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Victim blaming

Prosecutors say man, 28, did not rape girl, 11, because she didn’t resist enough

By WITW Staff on September 28, 2017

Prosecutors in France have dropped rape charges against a 28-year-old man who lured an 11-year-old girl from a park after determining that the girl did not resist enough to make the encounter nonconsensual. According to French law, sex that occurs without threats or violence is considered consensual — even in cases of children below the age of 15, the legal age of consent. Prosecutors said that since “there was no violence, no constraint, no threat, and no surprise” evident in the case, the man could not be charged with having raped the child.

The decision to charge the man only with sexual abuse of a minor made national headlines and sparked outrage across the country. The girl’s mother has denounced the ruling, saying that prosecutors were effectively punishing her daughter for being “paralyzed” by fear and “unable to defend herself.”

“She thought it was too late, that she didn’t have the right to protest, that it wouldn’t make any difference, so she went into autopilot, without emotion and without reaction,” the mother told Mediapart.

An expert in similar cases told Le Figaro that it was normal for victims, and children especially, to “switch off” during sexual assault. “Submitting,” the expert noted, “was not consenting.”

Read the full story at The Local.


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