French minister vows better protection of military sexual abuse victims -Le Monde

By Thomson Reuters May 10, 2024 | 12:43 AM

PARIS (Reuters) – French Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu is putting in place a special task force to better protect victims and punish perpetrators of sexual violence in the army, he announced in an op-ed published by newspaper Le Monde.

The task force, which is asked to review disciplinary proceedings and “come up with concrete recommendations to guide commanders”, will be headed by the Inspector General of the Armed Forces and the Gendarmerie.


The initiative aims to address the issue of sexual harassment and abuse within the military, an institution traditionally marked by silence around such issues which has come under increasing pressure after female soldiers this year started to call out sexual violence in local media.


“A soldier joins the armies of France to protect, never to attack. So, yes, being sexually assaulted or harassed, even when you are a soldier, makes you a victim,” Lecornu wrote in the op-ed.


This move comes amid a broader cultural reckoning with sexism and gender-related violence in France, highlighted by recent high-profile cases with well-known figures across politics, show business, sports and academia facing allegations.


The task force will assess prevention measures, protection of victims, and sanctions against aggressors by the end of May. The findings and recommendations will be presented to Parliament.

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)