, society ready to protect all 13-year-old minors from all sexual relations with an adult”?
The Collective for Children, which brings together 33 associations to “change the law”, denounces for its part the absence, in this proposal, of reference to sexual assault without penetration, the “status quo” imposed on victims of 13 years and One day. And above all, that incest is not considered a particular crime. But the wave is on: two other parliamentarians are waiting their turn. On January 5, the socialist deputy Isabelle Santiago tabled her proposal to create two new offenses between adults and minors aged 15 and under, when Alexandra Louis (LaREM) would like to group all sexual offenses for minors in a new part of the Penal Code.