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Thursday, March 22, 2018

French Government toughens legislation against sexual violence

Por Jade

Everything that exceeds mere flirtation will be pursued. The French government presented a bill designed to fight against sexual and gender violence. The Secretary of State for Gender Equality, Marlene Schiapp, announced at a press conference that the new regulations will impose fines of between 90 and 750 euros in cases of verbal harassment in the street or on public transport.

The bill, which will be voted on in the National Assembly before the summer, thus creates a new offense of "sexist offense", which will allow the forces of order to sanction those comments that exceed the mere flirtation. If there are aggravating circumstances, the offenders must pay 1,500 euros. And 3,000 if they are recidivists, amounts that want to sanction that type of behavior and serve as a deterrent weapon

Schiappa, who gives the project its name, said she is convinced that the measure "will serve as a deterrent", because, according to the minister, "we have never heard so much about street harassment before." Witnesses of such acts will know that the law of the French Republic is on the side of women, she stressed. "Many police officers tell us that they believe the measure can be applied as soon as there is training," she added.

Likewise, the Schiappa Law increases from 20 to 30 years the prescription of crimes, mainly sexual, against minors, an additional time given to the victims taking into account the so-called "traumatic amnesia", frequent in this type of aggression. Thus, the measure allows victims to file a complaint about sexual abuse suffered in childhood but only remember or feel courage to report as adults.

Schiappa emphasized that "it is not always easy to initiate a judicial process for the violations experienced during childhood, especially incestuous violations. Victims need, once they are adults, to be sufficiently prepared psychologically and also sometimes financially to face a legal process and a trial. " The move is partly inspired by the efforts of French television host Flavie Flament, who last year accused photographer David Hamilton of raping her when she was 13 years old. Flament could not initiate a lawsuit because the statute of limitations had expired in her case.

The Government's action is in line with what is claimed by French society: nine out of ten French people approve the 30-year limit on the prescription of child rapes, according to a survey released by the Ifop demonstration institute, and that same figure It is favorable to punish street harassment. Schiappa said the bill would also increase sanctions against cyberbullying, especially when committed as a group.

The bill fulfills some of the campaign promises of the president, Emmanuel Macron, and comes five months after the outbreak of the sexual abuse scandal led by the American producer Harvey Weinstein, which had a widespread echo in France.