What’s happening in France? Yes, racism has long been a problem for that country. But serial gang rapes? (Emphasis mine.)
Ten French men have been acquitted and four have received short sentences over the gang-rape of teenage girls in a trial described by one of the victims’ lawyers as a “judicial shipwreck”.
In a case that has shocked France and cast a light on a culture of youth sexual violence, two women now in their twenties said that as teenagers they had endured months of almost daily gang-rapes by scores of men in Fontenay-sous-Bois outside Paris. The case was seen as the tip of the iceberg of a wider problem of gang-rapes by youths on poor estates.
After a four-week trial, four of the accused were found guilty of taking part in gang-rapes but 10 were acquitted. Those found guilty were handed sentences that ranged from three years’ suspended sentence to one year in prison. Because of time already served on remand, only one man was returned to prison after the verdict.
The sentences were far lighter than those recommended by the state prosecutor, who had called for prison sentences of five to seven years for eight of the men – which was already seen as slight. The court found one of the woman, identified as Nina, was raped, but did not uphold rape allegations against the second, identified as Stephanie.
Clothilde Lepetit, one of the women’s lawyers, described the verdicts and sentencing as “a judicial shipwreck” for the women.
In the court’s eyes, just another case of “les garçons seront des garçons?”