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#MeTooInceste: people in France are sharing horrific experiences of abuse

Twitter users are coming forward with their own stories of incest after a French political scientist was accused of sexually abusing his stepson

It’s been just over three years since the #MeToo movement took off, inspired by the 2017 investigation into Harvey Weinstein’s decades-long crimes. Following the exposé, countless women took to social media to share their own stories of abuse, and to stand in solidarity with other victims.

Now, another wave of accusations are emerging online. In France, people are using the hashtag #MeTooInceste to share their horrific experiences of incestual abuse. The hashtag, which was trending over the weekend, emerged following allegations levelled against French political scientist Olivier Duhamel, who has been accused of sexually abusing his stepson.

“My uncle, from when I was four to when I was 12,” one Twitter user wrote, alongside the hashtag. “I told my parents and the police got involved.”

“I was six. Several times,” said another. One wrote: “I was six years old, celebrating my first year exam in school. My closed (sic) family uncle took me to his home and ruined my life.”

Another user shared the date “justice was served”, writing: “April 4, 2019, the day my mother and her ex-boyfriend pleaded guilty for what they did to us.”

French legal scholar Rim-Sarah Alouane said of the outpouring of stories: “#MeTooInceste is currently trending in #France. Victims of incest are sharing their stories. It is heartbreaking and really tough to read these stories. I can only hope that justice will be served. Lots of love, respect, and support to the victims.”

She continued: “Our judicial system and our legal apparatus have failed these children, have failed to protect them and to punish the persons who committed these horrific crimes. Things need to change immediately but alas, I don’t really see any political will.”

#MeTooInceste began trending after extracts from Duhamel’s stepdaughter, Camille Kouchner’s book, La Familia Grande, were published ahead of its full release on Thursday (January 21). In her book, Kouchner accuses Duhamel of abusing her twin brother in the 1980s, when he was just a teenager.

“I was 14 years old and let it go ahead,” she wrote. “I was 14, I knew and said nothing.” In the published extracts, Kouchner refers to her brother as ‘Victor’ in order to protect his identity; he has corroborated her accusations, telling Le Monde: “I confirm that what my sister has written concerning the actions of Olivier Duhamel towards me is correct.”

The pair’s father, Bernard Kouchner – France’s former foreign minister – said in a statement: “A heavy secret that has been weighing on us for too long has happily been lifted. I applaud the courage of my daughter Camille.”

Following the accusations, Duhamel announced that he would be resigning from his academic and media roles. As reported by BBC News, Duhamel wrote on Twitter: “I am stepping down from my posts after being the target of personal attacks as I want to preserve the institutions in which I work.” It appears his Twitter account has since been deactivated.

If you’re experiencing or have experienced sexual abuse, you can find a list of support organisations and charities via Mind here.