“The amalgam between sexual violence and sexist behavior is dangerous and legally inaccurate”

SUnder a general reference to “sexual harassment”, three definitions coexist in French law, identical in the public sphere and the private sphere, to which is added the criminalization of violence of a sexual nature determined by law. To “sexual harassment” were added more recently “repeated sexist remarks, behavior or connotations”, as well as, excluding repetition, an action “with the real or apparent aim of obtaining an act of a sexual nature”, assimilated to sexual harassment . Finally, discrimination covers any act with a “sexual connotation” which has the purpose or effect of undermining a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

Acts and actions are identified, defined, sanctioned at different levels and in multiple ways. But the first sanction is often media. It is perhaps difficult, when “sexist violence” or “sexual violence” is mentioned, to understand what is exactly being reproached, when the public immediately admits the amalgam. The search for both proof – apart from confession – and qualification is all the more complex as the accusation suffices to trigger blacklisting in the sphere of activity of the person concerned. If it is a well-known person, the public launch of media information, whether on the networks or in the general public, is admitted as proof. In all cases, publicity ruins not only the reputation of the person in question, but also that of the structure which failed to prevent these behaviours.

Once the information is published, the structure is just as much in the spotlight of the news as the person in question. Companies have set up internal investigation processes, sometimes anticipating legal obligations. The public sector has also published a process guide. It is also not surprising that a political party, in the form of an association or another structure, sets up an investigation procedure with the common aim of seeking the truth.

Assurance of impartiality

Interesting is the silence imposed on the person concerned while the “cell” of the party or political formation renders conclusions following an investigation accompanied by a “withdrawal”, suspension of activity as exists in the private sector by layoff or simple exclusion, depending on the case. The precautionary measures are adapted to the seriousness of the facts, to the need to put an end to the rumors that spread from unverified statements, but also to the protection of the whistleblower and the person in question.

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