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Schiappa bill: an appeal for the “withdrawal” of Article 2

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – Ludovic MARIN – | Secretary of State for Equality Marlene Schiappa in February 2018

Nearly 250 people, including former minister Yvette Roudy or actress Karin Viard, asked President Emmanuel Macron on Monday to “withdraw” article 2 of the bill against sexual and sexual violence, considering him not very protective for child victims of rape.

“We are worried, we do not want another Pontoise”, say the signatories, activists of associations, doctors, midwives, academics, in an open letter to the initiative of Group F, feminist movement founded by Caroline De Haas.

The bill is considered Monday and Tuesday at first reading in the National Assembly.

Article 2, eagerly awaited by women’s and children’s rights groups, after two cases, one of which at the Pontoise court, where 11-year-old girls had been considered to be consenting by the courts, provides for “strengthen the repression of sexual offenses against minors”.

However, for the signatories, it “does the opposite”, opening “the door to a massive correctionalization of the rapes of minors”.

“By creating a new offense, that of sexual assault on a minor by penetration, punishable by 10 years in prison, the law will facilitate the referral to the criminal court of cases of rape against a minor, cases in which it is often considered that coercion or the surprise would be difficult to establish, “they say.

The bill, sponsored by Secretary of State for Equality Marlène Schiappa, aims to facilitate convictions for raping children by providing that “when the facts are committed on a minor of fifteen years”, the notions of coercion and surprise “may be characterized by the vulnerability of the victim who lacks the discretion to consent to such acts”.

In cases where rape can not be established, it also aggravates the penalties for sexual assault (an offense that punishes any sexual act between a minor under the age of 15 and a person of full age): seven years to five at present, and ten years when there is penetration, a distinction that did not exist before.

An internet petition will follow on Monday from this letter.

The International Association of Victims of Incest (AIVI) also called for a rally Tuesday at 10:00 in front of the National Assembly.

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