French President Emmanuel Macron said Saturday that victims of childhood sexual abuse “will never be alone again” and promised legal changes after thousands came forward with their experiences in recent weeks.
“Today shame is switching sides” from victims to perpetrators, Macron said in a video posted to Twitter, welcoming the fact that “people feel free to speak everywhere in France”.
“We are here. We’re listening to you. We believe you. And you will never be alone again.”
Promising to “punish criminals for their acts in the past and prevent them ever reoffending”, Macron said the law would be updated.
In 2018, France already pushed back the statute of limitations for sexual crimes against minors to 30 years.
But some people have argued such acts should never fall beyond the reach of the justice system.
A flood of testimony under the social media hashtag #Metooinceste followed the early January publication of a book, “La familia grande”, by Camille Kouchner.
In it she accused her step-father, prominent political commentator Olivier Duhamel, of abusing her twin brother.
“No-one can ignore these experiences any longer,” Macron said. “We have to hear and gather victims’ testimonies even years, decades afterwards”.