Incest is currently legal in France unless children are involved, but Adrien Taquet, the country’s minister for children, says the government wants to criminalize incestuous relationships, even if both parties are over 18.
In an interview with AFP, Taquet said: “Regardless of age, you must not have sexual relations with your father, son or daughter.”
“It’s not about age, it’s not about adult consent. We are fighting against incest. The signal has to be clear.”
He said he wanted the 18-year threshold for incest reviewed, saying he would support a “clear ban”.
Under the amended rules, which would bring France on par with most other European countries, cousins are still allowed to marry.
The ministers have not confirmed whether family stepchildren will be included in the ban.
“The law is to issue a clear prohibition in society: incest is forbidden.” added Taquet launched Daily Mail on Wednesday (12/1/2022).
The move was welcomed by Laurent Boyet, chairman of the child protection charity Les Papillons. According to him, incestuous relationships are ‘legally prohibited’ as important as ‘socially prohibited’.
Crimes include incest, blasphemy, and sodomy was removed from the French law books in 1791. This is a legacy French Revolution which erased the Christian-inspired morality, which the old regime brought with it.
The subject of incest was somewhat of a taboo until last year when one of France’s most prominent political commentators was accused of committing sexual harassment against his stepdaughter.
A series of scandals
Olivier Duhamel, 70, who described the allegations of ‘incest’ as a personal attack. It was accused in a book written by her stepson Camille Kouchner. Duhamel was accused of abusing his twin brother for two years from the age of 14.
The book ‘La Familia grande’ surprised French intellectuals given Duhamel’s prominence and close ties to the elite.
Camille Kouchner and her twin sisters are the children of Bernard Kouchner (former French foreign minister and co-founder of the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), along with academic Evelyne Pisier, who died in 2017.
Kouchner and Pisier separated and later married Duhamel.
Camille Kouchner said she chose to write the book because she could no longer sit still.
That’s not the first controversy about the old taboo on underage child abuse, which is making headlines in France and around the world.
Publisher Vanessa Springora, in a book published in January 2020, accused award-winning author Gabriel Matzneff of molesting her as a minor.
Film star Adele Haenel in November 2019 accused director Christophe Ruggia of sexually abusing her when she was a teenager.
Haenel and other French actresses also opted out of the Cesar France award in February last year, after filmmaker Roman Polanski won the best director award.
Polanski is reportedly wanted in the US for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
Following the Duhamel scandal, the French government enacted a law making it an offense to have sexual relations with close relatives under the age of 18.
Boyet said the law implies that ‘incest is accepted’, if they are 18 years old.
Isabelle Aubry, head of Face a L’inceste, which supports incest victims said she doesn’t understand why Taquet is bringing up the issue of incest now, given that ministers had the opportunity to ban it altogether last year.
He accused President Macron’s government of carrying out this as an “election maneuver”, 100 days before the presidential election.
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