France – Initially planned to fill a gap in the legal protection of victims of sexual assault, a bill currently under consideration in the National Assembly calls for public nudity .
Not sufficiently precise, Article 4 could restrict naturist practice as much as artistic or activist expression.
The defense of just causes sometimes generates responses with very questionable secondary consequences. This is the case of a bill presented to the National Assembly on February 9 by an elected official from Bouches du Rhône “which aims to combat sexual and gender-based violence”. Presented by Alexandra Louis, Member of Parliament for Marseille, and about 60 of her colleagues, it aims to decrease “the level of tolerance of society in relation to this scourge, but also to give it the means to react” by developing the penal system “in in order to better punish the perpetrators “.
It thus includes incest facts as well as relations with minors, but in its article 4, it also intends to “reformulate the crime of sexual exhibition” since the evaluation report of the Schiappa law “highlights a serious gap in the criminal structure and structure related to crime of sexual exhibition “, considering that” certain behaviors experienced in a very traumatic way by the victims are not covered by any crime and, consequently, the crime of sexist contempt is used by default “. And that is where, due to the imprecision and poorly argued formulation of the text, concerns arise among naturists, as well as among artists or activists who use nudity as a means of expression.
Redefining sexual display
The text presented reveals a contradiction between the perception of an act by the victim, a witness or a police officer, and the Court of Cassation’s point of view on a “sexual exhibition”. Thus, the text underlines, “sexual exposure is not the subject of any legal definition and, therefore, is at the discretion of the judge. However, the Court of Cassation considers that simple obscene gestures towards third parties, even if the perpetrator holds the penis in his hands through his clothes, do not constitute a crime of sexual exhibition ”.
The legal vacuum, for example in the case of a man masturbating through his pants, with no apparent nudity, is therefore now filled by the charge of sexist contempt, which seems inappropriate. The redefinition of sexual display must therefore be redone, in article 222-32 of the penal code. And it could be replacing it with the term “exhibition of sexual act”. For, the editors always underline, “it is difficult to understand not to qualify as a sexual exhibition the fact that a person masturbates in public, even through clothes, but to maintain this qualification when it comes to a woman who shows her breasts for political purposes” , in particular for an ongoing trial concerning Femen.
Source: Os Naturistas
Posted on NatCorn 17th March 2021
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