Is France issuing a licence to rape?


It's a funny time for feminism in France. On the one hand Hollande has made good on his promise for a 50 per cent female government. On the other hand, this is the homeland of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

The "Cretil verdict", as it's known, is giving France fresh cause to question the treatment of women, writes Valeria Costa-Kostritsky in the New Statesman.

The case relates to an accusation of repeated gang rape made by two women now in their 20s/ The alleged rapes took place over a six month period in 1999. On October 11, a verdict was given allowed ten of the fourteen accused to walk free, while four were granted lenient sentences of less than a year. What does this say about the attitude to women in the French judicial system?

"Nina and Stéphanie's case reminds us that in France only one rape in 11 is reported, and that only 2% of rapists are convicted," writes Costa-Kostritsky. "...this case seems to reveal that France is failing when it comes to dealing with rape. For Hollande and Vallaud-Belkacem [head of France's ministry of women's rights], it's a test. Let's hope they will pass it."