#MeTooInceste: “It is not only a liberation of speech, but also a liberation of listening”

Words to break the silence. Since Saturday, victims of incest have been speaking on Twitter, under the hashtag #MeTooInceste. There are hundreds of testimonials. A movement that emerges in the wake of the publication of Camille Kouchner’s book, the Big Family, in which she accuses her stepfather Olivier Duhamel of having raped her twin brother when he was a teenager.

As part of an evaluation report of the Schiappa law delivered in December 2020, the LREM deputy of Bouches-du-Rhones Alexandra Louis worked in particular on the issue of sexual violence against children. Interview with the parliamentarian, who deciphers the workings of silence and what this freedom of speech represents on social networks.

What does this speech symbolize today, under the hashtag #MeTooInceste?

It is a veil which gently rises over an intimate and silent drama but which concerns all strata of society. The first thing about the subject of incest is that it remains a terrible taboo in society. However, one person out of ten questioned believes that they have been the victim of this type of incident. Even in the press, I realized that for a long time it was very rare to see the word “incest”. Most of the time we were talking about a “Father who abused his daughter”. The victims often feel very, very lonely precisely because this taboo has not been sufficiently fought in France.

If there is one virtue of social networks, it is to help break a certain isolation, as we can see in recent days. When one person speaks up and testifies, other victims feel less alone and understand that others have gone through the same thing. It is not only a liberation of speech, but also a liberation of listening. For a long time, no one wanted to hear about it. Today, we leave a space for victims to express themselves. It is very important to break the silence that surrounds incest. Every word counts.

Camille Kouchner’s book made it possible to put the question of incest back at the heart of the debates. How to explain the silence which reigns concerning this violence?

The word on sexual violence has been released in various circles such as the cinema or even sport, but incest has remained something that we dare not talk about because it leads us to face what human beings are. can do worse even within his own family. It is also complicated because it concerns a family camera. It is difficult for those around them and for the victim to react, in particular because of conflicts of loyalty.

The peculiarity of sexual violence compared to other crimes is that it is the victims who feel guilty, and even more so when the perpetrator is a member of the family. This is why we must give witnesses and victims the means to react. In addition, it should be remembered that the protection of the rights of the child as a subject of law is a recent concern in our history and that even in the 1960s, there was a great tacit tolerance for sexual violence committed against children. children and even with regard to incest.

I have spoken with many victims of incest, but one person particularly marked me. A very courageous mother told me that she had been woken up by her 18 year old daughter in the middle of the night, who explained to her that she had been raped by her own brother. She said : “Here I am both the mother of a victim and the mother of an author”, with the concern of having to rebuild both. She had never been told about the incest. She explained to me the terrible judgment she suffered from those around her when she tried to talk about it and the loneliness that was hers. This example is a reality that illustrates very well thousands of situations in our country, and thousands of victims who cannot speak. Incest is taboo because it really relates to the privacy of families.

How to continue in this momentum and allow more and more victims and witnesses to dare to speak about it?

We must strengthen the law to give incest its proper place in the Penal Code, which is not the case today. I will propose this in the bill that I will table in order to better punish the perpetrators of sexual violence and sexual violence committed against children under 15.

But it is essential to sensitize and inform widely in order to give each witness or victim the opportunity to react. First, in the school environment, 80% of education sessions on sexual and emotional life are actually organized. On average, during each session, the workers detect a victim of sexual violence. This means that whenever these sessions do not take place, we take the risk of leaving a child left to fend for itself. It is therefore essential that every child benefits from this information. It is also necessary to step up the training of all professionals called upon to work with children. For first aid, when you pass the PSC1, you are taught the first steps. For sexual violence, it should be the same. Professionals need to know how to react if a child gives them an alert, because they may not do it a second time. If there is one message to get across, it’s that you should never be in doubt. There is a call number you should absolutely know: 119. The government has also developed the site stopviolences.gouv which allows a witness or a victim to be in direct contact with a police officer or a gendarme in order to be accompanied and even anonymously.

Prevention remains the most formidable weapon against sexual violence and incest. And to keep moving forward, I believe there needs to be a upturn on these issues all over our society. To fight sexual violence, we need the mobilization of all of society.

Source: Liberation – A la une sur Libération by www.liberation.fr.

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