“Extreme and lasting suffering”: the Civil Society sounds the alarm on the traumatic consequences of incest

“I took life at eight years old. » Absence of libido, refusal of maternity, addictions, anorexia… the victims of sexual violence in childhood suffer the traumatic consequences in adulthood, warns the Incest Commission in a report published this Wednesday, September 21. In the process, the government announced a plan to combat sexual violence, which affects approximately 160,000 minors per year.

The Independent Commission on Incest and Sexual Violence Against Children (Ciivise) takes stock of these sometimes invisible consequences based on the 16,414 testimonies received since the launch of its call for testimonies a year ago to the day.

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The trauma suffered as a child still affects their health, physical and mental, as much as their family, sexual and professional life. “What is obvious when reading the emails received is the expression of suffering, extreme and lasting suffering. It’s not thinking about something painful that happened a long time ago, it’s experiencing it today.”explains to AFP judge Edouard Durand, co-president of the Ciivise.

Vaginismus, erectile dysfunction and refusal of maternity

Those who bear witness speak ” almost always “ consequences “about their intimate life as adults, their relationship, their life as parents, their sexuality”notes the report.

Four out of ten women report pain, mainly vaginismus. Nearly one in three men suffer from erectile dysfunction. “My sexuality has been a long crossing of the desert. I had vaginismus for about 20 years.says a woman quoted in the report.

Three out of ten victims mention an absence or drop in libido or an absence of sexual life. Conversely, sexual violence results in hypersexualization (multiplication of partners in particular) for half of the men.

Many testimonies also evoke a refusal of motherhood and the fear of reproducing the aggressions on their own child.

“I take alcohol or cannabis to anesthetize me”

This violence suffered as a child also has an impact on the health of adults: the vast majority have “developed risky behaviors”. Eating disorders, addictions, aggressiveness, suicide attempts are most often reported. One in two women describes an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia, etc.). Four out of ten men have an addiction problem (alcoholism, drugs).

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“By losing weight, I felt like I was regaining control of my body and escaping my attacker”entrusted a victim to the Ciivise. “I take alcohol or cannabis to anesthetize myself, not to seek a recreational, euphoric effect. It’s just to be able to fall into a dreamless sleep, since dreams are essentially made up of nightmares.said another.

Five urgent recommendations

The Ciivise lists five recommendations “realistic and achievable” that it calls on public authorities to implement “emergency”while the Social Security Financing Bill (PLFSS) and the Finance Bill (PLF) are presented next week.

It thus asks to guarantee and reimburse the victims for specialized care in psychotrauma, which is currently not very accessible and expensive. “I think I spent a car or two on my psych reconstruction”says a testimony.

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She asks to organize a “systematic tracking” by professionals in contact with children (doctors, school nurses, etc.). And create a “support and advice unit” to help them deal with disclosures, which can be stressful for them.

It claims more resources for the judicial police services specializing in cyber-paedocrime, while the “grooming” (approaching a child over the internet to sexually assault him) jumped. Finally, she recommends a “great national information campaign” on sexual violence against children, the last dating from 2002.

The government’s response

Shortly after the publication of the report, the government announced to strengthen the means in the fight against incest.

The government wants “strengthening the training of health professionals” and finance in early 2023 a “great national campaign” of prevention. To support them, he will create “a support cell for all professionals who have doubts or are faced with revelations”. Once the incest has been spotted, the next step is to consolidate the legal treatment while 70% of the complaints are filed without further action.

“We must put in place a systematic identification of child victims of incest”

The government will continue the deployment throughout the territory of Pediatric Reception and Listening Units (Uaped), associating investigators, doctors, psychologists, to hear the child in safety. Throughout the criminal process, the government wants to strengthen support for the child, “by victim support associations and with the intervention of an ad hoc administrator”a professional whose mission is to represent and defend minor children.

One of the advances most awaited by associations is “the withdrawal in principle of the exercise of parental authority in the event of a conviction of a parent for incestuous sexual violence against his child”. The government will table in Parliament a legislative amendment to allow it, while accepting that a court may exceptionally refuse it. “by special motivation”.

For its part, the Independent Commission on Incest and Sexual Abuse of Children (Ciivise) “is delighted to have been heard, to see its recommendations taken up by the government”assured Edouard Durand.

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