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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #296 - Sexist violence: Why justice saves the notables (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]
Fri, 2 Aug 2019 08:17:23 +0300
April 11, 2019 is a milestone. The Criminal Court sentenced a powerful man in a case of
gender-based violence. An opportunity to question the impunity of the rich in the face of
sexual assault. ---- March 2016, Denis Baupin, then Vice-President of the National
Assembly and MEP Europe Ecology-The Greens of Paris, poses with other collaborators,
wearing lipstick makeup, for the campaign against violence against women. On May 9, 2016,
France Inter and Mediapart published the testimonies of eight women elected and employees
of EELV claiming to have been victims, from 1998 to 2014, of sexual harassment, even
sexual assault, by Denis Baupin. In total, about fifteen women will come out of silence.
In June, four of them lodge a complaint. The case is dismissed because the facts are
The case could have stayed there, but Denis Baupin filed a complaint against his accusers
for slanderous denunciation and claims 50 000 euros in damages. The trial, which opens on
February 4, 2019, allows the long list of victims of Denis Baupin's actions to testify:
the trial turns against the plaintiff. Baupin is finally sentenced on 19 April to
compensate the defendants, the women who accused him and the press titles that revealed
the case for " abuse of civil party . " The conviction for abusive procedure of Baupin
allowed to testify of the exactitude of the facts and the accusations.
The case of Baupin makes it possible to tackle a subject recently put back on the front of
the scene: the impunity of the bourgeoisie with regard to sexual assaults.
In front of (in) class justice
When in the 1970s feminist movements began to analyze the sociology of sexual assault,
they discovered that this phenomenon affected " all classes and all races " , victims
as aggressors. Sexual and sexual violence is not an individual problem (human), relational
(of the couple) or cultural (of a group): it is the problem of a patriarchal society, of
socially organized and reproduced domination men on women, as social groups.
Feminist studies have highlighted the many faces of the rapist and helped to eradicate the
cliché of the lonely, jobless and immigrant attacker, met in an underground car park. Yet
not all rapists find themselves on court boxes.
In a study published in 1976, Marie-Odile Fragier already made this observation: among the
289 people convicted of rape in assize courts in 1972, nearly two-thirds are workers and
13 % are inactive, on the other hand, we do not count that " two senior managers, a man
exercising a liberal profession and a teacher " . This difference of treatment in the
courts does not only concern sexist and sexual violence, it also contributes to the
representation of a popular class bully and unknown to the victim .
This stigmatization was reinforced by the introduction of a new offense in the law: street
harassment. While we can be pleased to see legally recognized daily acts of gender-based
violence, the concentration of sexist issues around this issue alone has the effect of
dramatically reducing the figure of the aggressor to the working classes.
Cases such as those of Harvey Weinstein or Denis Baupin highlight sexist oppressors,
politicians, bosses, in short men of power. The low judiciarization of rapes committed by
attackers from the bourgeoisie is explained in particular by the fact that these people
have resources to better defend themselves during their passage (lawyers, language
elements, cultural capital) and social ...). The financial capital they possess allows
them sometimes even, via financial transaction, to put an end to the procedures that
concern them (Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Harvey Weinstein among others).
Unlike the aggressors of the popular classes, the consequences are not the same for the
rich rapists and aggressors. They retire a time from the front of the stage to continue
business elsewhere. DSK is, since May 2016, economic adviser for the Chahed government in
Tunisia. It also advises, unofficially, the Republic of Congo to help the authorities to
restructure the country's debt, as well as the State of Togo in the framework of a
technical assistance project financed by the European Union and put implemented by the IMF
to modernize public financial management. In the same way Baupin had symbolically resigned
from the vice-presidency of the National Assembly, as of May 2016, but kept his mandate of
deputy until June 2017.
Impunity of the rich
If these cases make headlines for a few months, bring to light a renowned attacker for a
while, they appear as epiphenomena. The scandal resonates with individuals who are
uncorrelated from their social class, and allows a systemic and anti-patriarchal analysis.
Thus the platform published in Le Monde , by women of influence (such as Levy and
Deneuve), on the freedom to importunate, proves to be a plea to defend the men of their
class against the revelations of #Metoo and # Balancetonporc.
All these elements (the bourgeois are better off in justice, the profile of the typical
sexual aggressor is the poor aggressor) tend to perpetuate the system. This fact confers
impunity to the rich sexual aggressors, and invisibilises their victims. This feeling of
impunity allows the patriarchy to put more power on women. A feeling of impunity that
borders on stupidity when Baupin decides to attack his victims in defamation.
Lucie (UCL Amiens)
 Erin Pizzey, Cree less loudly the neighbors will hear you , Éditions des femmes, 1974.
 Marie-Odile Fargier, The Rape , Grasset, 1976.
 Only 5 % to 15 % of raped victims file a complaint. One of the reasons given is that
the vast majority of rapes are committed by relatives of the victim, resulting in a
process of denunciation difficult, rape between strangers is in fact very few.
 Véronique Le Goaziou, Violation in justice: a (in) class justice ? , Antipodes, " New
Feminist Issues ", 2013.
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