Top French university to up fight against sexual violence after scandal


Prestigious French university Sciences Po published a report Tuesday calling for an overhaul of its approach to sexual violence, after abuse accusations aimed at a senior figure left the institution reeling. 

The stepdaughter of Olivier Duhamel -- who led the organisation that heads the Parisian university -- accused the prominent political scientist of sexually assaulting her twin brother when they were 14 in a book published in January.

Camille Kouchner's accusations sent shockwaves through France, prompting a flood of testimony under the social media hashtag #Metooinceste. 

And a new law adopted by the National Assembly in April set the age of sexual consent in cases of incest at 18.

Interrogated by the police, Duhamel admitted to the acts last month.

Former head of Sciences Po Frederic Mion was forced to resign in the aftermath of the scandal after initially denying he was aware of the accusations concerning Duhamel, before being forced to backpedal.  

The report, ordered by Mion's provisional successor Benedicte Durand, recommended obligatory training for everyone at Sciences Po to raise awareness. 

Sciences Po "must make the objectives and actions in favour of equality between women and men a number one priority... The very future of the institution is at stake," it said.

Amongst other measures it also said an internal investigation should be launched automatically when an incident comes to light and there should be a security protocol when parties are organised by student organisations. 

These measures "must collectively allow us to propose a better known and more efficient alert and support system and to formalise more robust disciplinary procedures," Durand said in a statement.

A separate report ordered by the education ministry found there was no organised "shared secret" regarding the accusations at Sciences Po but strongly recommended increasing the fight against sexual violence within the university.

Powerful men in fields as diverse as entertainment, media, sports and politics have faced accusations of sexual harassment, assault and rape over recent months in what is being called France's delayed #MeToo wave. 

Topics: Sciences Po , Olivier Duhamel , Camille Kouchner
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