When it comes to age of consent laws, France is closer to Saudi Arabia than the rest of Europe.
After a series of shocking cases of adult males being cleared of raping young girls, including a 22-year-old acquitted of rape because his then 11-year-old victim reportedly didn’t resist, French authorities are reconsidering their age of consent laws.
Currently in France, “constraint threats, violence or surprise” must be proven before a sexual encounter with a child can be considered a crime. Technically the age of consent is 15, but if those factors aren’t provably present when children are younger than 15, it can be difficult for prosecutors to make a charge stick.
Article 227-25 of the French Penal Code reads: “The fact of the commission without violence, constraint, threat or surprise of a sexual offence by an adult on the person of a minor under fifteen years of age is punished by five years’ imprisonment and a fine of €75,000.”
While the rest of the developed world understands that sex with children is “coercive” by definition, France is apparently a few decades, or centuries, behind the times.
They’ll get there, but it looks like there will be some bumps along the way. Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet thinks setting the age at 13 “is worth considering.” France’s supreme council reportedly agrees. “We have to look at the median age of emotional maturity in Europe. It’s somewhere between 13 and 15,” gender equality minister Marlène Schiappa told French television.
Nevermind the irony that there’s actually a position called “gender equality minister” in France and yet grown men can get away with raping 11-year-olds, but THIRTEEN?
French feminists groups want to set the age at 15, and are planning a Tuesday protest to spread their view.
For once, the feminists are at least on the right track.
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