Can an 11-year-old consent to sex? A French court case will address that question

Can an 11-year-old consent to sex with an adult? Legally in France, the answer is not automatically “No”. A court case set to open this afternoon in the city of Pointoise, outside of Paris, will revisit that question.

It’s one that has been the source of public debate in France over the past few months.

Currently in France, the age of consent is 15, but in order to get a rape conviction prosecutors have to prove that a sex act was committed with violence, coercion, threat or surprise. Without those factors, a person can only be charged with sexual abuse, and not rape.

Sexual abuse carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of €87,000, whereas the punishment for the rape of a person under 15 is up to 20 years in prison…