Incest accusation in prominent family prompts French national reckoning with child abuse
“I was 14 years old and I let it go (…). I was 14 years old, I knew and didn’t say anything.”
“My stepfather used to come to my brother’s room. I could hear his footsteps in the hallway and knew that he was joining them. In this silence, I imagined things. He was asking my brother. Were probably to stroke him, to suck him.
“, I waited. I waited for her to come out of the room, full of unfamiliar and immediately disparaged odors,” wrote the book’s author, 45-year-old lawyer Camille Koechner. “By not naming what was happening, I participated in incest.”
More than a month after its publication, Connor’s book, “La Familia Grande,” continues to rock France.
In it, Köchner accuses his stepfather, whose leading French intellectual Olivier Duhamel has abused his twin brother at the age of 14 to begin with.
The twins are the children of former French Foreign Minister Bernard Conner.
His stepfather, Duhaml, is a former Socialist member of the European Parliament and a noted political pundit who headed the Governing Board of Sciences P.O., one of France’s leading universities.
Duhamel wrote on Twitter on January 4, shortly after the allegations surfaced, “Subject to personal attacks, and the institutions I work in, I am in an effort to end my actions.” The tweet coincided with leaving a role in an intellectual club and a political science publication, as well as leaving the governing board of Science PO.
Duhaml has since deleted his Twitter account.
On January 5, the Paris Prosecutor’s Office announced that it was investigating in Duhamel “by a man who had authority over a 15-year-old minor for rape and sexual assault”, despite the statute of limitations being exceeded.
CNN has reached out to Duhamel’s lawyer for comments but has not received a reply. The political scientist has not spoken publicly since his resignation.
Duhaml’s step-son – Camille’s twin brother of Koechner’s – also filed a complaint against Duhamel last month, according to a statement by his lawyer Jacqueline Loughont, obtained by CNN and initially sent to the AFP news agency.
In the context of the “Duhamel case”, the alleged victim informed AFP through her attorney, Jacqueline Lafont, that she had filed a complaint against her former stepfather, Mr Olivier Duhmel, after launching an initial investigation. The Paris Prosecutor’s Office , “The statement read.
Top university shaken
The results of the Duhamel case are being felt far beyond his family circle.
In a letter from professors and students to be published on the university’s website, Frederick Mayon, director of Signs POW, resigned on Tuesday.
The university is one of France’s most elite schools, including five French Prime Ministers and five French Presidents, including current leader Emmanuel Macron.
For the past month, Mion had been under pressure to accept from student groups after admitting that he had been made aware of the allegations against Duhamel in early 2018.
In his resignation letter, Mion cited an Education Ministry report on dealing with the case, believing that he had “decided to deal with the allegations leveled by me in 2018, as well as the discrepancies in the way he expressed them” Error of “. On the matter itself after the breakup.
In a statement released on 7 January, Mion reacted to an article published in the Le Monde newspaper the day before claiming that he was aware of the allegations, despite the fact that they were already there.
Mion wrote in the statement, “Neither solid evidence nor any precise or accurate knowledge of the situation, I had difficulty believing that the rumors could be established.” He said through press reports that Duhamel’s alleged actions were “a shock to me personally.”
But on Wednesday, in an email to CNN, former Culture Minister Aurei Philippippetti – once a colleague of Sion et Sions Po – said when the revelations surfaced around Duhel a month ago, Mion called him and reportedly Said to him: “We should ‘don’t let anyone think we knew.’
CNN has reached Mion but has not received a reply.
Diomel is only one of several members of the French aristocracy exposed to the scandal.
Jean Weill, a prominent lawyer and old friend of Duhaml, admitted in the Le Monde newspaper that he was calling for “incest for at least 10 years”, “professional secrecy” to explain his silence.
Camille Köchner in her book condemns what she sees as the silence of French intellectuals.
“Very quickly, subtle knowledge of the people in power, Saint-Germain-des-Pres [a fancy neighborhood on the Left Bank that has long been associated with the French intellectual elite] Was informed. Many knew, and most pretense nothing had happened, ”she wrote.
Victims come forward
Beyond the country’s oligarchy, where it originated, the Duhamel scandal hinted at a national vendetta on incest in France, with hundreds of alleged victims trying to come forward on social media under the hashtag #MetooInceste. The French took to Twitter to share stories of childhood abuse at the hands of parents and family members and how that trauma – and with a sense of shame and isolation – often persisted well into their adult lives.
Feminist thinker and activist Carolyn de Haas, one of the creators of #MeTooIncest, told CNN: “We wanted to show that incest was a political, collective issue.”
The #MeTooIncest movement, he explained, came from a personal story of the Kachnar twins’ desire to shift from a personal history of incest to a collective history.
French lawyers have also seen an increase in the number of victims proceeding to share their stories. Child protection lawyer Mary Grimud told France Inter Radio on Tuesday that “for three weeks we have received numerous calls from women who have felt the need to meet, speak with a lawyer to file a complaint.” In addition to the victims themselves, Grimod said that his office had contacted people “on behalf of a brother or younger sister or a niece” who they believe “may be in danger.”
Facing INST has long advocated for changing the law to better protect minors from sexual abuse within the family. With the Duhamel scandal that has been making headlines for the French media for more than a month, the government has caught the issue.
Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti told 2 French public broadcaster on Tuesday that the government planned to classify any sexual relationship as a rape of a child under 15 years of age.
Currently, sex with a minor under the age of 15 is considered as a serious offense – rather than a lesser offense with a mild penalty – it is required to prove coercion, violence, intimidation or surprise.
“The children’s consent issue will not be raised anymore. We will not question whether the victim was consenting or not,” said Adrienne Taquet, junior minister for children and family, if they were under 15 years old. 1 told Europe.
In France, incest is legally defined as intercourse between two people who belong to a degree where marriage is prohibited. In addition to direct family relationships, prohibition also includes relatives for marriage – so cannot marry their former spouse’s parents for divorce. The Civil Code does not prohibit marriage between cousins.
Beyond this, incest is not illegal in the country until the age of sexual consent is freely agreed upon among people above 15. While rape is not prohibited, no matter who the perpetrator is, a sexual offense committed by a family member or “anyone with authority over the victim” faces heavy fines.
Facing Inquest said on its Twitter account that the government’s proposals on the age of consent were “elusive” and hoped that MPs would bring more clarity when working on the bill.
De Haas told CNN that the current debate around the bill “bothered” him because of the focus on oppressive legislation. “What is needed is a public policy of training and prevention,” she said.
Demonstrating the widespread influence of the Duhel Scandal on French society, de Haas said the case brought it to the forefront of public debate and made it a high-profile political issue.
“This is thanks to the legacy of #MeToo” she said, noting that the movement led to the realization that sexual violations were not isolated, but a social and political phenomenon.
Barbara Wozaczer and Antonella Francini in Paris and Niam Kennedy in Dublin contributed to this story.