Olivier Duhamel: French incest allegations prompt victims to speak out

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Tens of thousands of people have responded to a social media campaign in France designed to shed light on the problem of sexual abuse within families. The campaign, featuring the hashtag #MeTooInceste (after the #MeToo movement) was started over the weekend by NousToutes, an organisation battling sexual violence in France. Incest in French is used to mean sexual abuse by relatives, including those who are not related by blood. It followed accusations against a prominent political commentator, Olivier Duhamel, who has been accused by his stepdaughter of abusing her twin brother 30 years ago. Mr Duhamel has described the allegations as "personal attacks". [...]

The law around this issue is complex. Sex with minors is illegal, but in order to prove the more serious charges of rape or sexual assault - including of a child - it's necessary to prove that violence, threat, surprise or coercion were used. If the perpetrator is much older than the victim, or in a position of authority, it can be viewed as coercion, but Dr Salmona [a leading psychologist specialising in sexual violence] says it's not automatic. This means that, legally speaking, a child as young as 11 years old can be considered to have consented to sex with an adult. Campaigners have long been asking for a legal age of consent, but repeated attempts to get the law changed have so far failed.

source: Article 'Olivier Duhamel: French incest allegations prompt victims to speak out' by Lucy Williamson; www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-55707613; BBC News; 19 January 2021