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French Bishops document highlights Domestic Violence silence

A French Bishops Commission has hit out at society's apparent willingness to tolerate domestic violence, making a dramatic contrast with its allegedly easy condemnation of cruelty towards animals.

"In the France of today, is it less risky to hit one's wife than the dog?" was the question posed by the seven members of French Bishops' Social Commission.

The Commission has produced a publication titled Les Violences envers les Femmes (Violence Towards Women), in cooperation with the Women's Section of Catholic Action, and the anti-prostitution Nest Movement. The book focuses on conjugal violence, prostitution and pornography.

They Commission observed that in the amnesty granted following the 2002 French Presidential Elections, the sentences for conjugal violence were cancelled, while similar pardon was not applied to acts of cruelty against animals.

The statement says that with this book the French bishops "wish to express their solidarity with the women victims of violence" and hope "to break the silence by unmasking abuses that are often concealed."

"It is urgent to rethink the sexual education of young people, which must be sexual and affective, taking into account the relational dimension of sexuality."


Eglise catholique en France | Les violences envers les femmes (media release) | Text of Declaration (PDF)
US bishops tell battered women not to stay in abusive marriages (14/11/02)
NZ CWL cites cases of domestic violence (23/10/02)

8 Oct 2003