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France fails to pass an age of consent law

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By Daniel Bellamy
France fails to pass an age of consent law

Campaigners are outraged that France's lower house of parliament has failed to set a minimum legal age for sexual consent when it was being debated on Wednesday.

They're upset that an adult who has sex with a child won't automatically be convicted of rape.

"In its bill, the government has written an article 2 in which it recognizes that one can have in France a sexual attack, that is to say a crime, with penetration, that means that one can consider that a child is penetrated by an adult and that it is not a rape, and we do not agree with that," Caroline De Haas, a feminist activist said.

And the equalities minister was accused of breaking her promise that any adult who has sex with a child will be charged with rape.

"The debate will no longer be about 'did the child struggle', whic is a scandalous debate, it will be about how old they were, and if they were under 15, well then it is a paragraph that relates to the definition of rape," Marlène Schiappa, said.

The age of consent in most of Europe varies between 14 and 16. Only in Ireland and Cyprus is it higher, respectively 17 and 18.

The government said the bill might be legally unconstitutional because it could undermine the assumption of innocence until proven guilty.