The French government has launched an extensive nationwide campaign with the goal of raising awareness about child sexual violence. This initiative involves distributing messages and videos on social media, billboards, various media outlets, and in movie theaters, marking a significant departure as it openly addresses the previously taboo topic of incest.
In a groundbreaking move, a television campaign will also be broadcast during the halftime of a France match at the ongoing Rugby World Cup. Charlotte Caubel, the junior minister responsible for child issues, aims for a campaign that packs a powerful punch similar to those targeting road safety, emphasizing this is the first time “incest” and family sexual violence are featured so prominently.
Notably, the last government campaign addressing child sexual violence took place in 2002. Disturbing estimates suggest around 160,000 children suffer sexual abuse in France annually, with statistics indicating that one in every 10 adults in France has either experienced or encountered incest.
The campaign’s ultimate goal is to ensure that ignorance is no longer an excuse, making awareness of child sexual violence a collective effort. In France, incest is legally defined in a specific context, and while it remains legal between consenting adults, penalties can increase when it involves minors.
This initiative comes at a time when French creators challenge the long-standing taboo surrounding incest, historically seen as a private family matter. Actor Emmanuelle Beart bravely shared her experience as a victim of incest in a forthcoming documentary called “Such a Resounding Silence.” Additionally, TV productions and a movie addressing incest are set to air in October.
The literary world has also contributed to this discourse, with a novel titled “Triste Tigre” (“Sad Tiger”) by Neige Sinno, recounting the author’s childhood trauma, receiving acclaim and literary recognition.
- Edouard Durand, a judge and co-president of the Ciivise association against child sexual violence, praised the government’s campaign as courageous and vital in acknowledging the suffering of children publicly. The government has pledged to increase funding for support organizations aiding abused children and is considering a draft law to remove parental authority from those guilty of child abuse, as proposed by Socialist lawmaker Isabelle Santiago.