In an article published Monday in French daily Le Monde, nearly 300 prominent women called on leftist political parties to “remove the perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence”, saying too many elected officials and candidates have been accused of wrongdoing.
After the cinema, the media and the sports milieu, it is now the political world’s turn to be caught up by the #MeToo movement. On November 15, 285 women working in politics and academia published an open letter in the daily newspaper Le Monde asking that “the perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence” be removed from political life.
“We, women working in politics, elected officials, collaborators, civil servants, community leaders, activists who regularly rub shoulders with politicians, but first and foremost citizens, call on the political world to provide a comprehensive response to sexual and gender-based violence committed by our representatives,” they wrote.
The signatories represent a wide spectrum of the left, including hard-left MEP Manon Aubry, Socialist senator and former women’s affairs minister Laurence Rossignol, the Green party’s Sandra Regol, and Hélène Bidard, deputy mayor of Paris and a member of the French Communist Party.
‘When will we be freely heard?’
“In Parliament, town halls, departmental and regional councils, men who have been accused, sometimes convicted of rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse of minors, and domestic violence, get elected, despite the rhetoric on the fight against violence against women, despite our repeated warnings,” the women wrote.
“Once again and on the eve of crucial elections for our country, we urge the political apparatus to listen to the victims and to work towards prevention,” the signatories added.
It is time for the political world to “face up to its responsibilities” by removing “the perpetrators of sexual and sexist violence from its ranks” and being careful about what kind of people it promotes, they wrote. The progress wrought by the #MeToo movement has not gone far enough in the ranks of the political classes. “Women’s speech has been liberated, but when will we be freely heard?”
Since the letter was published, the #MeTooPolitics hashtag has spread on Twitter. Several Internet users have posted messages recounting their attacks by politicians.
At the heart of the presidential election
In conjunction with the open letter, the women launched the website Metoopolitique.fr, which contains a three-point pledge against sexist and sexual violence in politics that the they hope to see signed by elected officials and executives of political parties. The women plan to raise this issue throughout the presidential and legislative campaigns of 2022.
“In April 2022, we will choose the President of the Republic. Three candidates or potential candidates for the Élysée have already been accused of sexual assault. This does not prevent them from believing that they are worthy of occupying the supreme magistracy, far from it. This shows how indifferent they are to the plight of women and victims,” the women wrote in the letter
No names are given, but the daily newspaper Libération takes on the task: “One thinks of course of far-right pundit Éric Zemmour, accused of sexual violence by several women; anti-Europe politician François Asselineau, under investigation for sexual assault; and independent National Assembly member Jean Lassalle, accused of sexual harassment by several women.”
With just days to go before the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the signatories of the letter also called on people to join the marches being organised throughout France on November 20 by the #NousToutes collective.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
This article has been translated from the original in French
Source: France 24