A A woman convicted by French Justice in 2019 for not sleeping with her husband has sued the French state before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to request a change in the interpretation of the judges, his lawyer explained to Efe.
Barbara, 66, with four children, was considered guilty in civil divorce court with her husband, as decided by three judges of a Court of Appeal of Versailles.
That court found that there was “a serious and continuing violation of the duties and obligations of marriage, making the maintenance of life in common intolerable. “The woman, however, was not sentenced to pay any compensation.
The lawyer, Lilian Mhissen, explained that they struggle to eliminate that “principle” of guilt extracted from an “archaic” reading. that the magistrates of the different instances have done.
“In French law there is no obligation to have sexual relations. It is an interpretation that the judges make which dates from canon law to the time of Napoleon (19th century) and which persists in France, “lamented Mhissen.
For the lawyer, it is also “surprising” that the sentence was issued by a court made up of three women.
The process can take years until there is a decision from the ECHR, he added.
“In the articles of the civil code that a mayor reads when two people marry, it is mentioned that marriage is due respect, help and fidelity (…) We ask that the interpretation of fidelity and that of living together as an obligation to have end relationships, “he said.
Mhissen said that the judges themselves can “stop applying that interpretation.” before the decision of the European Court of Human Rights is issued.
The lawyer recalled that the United Kingdom was already condemned by that Court in 1995 “in the criminal aspect” by allowing a man who raped his wife to be prosecuted.
“In France, there is already a decision in the same direction. Marital rape is planned, but before a civil judge if the woman does not want relationships, she is committing a fault, “he lamented.
Mhissen recalled that there have already been other convictions in France for failing to comply with the obligation of the conjugal debit in marriage: “In 2011 it was a man who was sentenced for not sleeping with his wife” to a fine of 10,000 euros.
Barbara, who has suffered serious health problems since 1992 that led to her disability, has had the support and assistance of the feminist associations Fundación de las Mujeres and the Feminist Collective Against Rape.
The president of the latter group, Emmanuelle Piet, explained to Efe that the plaintiff “will not win any compensation” if the process expires, although it will be possible to press for a legislative change.
Piet assumed that Barbara’s is a long battle, like the one against rape within marriage.
“It took us twelve years of resources. Since 2006, marital rape is an aggravating circumstance in France,” he recalled.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.