Appointed just a month ago at the head of the commission on incest, Elisabeth Guigou is already under fire from critics. Latest debate: its proximity to Olivier Duhamel, French political scientist accused … of incest. The former Minister of Justice is cited as one of the political scientist’s closest acquaintances:
“(Chez Olivier Duhamel) the cultural left parades: the philosopher Luc Ferry, the producer Fabienne Servan-Schreiber (…) and the former socialist minister of justice Elisabeth Guigou – future president of the commission on sexual violence committed against children, created in 2020.”(Le Monde 04/01)
A disturbing proximity, and which adds to the list of criticisms issued by child protection associations since the announcement of this appointment.
Misunderstanding of associations
On December 10, Adrien Taquet, the Secretary of State for Children and Families announced that it was Elisabeth Guigou who would chair the new commission on incest. An announcement that puzzles child protection professionals.
“Before even talking about his relationships and his problematic words, there is the question of skills. We did not understand why she was chosen. She’s not a child protection actress. She only knows the institutions, and not the field”, Deplores Isabelle Aubry, president of the association Facing incest.
The latter regrets that the associations were not at all consulted before this appointment. Same sound of bells at Lyes Louffok, member of the National Council for the Protection of Children:
To have appointed this lady to the head of the commission against sexual violence against children is a mistake.
The conditions for working with serenity are not met.
– Lyes Louffok (@LyesLouffok) January 6, 2021
Words that disturb
A few weeks before the revelations on Olivier Duhamel, Elisabeth Guigou was already criticized for another of her friendly relations. The former Minister of Justice is interviewed in the documentary Chambre 2806: the DSK affair, a film which reviews the Sofitel affair.
Her comments about the former IMF director, to whom she was close, sparked outrage: “Why [DSK] would he need to do it?“, that is to say, “to violate“?”He’s a charming, bright, intelligent man, he can be funny at times“, she adds, assuring that he has”never had“inappropriate gesture towards her.
Say Madame @elisabethguigou , you have strangely chosen your associates before taking the presidency of the Commission on sexual violence committed against children last December. From DSK to #OlivierDuhamel, you do a faultless! #LaGrandeFamilia
– Tristane Banon (@BanonTristane) January 5, 2021
These statements do not directly concern the subject of incest, but for Isabelle Aubry, president of Face à inceste, they testify to a “rape culture” and a “state of mind incompatible with the mission granted to him. ”
Refocus the debate
While the majority of child protection actors agree that this appointment is a problem, some regret a media rush that obscures the real subject: the fight against incest.
Indeed, since the announcement of this commission on incest, the media space has been occupied by debates on Elisabeth Guigou. A necessary debate but “we no longer talk about the commission”, Warns Arnaud Gallais, president of Enfant Present.
The activist, who also says to himself “shocked”By the words of the former Minister of Justice, regrets that she does not communicate on what he is accused of.
“When I see her defending DSK, I’m obviously shocked. But we must not forget that we are talking about another era, about people who knew and who did not say anything, there are plenty of them. This is in no way to excuse him, but I think the most important thing for the committee is to demand more transparency. She should be more honest and admit her mistakes. If she doesn’t communicate, it makes it look like she still doesn’t see where the problem is …”, Explains the president of Enfant Present, insisting on the need to refocus the debate.
Indeed, despite the accumulation of controversies around her appointment, the president of the commission was simply content to deny the facts: “We all meet victims and abusers without knowing it, I am no exception to the rule”(L’Obs 05/01).
Associations set aside
Beyond the debates on the legitimacy of the former Minister of Justice, those involved in the protection of children regret not being consulted enough. “We only had one meeting with her, since nothing”Deplores Isabelle Aubry.
“We’re afraid it’s just one more commission”, Regrets Arnaud Gallais, who also asks for greater cooperation with the associative world.
For now, this commission is given two years, before initiating reforms to better protect children from incest. A delay “too long”For Isabelle Aubry.
According to the latest Ispos figures, 10% of French people say they have been victims of incest, i.e. 6.7 million people.