The comments came after Belloubet told France’s RTL radio network that age 13 was a “limit that is worth considering” for the legislation. However, she noted that judges themselves should have the ability to assess whether someone was old enough to give consent on a situational basis.
France currently lacks a justified law to prosecute pedophiles since there is no minimum fixed age of sexual consent that is defined as rape. Yes, you read that right: in the year 2017, there is no minimum age of sexual consent in France that prosecutors can use against pedophiles.
However, that’s not to say that France doesn’t have an age of consent, which is 15, but prosecutors still have to prove sex was non-consensual to prove the criminal conviction of rape.
French law defines rape as any act of sexual penetration committed on others “by violence, coercion, threat or surprise.” Further the law states: “Committing a sexual offence against a minor under the age of 15 without violence, constraint, threat or surprise is punished by five years’ imprisonment and a fine of €75,000.”
The law only states that an adult who performs a sexual act with a person under the age of 15 “without violence, coercion, threat or surprise” can be prosecuted for “sexual abuse,” not statutory rape.
Despite another law which classifies an adult who performs a sexual act with a person under the age of 15 “without violence, coercion, threat or surprise,” somehow the Justice Minister wants to lower it to 13. There is something seriously wrong with that picture.
A jury last week acquitted a 30-year-old man who was accused of raping an 11-year-old girl in 2009, French media reported. The jury in the Paris suburb region of Seine-et-Marne found that while there had been a sexual relationship between the girl and the man, it did not constitute rape according to the legal definition in France.
This mirrors an earlier case in September where a 28-year-old man was acquitted when he was tried for having sex with an 11-year-old girl from Val-d’Oise, north of Paris. The young girl reportedly followed the man home from a park, but prosecutors said once again there had been “no violence, no constraint, no threat, and no surprise” to constitute the rape charge; therefore, the court ruled she had consented to the abuse.
These two acquittals sparked shock and anger across Paris as many expressed their disbelief at the ruling, TheLocal.Fr reported.
France’s “Ethics Minister,” Marlene Schiappa (pictured), also said her government was debating a defined age for irrefutable non-consent, between 13 and 15, as part of a new anti-sexism and sexual violence bill.
Speaking on BFM TV, Schiappa, a junior minister for gender equality, said Sunday that the cut-off could be between the ages of 13 and 15.
Below a certain age, it is considered that there can be no debate on the sexual consent of a child, and that any child below a certain age would automatically be considered to be raped or sexually assaulted.
In the UK the age of sexual consent is 16, but children under the age of 13 have additional legal protections that declare they cannot consent to sexual activity below that age, BBC reported.
While the age of consent in the U.S. varies state by state, it is usually set between 16 to 18 years old.
Other European countries like Germany and Portugal have a lower age of consent of 14. Now France wants to go even lower than its allies with an age of consent at 13.
The UN’s Human Rights body urges countries to protect children from sexual exploitation, so if France wants to lower sexual consent laws, maybe they should also turn in their United Nations membership as well. Secondly, France needs to have Interpol step in and investigate all the politicians and justices pushing this abhorrent disgusting law that will only aid child pornographers and abusers.
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Image of Marlene Schiappa courtesy of BFMTV