A new French law has been passed aiming to toughen the punishment regarding sex violence acts, but at the same time did not establish a legal age of consent because “it might violate the adult’s presumption of innocence and, therefore, be declared unconstitutional”
“The government of president [Emmanuel] Macron voted against the age of consent in France, becoming the latest nation to cede to the pressure made by an international network of activists determined to normalizing pedophilia and decriminalizing sex with children all over the world”.
Since early August, when France passed Law 2018-703, texts with the paragraph above or a similar content have been published in several websites and social networks. Videos on the subject have also been posted on YouTube. The piece of legislation known as Schiappa Law, after Marlène Schiappa, French secretary for Gender Equality, has been drafter aiming to toughen punishments regarding sexual violence acts. How could it, then, “normalize” pedophilia? The truth is that it doesn’t.
The misinterpretation of the law happened because the text brought originally, for the first time in France, an age for sexual consent. The draft which eventually turned into the Schiappa Law established that sex between adults (18 years of age) and individuals under the age of 15 would be considered rape, independently of the victim’s consent.
The inexistency of a legal provision for an age of sexual consent in the country left opened loopholes for several controversial cases examined by that country’s courts. In early 2018, for instance, a 29-year old man was sued for “sexually abusing a girl under 15 years of age”, and not for rape, after he had a sexual relationship with an 11-year old girl. The prosecutors responsible for the case considered the defendant had not used violence, coercion, or surprise, aspects required by French law (article 222-22 of the Códe Penal) in order to characterize a rape, punishable by 20 years in jail.
The Schiappa Law was supposed to put an end on the issue, but the French State Council warned the legislators that defining a legal age of consent “could violate the adult’s presumption of innocence and, therefore, be declared unconstitutional”. The Council quoted as an example, to show how sensitive the issue is, the case of two underage individuals, who are having consensual sex. As soon as the older one of the two turned eighteen, he would automatically be committing rape.
In the end, the Council chose to only classify sexual relationships with individuals under the age of 15 years as a rape if that person “does not have the necessary discernment consent (article 2 of Law 2018-703).
That does not mean, however, that France is now authorizing sex with children. The act is still classified as a crime (“sexual abuse of a 15-year old minor), and the Schiappa Law increased the punishments for such crimes. Whereas previously the offender could be sentenced to spend five years in jail and pay a fine of 75 thousand euros, now he could be jailed for seven years and be sentenced to pay 100 thousand euros.
French legislators may have failed in defining clearly a legal age for sexual consent, but that doesn’t mean they have “validated” pedophilia.
In Brazil, “having a carnal conjunction or practicing a libidinous act” with individuals under the age of 14, even if the victim consented to the act, is a crime. It is called “rape of a vulnerable person”, and was added to the Penal Code by the 2009 Sex Crimes Law.
But even before this legislation was put in place there was already a presumption of violence in sexual relationships involving people under the age of 14, an understanding which had been sanctioned several times by the Federal Supreme Court.
READ IT IN PORTUGUESE:
Nova lei foi elaborada com o objetivo de recrudescer as punições a atos de violência sexual, mas ao mesmo tempo não definiu uma idade legal de consentimento pois “poderia violar a presunção de inocência do adulto e, portanto, ser declarada inconstitucional””