Viol que fait la justice ?
Rape: what is the justice system doing?
"The victim is the forgotten party in a criminal trial. This is rapidly apparent to anyone attending a rape trial."
Despite the severity of the law and the unanimity of social reprobation, very few rape cases are brought to trial. Most cases are closed, some are reclassified as sexual assaults. The rare convictions that do occur seem to satisfy public opinion more than the victims themselves.
Véronique Le Goaziou demonstrates the range of contradictions that may be involved in defending a collective and political cause before a body that only deals with individual affairs. She takes a detailed look at what motivates judges' decisions when dealing with delicate questions related to violence, desire, and sexuality. She describes the trajectory of victims throughout a legal process that is sometimes experienced as a second rape.
In the face of the strictly criminal treatment of sexual violence, which focuses on the offence and the sanction of the guilty party, is it not time to listen to the victims? To ask what they expect from the justice system and from society? To find other paths through which they can rebuild themselves?
Véronique Le Goaziou
Véronique Le Goaziou is a sociologist and a novelist. She is an associate researcher at the Laboratoire méditerranéen de sociologie (LAMES-CNRS).