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French feminists accuse actress Deneuve of trivialising sexual abuse in open letter

Wednesday, 10 January, 2018 - 12:30

A group of feminist activists has responded to an open letter signed by French actress Catherine Deneuve defending the “freedom of men to hit on” women. The feminists accused Deneuve and her co-signatories of holding victims of sexual violence in contempt.

“As soon as the equality advances, even half a millimeter, good souls immediately alert us to the fact that we risk falling into excess. Excess, we are right in it. It is the world in which we live. In France, every day, hundreds of thousands of women are victims of harassment. Tens of thousands of sexual assaults. And hundreds of rapes. Every day,” the feminists said.

The statement came in response to a letter signed by French women writers, performers and academics which was published in France’s Le Monde newspaper on Tuesday in which they said: “Men have been punished summarily, forced out of their jobs when all they did was touch someone’s knee or try to steal a kiss.”

“Rape is a crime, but trying to seduce someone, even persistently or clumsily, is not – and nor is men being gentlemanly a chauvinist attack,” they said.

The feminist group shot back on Wednesday saying: “The signatories of the letter deliberately confuse a relationship of seduction, based on respect and pleasure, with violence.”

“This is not a difference between flirting and harassing but a difference in nature. Violence is not ‘heightened seduction’, they said.

Asserting that most of the personalities who signed the letter in Le Monde are “for the most part repeat offenders in the defense of pedophiles and apologists for rape”, adding that they are using “their media visibility to trivialise sexual violence.”

The “me too” movement was launched in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein affair after he was accused by numerous women of sexual harassment and rape.


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