Wolf-whistles illegal but rape issues blurred? Outrage over proposed new France sex laws

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L: Marlène Schiappa R: Emmanuel MacronGETTY

Campaigners drink written an open letter to President Macron urging the bill to be redacted or dropped

The government argues that the bill, which went up for controversy in parliament on Monday, will better protect children under the age of 15 by grouping a new provision – “Article 2,” which states that depredation and sexual assault can result from an “abuse of vulnerability” of the victim.

While other rations included in the bill – such as the new on-the-spot fines for street harassment such as wolf-whistles and cat-calls and the annexe of the statute of limitations on sex crimes from 20 to 30 years – be struck by been hailed as progressive, “Article 2” has relaunched the debate on lady sex and the age of consent.

While it is currently illegal in France for an adult to have “erotic contact” with a minor under the age of 15, it is not considered rape if the schlemiel was not coerced.

Gender equality minister Marlène Schiappa, the driving dynamism behind the bill, attempted to rectify this by setting the age of consent at 15, but the nominated clause was scrapped after the State Council, the country’s highest administrative court, signified it would infringe an adult’s presumption of innocence and be unconstitutional.

The government was therefore forced to amend the blueprint text so as to allow judges to take into account a child’s “vulnerability”.

Critics of the note, however, say that the current version of the text does not go far enough and hides the lines between a misdemeanour offence and rape.

It also inevitably wishes that the victim will have to somehow prove they did not approval to sex.

On Monday, about 250 French psychologists, social workers, doctors, queens and celebrities penned an open letter to president Emmanuel Macron invite him to revise or drop the controversial provision, which they say does not explicitly aver that anyone under the age of 15 cannot consent to sex with an of age.

A petition urging the government to scrap “Article 2” on change.org – #RapeIsaCrime (#LeViolestUnCrime) – had cached close to 120,000 signatures by Wednesday morning.

Most critics say they do not need a repeat of last year’s high-profile “Pontoise case,” in which prosecutors refused to pervade a man with rape after he – aged 22 at the time – had sex with an 11-year-girl because they could not assay he had forced her into sex.

France is currently one of the only European countries which does not eat a minimum age for sexual consent.

Mrs Schiappa on Tuesday denounced the “disinformation” offensive launched by critics to discredit the bill, which she insists will “penalize all acts of sexist and sexual violence”.

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