- French petitions against age of consent laws
Between 1977 and 1979, while a change in the French
Penal Codewas under discussion in the Parliament of France, a number of French intellectuals, including prominent names, signed petitions and open letters defending either the abolition of age of consentlaws or the release of individuals arrested under charges of statutory rape.
1977 petition addressed to the Parliament
In 1977, a petition was addressed to the parliament calling for the abrogation of several articles of the age-of-consent law and the
decriminalizationof all consented relations between adults and minors below the age of fifteen (the age of consent in France).
The document was signed by the philosophers
Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Louis Althusser, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoirand André Glucksmann, by the philosopher and semiotician Roland Barthes, by the novelist/gay activist Guy Hocquenghem, the actor/play-writer/jurist [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Danet Jean Danet] , the writer and filmmaker Alain Robbe-Grillet(elected in 2004 a member of the Académie Française), the writer Philippe Sollers, the pediatrician and child psychoanalyst Françoise Doltoand also by people belonging to a wide range of political positions. [Foucault, Hocquenghem and Danet are referenced several times as petitioners in the Michel Foucault’s text “ Sexual Morality and the Law.” The name of Françoise Dolto and the term “people belonging to a wide range of political positions” are mentioned on page 273. The names of philosophers Jacques Derrida, Louis Althusser and André Glucksmann come from the [http://web.archive.org/web/20050404190912/http://www.decadi.com/dignaction/Fpetit.html Dignaction.org] website (in French). Finally, the names of philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Roland Barthes, as well as of the writers Alain Robbe-Grillet and Philippe Sollers, come from the [http://www.denistouret.net/textes/Cohn-Bendit.html Denistouret.net] website (also in French).]
1977 petition to the Parliament - List of signatures
Simone de Beauvoir
* and “people belonging to a wide range of political positions”. [The term “people belonging to a wide range of political positions” is mentioned on page 273 of Foucault’s text, "
Sexual Morality and the Law", Chapter 16 of "Politics, Philosophy, Culture –Interviews and Other Writings 1977-1984". Edited by Lawrence D. Krizman. New York/London: 1988, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-90082-4 ]
1978 radio conversation between Foucault, Hocquenghem and Danet
On April 4, 1978, an extensive conversation detailing the reasons for their pro-abolition positions was broadcast by radio
France Culturein the program "Dialogues". The participants, Michel Foucault, Jean Danet and Guy Hocquenghem, had all signed the 1977 petition, along with other intellectuals. [Foucault, Hocquenghem and Danet are referenced several times as petitioners in the Michel Foucault’s text “ Sexual Morality and the Law” The name of Françoise Dolto and the term “people belonging to a wide range of political positions” are mentioned on page 273. The names of philosophers Jacques Derrida, Louis Althusser and André Glucksmann come from the [http://web.archive.org/web/20050404190912/http://www.decadi.com/dignaction/Fpetit.html Dignaction.org] website (in French). Finally, the names of philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Roland Barthes, as well as of the writers Alain Robbe-Grillet and Philippe Sollers, come from the [http://www.denistouret.net/textes/Cohn-Bendit.html Denistouret.net] website (also in French).]
They believed that the
penal systemwas replacing the punishmentof criminal acts by the creation of the figure of the individual dangerous to society (regardless of any actual crime), and predicted that a society of dangers would come. They also have defined the idea of legal consent as a contractual notion and a ‘trap’, since ‘no one makes a contract before making love’. FOUCAULT, Michel. Politics, Philosophy, Culture –Interviews and Other Writings 1977-1984. Edited by Lawrence D. Krizman. New York / London: 1988, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-90082-4. Chapter 16, Sexual Morality and the Law, pp. 271-285. See page 285. The conversation has been published as “ Sexual Morality and the Law” and later reprinted as “The Danger of Child Sexuality”.
Open letters published in French newspapers
Le Monde – January 26, 1977
An open letter was published in "
Le Monde", on the eve of the trial of three Frenchmen, (Bernard Dejager, Jean-Claude Gallien, and Jean Burckardt), all accused of having sex with 13 and 14 year old girls and boys. Two of them had then been in temporary custody since 1973 and the letter referred to this fact as scandalous.
The letter was signed by 69 people, including Jack Lang (who later served as France’s Minister of Culture and Minister of Education),
Bernard Kouchner(who has been France’s Minister of Health and co-founder of Doctors Without Borders), Michel Bon(formerly CEO and Chairman of Carrefourand of France Télécomand now President of the Pasteur Institute), public intellectuals such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Gilles Deleuze, Roland Barthes, André Glucksmannand Guy Hocquenghem, and nine specialists – five psychiatrists, one doctor, one psychologist, one psychoanalyst, and one social scientist. [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20050404190912/http://www.decadi.com/dignaction/Fpetit.html 1977-1979 petitions and signatures] (in French)] [ [http://www.denistouret.net/textes/Menard.html 1977 Le Monde petition] (in French) (lists some of the signatures, see item 6)] [ [http://www.simona.com/bimbi/bimbi7.html#app1b 1977 Le Monde petition - list of signatures] (in Italian)]
The document claimed there was a disproportion between the qualification of their acts as a crime and the nature of the reproached acts, and also a contradiction since adolescents in France were fully responsible for their acts from the age of 13. The text also opined that if 13 year old girls in France had the right to receive the pill, then they also should be able to consent. [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20050404190912/http://www.decadi.com/dignaction/Fpetit.html 1977-1979 petitions and signatures] (in French)]
The 69 people who signed the letter to "Le Monde" were:
* Alain Cuny
* [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Querrien Anne Querrien]
* Bernard Dort
* Dr. Bernard Muldworf (psychiatrist)
* Bertrand Boulin
* Catherine Valabrègue
* Christian Hennion
* [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christiane_Rochefort Christiane Rochefort]
* Dr. Claire Gellman (psychologist)
* Claude d’Allonnes
* [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copi Copi]
* Danielle Sallenave
* Dionys Mascolo
* Fanny Deleuze
* François Régnault
* Françoise Laborie
* [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel_Matzneff Gabriel Matzneff] †
* [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lapassade Georges Lapassade]
* Gérard Soulier
* Dr. Gérard Vallès (psychiatrist)
* Gilles Sandier
* Hélène Védrines
* Jack Lang
* Jacques Henric
* [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Louis_Bory Jean-Louis Bory]
* Jean-Luc Henning
* Jean-Marie Vincent
* Jean-Michel Wilheim
* Jean-Pierre Colin
* Judith Belladona
* Madeleine Laïk
* Marc Pierret
* Marie Thonon
* Dr. Maurice Erne (psychiatrist)
Michel Bon(also psychosociologist)
* Michel Cressole
* Michel Leyris
* Olivier Revault d'Allonnes
* Philippe Gavi
* Dr. Pierre-Edmond Gay (psychoanalyst)
* Pierre Hahn
* Pierre Samuel
* Dr. Pierrette Garrou (psychiatrist)
* Raymond Lepoutre
* [http://fr.wikipedia.org/René_Schérer René Schérer]
* Dr. Robert Gellman (psychiatrist)
Simone de Beauvoir
* Victoria Therame
* Vincent Montail † - The specific signature of writer [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel_Matzneff Gabriel Matzneff] in the petition may be seen as a result of bias, since he is a self-proclaimed post-pubescent adolescent girl lover. [ [http://www.matzneff.com Gabriel Matzneff's website] ]
"Libération" – March, 1979
A similar, but more polemical letter was published in the paper
Libérationin 1979, supporting Gérard R., an accused child sex criminal awaiting his trial for eighteen months, signed by 63 persons, including Pascal Bruckner, Georges Moustaki, and [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christiane_Rochefort Christiane Rochefort] . The letter says that Gérard R. lived with young girls aged 6 to 12, "whose blooming shows before the eyes of all, including their parents, the happinessthat they found with him". The letter was later reproduced in the paper L’Express, in the issue of March 7, 2001. [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20050404190912/http://www.decadi.com/dignaction/Fpetit.html 1977-1979 petitions and signatures] (in French)] Other than Christiane Rochefort, it is not recorded that any of the signatories of the 1977 letter also signed the 1979 letter, or that they were aware of it.
* FOUCAULT, Michel. Politics, Philosophy, Culture –Interviews and Other Writings 1977-1984. Edited by Lawrence D. Krizman. New York / London: 1988, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-90082-4. Chapter 16,
Sexual Morality and the Law, pp. 271-285. The 1977 petition to the Parliament is mentioned on pages 272-273.
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20050404190912/http://www.decadi.com/dignaction/Fpetit.html Dignaction.org] - Lists the May 1977 petition to the Parliament as well as the two open letters published in Le Monde and Libération.
* [http://www.ipce.info/ipceweb/Library/00aug29b2_le_monde.htm IPCE Library on the open letter in Le Monde (French version)]
* [http://www.denistouret.net/textes/Cohn-Bendit.html Denistouret.net] (see “«Libé» en écho d'un vertige commun”, “pétitions”) - Reproduces an article by Sorj Chalandon, published in
Libérationon 23 February 2001, pp. 3 and 4. The article mentions the two 1977 petitions, and adds the names of Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Roland Barthes, Alain Robbe-Grillet and Philippe Sollers as signatories of the 1977 petition addressed to the Parliament.
* "La censure des bien-pensants", p. 96 (Paris:2003, published by
Éditions Albin Michel). The book was written by journalist [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Ménard Robert Ménard] , founder of Reporters Without Bordersand Emmanuelle Duverger, an internationalist jurist and member of the Fédération Internationale des Droits de l'Homme (or International Federation of Human Rights Leagues). The book mentions the two 1977 petitions. Source: website “ [http://www.denistouret.net/textes/Menard.html Denistouret.net] ” (page on Menard, item 6).
* Note: The website [http://web.archive.org/web/20050404190912/http://www.decadi.com/dignaction/Fpetit.html Dignaction.org] seems to present a more neutral and non-biased point-of-view with respect to the 1977-1979 French petitions, trying not to judge them or their signatories (the title of the page in the navigation bar is “Equivocated petitions, or not”), while on the other side [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Ménard Robert Ménard] in the website [http://www.denistouret.net/textes/Menard.html Denistouret.net] sees with guilt the alleged “mistakes” of a “whole generation”, treating all the 1977-1979 petitions as if they were equal, and associating them with some controversial passages of "Le Grand Bazar", a book written by
Daniel Cohn-Benditand published in 1975 by [http://www.belfond.fr Éditions Belfond] . A carelessly written sentence of the book led to false accusations of pedophilia for Bendit, in the context of a political campaign in 2001. Daniel Cohn-Bendit (now a European MP) was one of the lead participants of the May 1968movement in France, as well as many of the intellectual petitioners, but it is not recorded if Bendit himself has signed any of the 1977-1979 petitions.
* [http://www.simona.com/bimbi/bimbi7.html#app1b Per una legislazione diversa sulla sessualità dei minorenni] Comments on the open letter published in Le Monde and lists the signatures.
* BECCHI, Egle (a cura di), "L'amore dei bambini. Pedofilia e discorsi sull'infanzia", Milan: 1981, Opuscoli Feltrinelli, pp. 35-36 ( [http://www.simona.com/bimbi/bimbi7.html#app1b source] ).
Age of consent reform
Age of consent
Ages of consent in Europe
Sexual Morality and the Law
List of French language authors
* [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifeste_des_121 Manifeste des 121] - a 1960 French petition against the Algerian War
* [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifeste_des_343 Manifeste des 343] - a 1971 French petition in support of legalizing abortion
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