For years, men have tried to make believe that the sexual revolution merely meant selfish sex. In sexual relationships, the issue of men’s responsibility towards others was to be silenced by the magical formula of “unfettered orgasms”.
With the Lille Carlton Hotel trial of men accused of pandering, it is with some surprise that some of the public discovers the reality of prostitution and the suffering that is its price. After media euphemisms speaking of « debauchery » and « fine parties », the testimonies of women heard in court, and the records of the events that occurred at the Carlton, are appalling. The suffering expressed, and the scheming of these men, dispel the fiction, too often repeated in the media, passing off prostitution as a safe and consensual activity, an empowerment tool for women, especially when the law turned a blind eye on their exploiters. Under the traditional French “Code Noir”, slaves were once deemed « personal property »; in Lille, prostitution was called « a bedroom with a package ».
This suffering and dehumanization do not have to last forever. A bill seeking to respond to it was passed in the National Assembly in December 2013, by a large majority. While not perfect, it should lift the criminalization that gagged these women and the impunity enjoyed by their attackers and by the pimps who provided them with women. Following a parliamentary report and the endorsement of the Socialist Group in the National Assembly, Bill No. 1437 is, however, currently blocked in the Senate by a tactic of some senators, including JP GODEFROY, Socialist Senator (Manche), who is, paradoxically, a member of the Delegation for Women’s Rights…
How to explain this obstruction by a member of the ruling party?
Given that a few months ago, a member of a pro-prostitution lobby threatened on the Internet to disclose the sexual past of elected officials who would support the current bill, it is necessary to ensure support for all Senators in their efforts to pass this legislation.
At a time when Canada, Ireland and Lithuania have joined Sweden, Norway and Iceland in an effective reform of the law against the prostitution system, and where the European Parliament has also endorsed their Nordic model, French elected representatives need to go beyond such blackmail and honour all those women and men who, a century and a half ago, were already denouncing prostitution as slavery.
The Senate must post immediately Bill No. 1437 to its agenda and vote as soon as possible.
Signatories : Simon Ault (J.D.), Christian Balaud, Sylvain Blachon (teacher), Didier Bois (teacher), Jonathan Carmichael (community organizer), Julien Cart (teacher), Manuel Cascales, Jessy Cormont (sociologist), Jacques Cuvillier, Marc Daoud (lawyer), Christian Delarue (Zéromacho activist), Gwenola Dosse, Bob Doublin, Martin Dufresne (journalist, abolitionist), Didier Epsztajn (blogger at « entre les lignes entre les mots »), Méridick Forest (bachelor, Philosophy/Political Science), Pierre Fritsch (profeminist activist), Guillaume Gauthier (journalist, sheet-metal worker), Alain Gely (economist-statistician), Jean-Marie Goater (publisher, activist), Robert Jensen (author, University of Texas), Francis Lagacé (author and labor trainer), Yeun Lagadeuc-Ygouf (nursing assistant), Alain Lalonde (music composer and peace activist), Bruno Lalonde (bookseller-publisher), Simon Lapierre (teacher, University of Ottawa), Régis Leprêtre, Owen Lloyd (founding publisher, Deep Green Resistance News Service), Franck Loquet-Naël, Olivier Manceron (M.D., father of 5), Thomas Martineau (laborer), Kourtney Mitchell (DGR), Jonah Mix (DGR), Walid Titus Nassef (blogger & activist), Richard Neuville, Nezinam (exited whore), Angéli Nguyen (teacher), Rodolphe Pilaert (retired, scholar), Richard Poulin (sociologist), Pierre-Guillaume Prigent, Serge Sigouin (urban planner), John Stoltenberg (author), Christophe Thollon, Patrick Venturini (Zéromacho activist), Marc Villechenoux, Max Waltman (PhD, Lecturer/Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Stockholm University), Max Wilbert (Fertile Ground Environmental Institute).
New signatories: Larbi Benchiha (documentarist), Stéphanie Lamy (Collectif Abandon de Famille), Fred Robert (Zeromacho spokesman), Michele Moreau, Lise Bouvet, Rachel Moran (Your Name Here? send it to firstname.lastname@example.org)
This international Op-Ed was published Tuesday morning, Feb. 10 2015 in France by a left-wing daily, L’HUMANITÉ, on the occasion of a powerful feminist demonstration in front of the French Senate.