Violence against women

Jo

Jo

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I heard that there has been an update on Roula Yaacoub case yesterday.


Anyone has any update on this?

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    Bishop in India Charged With Raping Nun Over a 2-Year Period


    NEW DELHI — The Indian authorities on Tuesday charged a bishop with repeatedly raping a nun in the southern state of Kerala, the first case of its kind in the country and a development that comes just weeks after Pope Francis acknowledged a continuing problem with sexual abuse of nuns in the Catholic Church.

    Vijay Sakhare, the inspector general of police who oversaw a monthslong investigation, said Bishop Franco Mulakkal had been charged with raping a nun nine times over a two-year period starting in 2014. The bishop, who faces a maximum punishment of life imprisonment, has denied the accusations.

    The filing of charges on Tuesday “enters the annals of history as a rarest of rare incident, when a bishop is going to face trial in a court based on the complaint of a nun who is a subordinate to him,” read a statement from Save Our Sisters, a group of members of India’s Roman Catholic Church.

    The charge sheet includes statements from 83 witnesses, including a cardinal, three bishops, 11 priests and 25 nuns, the group said in its statement.

    Nuns have tried for years to call attention to sexual exploitation in the Catholic Church. They have recently stepped forward to accuse clerics of abuse in India and Italy, as well as in African and Latin American countries.

    But they have also struggled to move the conversation forward among church leaders. In November, the International Union of Superiors General, the organization representing the world’s Catholic women’s religious orders, said a “culture of silence and secrecy” was partly to blame.

    A new front was opened in February, when Francis publicly addressed sexual abuse of nuns by clerics for the first time. Asked about the issue during a news conference aboard the papal plane, Francis said that the Vatican was taking reports of sexual abuse and “sexual slavery” seriously. Some priests had already been suspended for their behavior, he said.

    “Should more be done? Yes,” he said. “Do we have the will? Yes. But it is a path that we have already begun.”

    In Kerala, the nun’s accusations against Bishop Mulakkal, 55, were largely sidelined by the church until several other nuns rallied to her side and cast aside what they described as intense pressure to stay silent.

    In official police complaints, the nun’s family accused Bishop Mulakkal of raping her multiple times over a two-year period starting from May 5, 2014. The assaults occurred at the nun’s convent, the St. Francis Mission Home, in a forested part of Kerala, which is home to many of India’s 20 million Catholics.

    The nun first approached the church authorities about the abuse in January 2017. She contacted nearly a dozen church officials. Some told the nun that the church would take action; others dissuaded her from going to the police, her family said.

    “No sooner I reached the room than he pulled me toward him,” the nun wrote in a letter to Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro, the pope’s representative in India, on Jan. 28, 2018. “I was numbed and terrified by his act. I took all efforts to get out, but in vain. He raped me brutally.”

    But the church did not take action until last fall, when five nuns protested at Kerala’s High Court after hearing about the assaults while staying at the St. Francis Mission Home. They sat in front of a large poster depicting Virgin Mary holding a nun’s lifeless body. One placard read, “Justice for nuns.”

    Last September, about two weeks after the protests started, the Kerala police arrested Bishop Mulakkal and the Vatican asked him not to conduct Mass.

    Still, Bishop Mulakkal’s detention did not last long. When he was released on bail in October, his supporters showered him with flower petals. He returned to his diocese, where a banner offered him a “hearty welcome.”

    In recent weeks, pressure to charge the bishop had intensified. Last month, the five nuns who protested approached the police in the district of Kottayam, where the convent is, and asked them to speed the investigation.

    Hari Sankar, the police chief in Kottayam, said the charges were filed Tuesday afternoon in a district court. Apart from rape, Bishop Mulakkal has been charged under laws against intimidation, illegal confinement and unnatural intercourse. He faces at least 10 years in prison.

    More charges against clerics may come in Kerala. Earlier this year, the police said they were looking into reports that leaders of India’s Catholic Church had abused other nuns, and that four priests in Kerala had blackmailed women during confession to force them into sex.

    Sister Anupama Kelamangalathuveli, one of the five nuns to push for the charges, said the group was “extremely happy and grateful,” but realistic about challenging days to come. It was their unity, despite the odds, that had gotten them this far, she said.

    “We will not disband,” she said. “We will stay together and fight together to the finish.”

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    Bishop in India Charged With Raping Nun Over a 2-Year Period


    NEW DELHI — The Indian authorities on Tuesday charged a bishop with repeatedly raping a nun in the southern state of Kerala, the first case of its kind in the country and a development that comes just weeks after Pope Francis acknowledged a continuing problem with sexual abuse of nuns in the Catholic Church.

    Vijay Sakhare, the inspector general of police who oversaw a monthslong investigation, said Bishop Franco Mulakkal had been charged with raping a nun nine times over a two-year period starting in 2014. The bishop, who faces a maximum punishment of life imprisonment, has denied the accusations.

    The filing of charges on Tuesday “enters the annals of history as a rarest of rare incident, when a bishop is going to face trial in a court based on the complaint of a nun who is a subordinate to him,” read a statement from Save Our Sisters, a group of members of India’s Roman Catholic Church.

    The charge sheet includes statements from 83 witnesses, including a cardinal, three bishops, 11 priests and 25 nuns, the group said in its statement.

    Nuns have tried for years to call attention to sexual exploitation in the Catholic Church. They have recently stepped forward to accuse clerics of abuse in India and Italy, as well as in African and Latin American countries.

    But they have also struggled to move the conversation forward among church leaders. In November, the International Union of Superiors General, the organization representing the world’s Catholic women’s religious orders, said a “culture of silence and secrecy” was partly to blame.

    A new front was opened in February, when Francis publicly addressed sexual abuse of nuns by clerics for the first time. Asked about the issue during a news conference aboard the papal plane, Francis said that the Vatican was taking reports of sexual abuse and “sexual slavery” seriously. Some priests had already been suspended for their behavior, he said.

    “Should more be done? Yes,” he said. “Do we have the will? Yes. But it is a path that we have already begun.”

    In Kerala, the nun’s accusations against Bishop Mulakkal, 55, were largely sidelined by the church until several other nuns rallied to her side and cast aside what they described as intense pressure to stay silent.

    In official police complaints, the nun’s family accused Bishop Mulakkal of raping her multiple times over a two-year period starting from May 5, 2014. The assaults occurred at the nun’s convent, the St. Francis Mission Home, in a forested part of Kerala, which is home to many of India’s 20 million Catholics.

    The nun first approached the church authorities about the abuse in January 2017. She contacted nearly a dozen church officials. Some told the nun that the church would take action; others dissuaded her from going to the police, her family said.

    “No sooner I reached the room than he pulled me toward him,” the nun wrote in a letter to Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro, the pope’s representative in India, on Jan. 28, 2018. “I was numbed and terrified by his act. I took all efforts to get out, but in vain. He raped me brutally.”

    But the church did not take action until last fall, when five nuns protested at Kerala’s High Court after hearing about the assaults while staying at the St. Francis Mission Home. They sat in front of a large poster depicting Virgin Mary holding a nun’s lifeless body. One placard read, “Justice for nuns.”

    Last September, about two weeks after the protests started, the Kerala police arrested Bishop Mulakkal and the Vatican asked him not to conduct Mass.

    Still, Bishop Mulakkal’s detention did not last long. When he was released on bail in October, his supporters showered him with flower petals. He returned to his diocese, where a banner offered him a “hearty welcome.”

    In recent weeks, pressure to charge the bishop had intensified. Last month, the five nuns who protested approached the police in the district of Kottayam, where the convent is, and asked them to speed the investigation.

    Hari Sankar, the police chief in Kottayam, said the charges were filed Tuesday afternoon in a district court. Apart from rape, Bishop Mulakkal has been charged under laws against intimidation, illegal confinement and unnatural intercourse. He faces at least 10 years in prison.

    More charges against clerics may come in Kerala. Earlier this year, the police said they were looking into reports that leaders of India’s Catholic Church had abused other nuns, and that four priests in Kerala had blackmailed women during confession to force them into sex.

    Sister Anupama Kelamangalathuveli, one of the five nuns to push for the charges, said the group was “extremely happy and grateful,” but realistic about challenging days to come. It was their unity, despite the odds, that had gotten them this far, she said.

    “We will not disband,” she said. “We will stay together and fight together to the finish.”


    NYTimes
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    A Common Trait Among Mass Killers: Hatred Toward Women


    The man who shot nine people to death last weekend in Dayton, Ohio, seethed at female classmates and threatened them with violence.

    The man who massacred 49 people in an Orlando nightclub in 2016 beat his wife while she was pregnant, she told authorities.

    The man who killed 26 people in a church in Sutherland Springs, Tex., in 2017 had been convicted of domestic violence. His ex-wife said he once told her that he could bury her body where no one would ever find it.

    The motivations of men who commit mass shootings are often muddled, complex or unknown. But one common thread that connects many of them — other than access to powerful firearms — is a history of hating women, assaulting wives, girlfriends and female family members, or sharing misogynistic views online, researchers say.

    As the nation grapples with last weekend’s mass shootings and debates new red-flag laws and tighter background checks, some gun control advocates say the role of misogyny in these attacks should be considered in efforts to prevent them.
    The fact that mass shootings are almost exclusively perpetrated by men is “missing from the national conversation,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom of California on Monday. “Why does it have to be, why is it men, dominantly, always?”

    While a possible motive for the gunman who killed 22 people in El Paso has emerged — he posted a racist manifesto online saying the attack was in response to a “Hispanic invasion of Texas” — the authorities are still trying to determine what drove Connor Betts, 24, to murder nine people in Dayton, including his own sister.

    Investigators are looking closely at his history of antagonism and threats toward women, and whether they may have played a role in the attacks.
    Since the killings, people who knew Mr. Betts described a man who was offbeat and awkward; others recalled his dark rages and obsession with guns.

    Those rages were frequently directed at female acquaintances. In high school, Mr. Betts made a list threatening violence or sexual violence against its targets, most of whom were girls, classmates have said. His threats were frightening enough that some girls altered their behavior: Try not to attract his attention, but don’t antagonize him, either.

    “I remember we were all distant, like maybe we should just shy away from him,” said Shelby Emmert, 24, a former classmate. “My mom wanted me to just not associate. She said to stay away from Connor Betts.”

    ‘An Important Red Flag’

    Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, cited a statistic that belies the sense that mass shootings are usually random: In more than half of all mass shootings in the United States from 2009 to 2017, an intimate partner or family member of the perpetrator was among the victims.

    (The study, by the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, defined mass shootings as those in which four or more people died, not including the gunman.)

    “Most mass shootings are rooted in domestic violence,” Ms. Watts said. “Most mass shooters have a history of domestic or family violence in their background. It’s an important red flag.”

    Federal law prohibits people convicted of certain domestic violence crimes, and some abusers who are subject to protective orders, from buying or owning guns. But there are many loopholes, and women in relationships who are not married to, do not live with, or have children with their abusers receive no protection. Federal law also does not provide a mechanism for actually removing guns from abusers, and only some states have enacted such procedures.

    Judges can consider an individual’s history of domestic abuse, for example, under red-flag laws adopted in at least 17 states. Such laws allow courts to issue a special type of protective order under which the police can take guns, temporarily, from people deemed dangerous.

    The National Rifle Association, the nation’s largest gun lobby, has opposed efforts to expand the situations in which individuals accused of abuse can lose the right to own guns, saying that doing so would deny people due process and punish people for behavior that is not violent.

    But Allison Anderman, senior counsel at Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said measures that facilitate the removal of guns from abusers “are a critical step in saving the lives of abuse survivors.” And given the link between domestic abuse and mass shootings, she said, these laws may also help prevent massacres.

    The plagues of domestic violence and mass shootings in the United States are closely intertwined. The University of Texas tower massacre in 1966, generally considered to be the beginning of the era of modern mass shootings in America, began with the gunman killing his mother and wife the night before.

    Devin P. Kelley, who opened fire on parishioners at a Sunday service in Sutherland Springs, on Nov. 5, 2017, had been convicted of domestic violence by an Air Force general court-martial, for repeatedly beating his first wife and breaking the skull of his infant stepson. That conviction should have kept him from buying or owning guns, but the Air Force failed to enter the court-martial into a federal database.

    In attacking the church, Mr. Kelley appeared to be targeting the family of his second wife.

    In a case that highlights the so-called boyfriend loophole, in 2016, a man who had been convicted of stalking a girlfriend and had been arrested on a charge of battery against a household member shot Cheryl Mascareñas, whom he had briefly dated, and her three children, killing the children. Because the man had not been married to or had children with the woman he was convicted of stalking, his conviction did not prevent him from having or purchasing guns.

    Inspiration From Incels

    A professed hatred of women is frequent among suspects in the long history of mass shootings in America.

    There was the massacre in 1991, when a man walked into Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Tex., and fatally shot 22 people in what at the time was the worst mass shooting in modern United States history. The gunman had recently written a letter to his neighbors calling women in the area “vipers,” and eyewitnesses said he had passed over men in the cafeteria to shoot women at point blank range.

    “Even some of the incidents that people don’t know about or aren’t really familiar with now or don’t come to mind, there definitely is a thread of this anger, and misogyny,” said James M. Silver, a professor of criminal justice at Worcester State University who has worked with the F.B.I. to study the motivations of mass gunmen.

    In recent years, a number of these men have identified as so-called incels, short for involuntary celibates, an online subculture of men who express rage at women for denying them sex, and who frequently fantasize about violence and celebrate mass shooters in their online discussion groups.

    Special reverence is reserved on these websites for Elliot O. Rodger, who killed six people in 2014 in Isla Vista, Calif., a day after posting a video titled “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution.” In it, he describes himself as being tortured by sexual deprivation and promises to punish women for rejecting him. Men on these sites often refer to him by his initials and joke about “going ER” — or a murderous rampage against “normies,” or non-incels.

    Several mass killers have cited Mr. Rodger as an inspiration.

    Alek Minassian, who drove a van onto a sidewalk in Toronto in 2018, killing 10 people, had posted a message on Facebook minutes before the attack praising Mr. Rodger. “The Incel rebellion has already begun!” he wrote. “All hail Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”

    And Scott P. Beierle, who last year shot two women to death in a yoga studio in Tallahassee, had also expressed sympathy with Mr. Rodger in online videos in which he railed against women and minorities and told stories of romantic rejection. Mr. Beierle had twice been charged with battery after women accused him of groping them.

    Federal law enforcement officials said the F.B.I. was looking at whether the gunman in Dayton had connections with incel groups, and considered incels a threat.

    Experts say the same patterns that lead to the radicalization of white supremacists and other terrorists can apply to misogynists who turn to mass violence: a lonely, troubled individual who finds a community of like-minded individuals online, and an outlet for their anger.

    “They’re angry and they’re suicidal and they’ve had traumatic childhoods and these hard lives, and they get to a point and they find something or someone to blame,” said Jillian Peterson, a psychologist and a founder of the Violence Project, a research organization that studies mass shootings. “For some people, that is women, and we are seeing that kind of take off.”

    David Futrelle, a journalist who for years has tracked incel websites and other misogynistic online subcultures on a blog called “We Hunted the Mammoth,” described incel websites as a kind of echo chamber of despair, where anyone who says anything remotely hopeful quickly gets ostracized.

    “You get a bunch of these guys who are just very angry and bitter, and feel helpless and in some cases suicidal, and that’s just absolutely a combination that’s going to produce more shooters in the future,” Mr. Futrelle said.

    Psychiatrists, however, say that the attention on mental health generated by mass shootings, and the common argument that mental illness is the explanation for these massacres, cannot explain the link between misogyny and mass shootings. Misogyny — or other types of hatred — is not necessarily a diagnosable mental illness.

    Instead, said Amy Barnhorst, the vice chair of community psychiatry at the University of California, Davis, who has studied mass shootings, what ties together many of the perpetrators is “this entitlement, this envy of others, this feeling that they deserve something that the world is not giving them. And they are angry at others that they see are getting it.”

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    The Specific Horror of Unwanted Oral Sex

    By Lisa Taddeo

    Harvey Weinstein is accused of doing it to Annabella Sciorra and Mimi Haleyi. Years ago, a man did it to me.

    After my mother died I drugged myself to sleep every night. I couldn’t exist without Ambien. When I recall the great loves of my life, Ambien is in the top three.

    Almost every night I walked from Harlem down to Wall Street trying to tire myself out, like a dog or a kid. A few blocks from home I’d swallow the pill dry and walk the rest of the way feeling that wavy head-high I’d come to associate with imminent peace.

    There was a man during those times who listened, devotedly, as I described my unlivable grief, the way I hadn’t tossed away my mother’s deodorant and the way I’d preserved the last blanket that had covered my father — a thin yellow microfleece — on a shelf in my bedroom. I never used it or let anyone else use it, lest my father’s essence be diluted.

    One summer night that man walked me home from dinner. I was terrifically lonely and he was a tremendous listener. I removed an Ambien pill from the little silver box my mother had used to house the pills she took after the death of my father.

    I swallowed it dry and this man laughed because it was a silly, sad little routine. He told me how unsafe it was to be impaired on the streets of Manhattan. How I might be raped.

    There was trance music in the elevator of my building. He made a joke about it — how it sounded like the New Jersey shore of my past, that I might not be able to refrain from clubbing.

    At my bedroom door I told him I was fine. I told him to go home. He walked out and I got into bed with my clothes on. I woke sometime later to find the man’s head between my legs. He was so restrained in the act that in my fog it seemed faraway and lulling, like something happening to somebody else. And then I woke fully. I asked him what was going on and he stood up quickly, looking a bit guilty. But he didn’t apologize. After all, it was merely my drowsiness that stood between him and his capacity to provide me with that ultimate pleasure often associated with cunnilingus.

    In the recent weeks, during the Harvey Weinstein trial, I’ve been listening to the reactions around forced oral sex. Annabella Sciorra and Mimi Haleyi both recall instances of Mr. Weinstein pinning them down and forcing oral sex upon them.
    There’s a different response to this type of assault.

    As a recent article in the Daily Beast relates, until fairly recently the notion of forced cunnilingus was foggy at best. In the state of Georgia it still only counts as rape if the male organ penetrates the female organ. Other people feel the same. Oral sex does not actually qualify as “sex,” as President Bill Clinton asserted in 1998. Oral sex carries a reduced risk of sexually transmitted infections compared to penetrative rape. And, of course, there’s the despicable suggestion that it can be a sort of pampering. An indulgent visit to a spa.

    Mr. Weinstein allegedly said to Ms. Sciorra, “This is for you.”

    People, naturally, speak differently in person than they do in the neat sheet music of social media. I’ve been listening to both men and women negotiate the claim of forced cunnilingus.

    She could have just used her feet to shove him off, come on.

    It’s not, like, the worst thing in the world to have forced upon you.


    I argued that, for me and for others, the worst part is not blaming the perpetrator: It’s blaming yourself. But that’s a difficult feeling to parse. Off the internet — and as usual — I found that the people who were talking weren’t listening.

    In her vivid essay, “The Trouble with Following the Rules,” Mary Gaitskill describes three assaults she suffered. One was a violent rape, inflicted by a stranger. Another took place when she was 16: Alone and on acid with a new acquaintance, she “allowed herself to be drawn into sex because I could not face the idea that if I said no, things might get ugly.” She writes that she felt more violated by the latter — the date rape — because she felt complicit.

    She also describes a third assault, an experience during which her initial feelings of attraction quickly turned to alarm after the man became aggressive. This one, which took place when she was in her thirties, involved a younger man and longtime friend. She explains that she’d initially ended the essay without stating the fact that she’d gone on to date the man for months. She knew that would render the violation moot in the eyes of many.

    In my bedroom that evening I felt the polar opposite of pleasure. I was sickened by the way it felt, by the self-impressed tongue, by the forced closeness of an act that many women feel is more intimate than intercourse.

    “I’m sleeping,” I said. “Please go home.”

    I wanted to stay awake to make sure that he left. But just as I wanted to drug myself for a few hours of respite from my grief, so too did I want to leave my body so that I might wake in the morning and find the assault had paled in intensity.

    Here’s one sick part: I don’t feel good using the word “assault.” Part of the reason is my feeling of complicity. Part is my humiliation. And finally, there’s the thought that someone reading this will think that it’s not “as big of a deal” as intercourse. That I am being overly dramatic. That the poor guy was just trying to make a sad girl feel better.

    But that, in fact, is the worst part. The blur.

    For some women, the way it feels for someone to force themselves on you in a nearly emotional way carries with it a certain diabolical confusion.

    I didn’t kick the man in the head. I didn’t scream. Deplorably, I felt that if I kicked him, I’d not only be considered unreasonable but even unhinged. I remember, with an indescribable nausea, that I didn’t want the man to feel he was not “doing a good job.” Even just writing those words makes me feel powerless, existentially subjugated. Self-hating.

    After the two rapes Ms. Haleyi allegedly suffered at the hands of Mr. Weinstein, she went on to write to him, to ask him for work and advice. If you haven’t been in a similar situation, it might be nearly impossible to hear that testimony and not feel a shred of suspicion. Why, if she was so despicably assaulted, would she continue to speak to the man? Even if she were afraid to contact the authorities, why would she not keep away from the monster?

    I kept in touch with that man for a year or so after that evening. There were a number of reasons, not least of which was the emotional support he provided. On top of that, he professed to love me. He didn’t need anything from me except my willingness to let him be there for me. I was missing a father and he subtly played that role. I made it clear — with my words and my actions — that I wasn’t interested in anything more and he made it clear that he didn’t need anything more.

    The confusion, the imbalance of that relationship, culminated in that night. That I did not kick him, that I did not scream when I found his head between my legs and my underwear pulled down around my ankles. I merely asked what he was doing. That moment was the ultimate symbol of my complicity. That is why, even though I was passed out, I feel tremulous using the word “assault.”

    She could have just used her feet to shove him off, come on.

    I wanted to stay awake that night, but I fell asleep. In the months that followed, the event did pale in intensity. I had larger wounds to heal: Another person I loved died. I didn’t see the man as a monster, exactly, but I was repulsed by his face, by his greedy eyes, by the way he still looked at me like I was that prostrate girl in her lonely, white bed, whom he was drawing up from the bowels of hell.

    I woke the next morning to find that he had covered me in my father’s yellow blanket, as though he were giving me something else that I didn’t realize I needed.

    Lisa Taddeo (@lisadtaddeo) is a columnist for The Sunday Times in London and the author of “Three Women.”


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    Long-Silenced Victim of a Pedophile Writer Gets to Tell Her Story

    By Norimitsu Onishi


    For decades, the writer Gabriel Matzneff used Francesca Gee’s image and letters to champion his sexual pursuit of adolescents. But her own account was rejected, until now.

    PARIS — In her telling, Francesca Gee was out with a girlfriend, a late autumn day in Paris in 1983, when they spotted a new bookstore. As they lingered before the storefront, her friend suddenly pointed to the bottom of the window.

    “Look, it’s you!”

    Ms. Gee’s face was staring back at her from the cover of a novel, “Drunk on Lost Wine,” by Gabriel Matzneff, the writer and champion of pedophilia.

    A decade earlier, at 15, Ms. Gee, had gotten involved in a traumatic three-year relationship with the much older Mr. Matzneff. Now, he was using her teenage face on his novel’s cover, and her letters in its pages, without having asked her or even informing her, she said.

    For decades, despite Ms. Gee’s protests, Mr. Matzneff used her letters to justify pedophilia and what he cast as great love affairs with teenage girls, all the while supported by members of France’s literary, media, business and political elite.

    Mr. Matzneff’s books were endorsed by some of France’s most prestigious publishers, including Gallimard, which printed “Drunk on Lost Wine” (“Ivre du vin perdu”) for nearly four decades with the same cover — in effect using Ms. Gee's face to promote the kind of relationship that has scarred some of Mr. Matzneff’s victims for life.

    “I’m persecuted by this image of me, which is like a malevolent double,” Ms. Gee said.

    Hers is the story of a woman unable to tell her own story — until now.

    Ms. Gee, now 62, contacted The New York Times after the publication of an article that described how Mr. Matzneff openly wrote about and engaged in sex with teenage girls and prepubescent boys for decades.

    After anguishing over her decision, Ms. Gee — who had a career as a journalist and speaks fluent English, French, Italian and Spanish — broke her silence of 44 years in a series of interviews over two days in southwest France, where she lives.

    That decision was facilitated by a recent cultural shift in France.

    Mr. Matzneff first achieved renown in the 1970s, when some French intellectuals regarded pedophilia as a form of liberation against parental oppression. Though those views fell out of favor in the 1990s, he continued to publish and prosper until late last year.

    But in the past couple of months, he was charged with promoting the sexual abuse of children, stripped of state-conferred honors and dropped by his three publishers.

    Gallimard stopped selling the novel with Ms. Gee’s image on the cover only in January, after the publication of “Le Consentement” (“Consent”), the first account by one of Mr. Matzneff’s underage victims, Vanessa Springora.

    “Consent” turned the widely celebrated Mr. Matzneff into a social pariah overnight. While he went into hiding in Italy, his former supporters, across France’s elite, have studiously distanced themselves or jettisoned him.

    When she first heard of “Consent,” Ms. Gee said, she was “elated” that the “Vanessa” in Mr. Matzneff’s books — someone she had never met but had always considered a little sister — was speaking.

    “She has done the work, I don’t have to worry about it anymore,” Ms. Gee remembers thinking. “But then within a week or two, I realize that I’m very much a part of this story.”

    In fact, nearly two decades before “Consent” shook up France, Ms. Gee tried — unsuccessfully — to tell her story, in 2004. She wrote a manuscript that, in detailing her involvement with Mr. Matzneff, grappled with some of the same themes and used the same vocabulary as “Consent.”


    But no publisher accepted her manuscript.

    At Albin Michel, a major house, an editor appeared receptive — but when he took Ms. Gee’s manuscript to a committee, it was ultimately turned down.

    In a rejection letter, the editor, Thierry Pfister, explained that some committee members had expressed reservations, noting that Mr. Matzneff, was a part of “Saint-Germain-des-Prés” — shorthand for the French publishing industry concentrated in that Paris neighborhood.

    “Back then, Matzneff wasn’t the old, isolated man he is today,” said Mr. Pfister, who is no longer at Albin Michel. “He was still in Paris with his network, his friends.”

    “We made the decision not to go cross swords with that group,” he recalled. “There was more to lose than to gain. I spoke in her favor. They didn’t agree with me.”


    Mr. Matzneff’s network of supporters was surprisingly wide.

    In 1973, when Ms. Gee was 15 and Mr. Matzneff was 37, a friend of the writer introduced them to a gynecologist who agreed to prescribe contraceptive pills to underage girls without their parents’ authorization — an illegal act back then.

    In his diary of the period, “Élie et Phaéton,” Mr. Matzneff writes that the gynecologist, Dr. Michèle Barzach, “at no point felt the need to lecture this man of 37 years and his lover of 15.”

    Ms. Gee said she saw Dr. Barzach a half-dozen times over three years, always accompanied by Mr. Matzneff.

    “He calls her and makes an appointment, and we go,” she recalled. “He’s in the waiting room while I’m with her. And then he comes in, and they talk and he pays her.”

    In his other diaries, Mr. Matzneff writes that Dr. Barzach became the go-to gynecologist to whom he took underage girls for years after he and Ms. Gee parted in 1976.

    Dr. Barzach, who was also a psychoanalyst, was France’s health minister from 1986 to 1988 under President François Mitterrand.

    From 2012 to 2015, she was the head in France of UNICEF, the United Nation’s child protection agency. Citing privacy reasons, UNICEF refused to provide contact details for Dr. Barzach, who is no longer at the agency. Dr. Barzach did not reply to an interview request that UNICEF said had been forwarded to her.

    ‘Love’? Or a ‘Hostage Taking’?

    For decades, Mr. Matzneff claimed that his relations with underage girls had helped them for the rest of their lives. Their initiation into art, literature, love and sex, by an older man, had left them happier and freer, he claimed.

    The claim — repeated by his supporters — went unchallenged until the publication in January of “Consent,” in which Ms. Springora writes that her involvement with Mr. Matzneff, starting at age 14, left her with psychological problems for decades.

    In her unpublished manuscript of 2004, Ms. Gee described her involvement with the writer as a “cataclysm that shattered me when I was 15 years old, and that changed the course of my life” — leaving her “ashamed, bitter and confused.”

    The accounts by Ms. Gee and Ms. Springora are especially significant because Mr. Matzneff has often described them as two of the three great loves of his life. He devoted diaries, novels, poems and essays to each woman — material that, according to anti-pedophilia groups, provided the intellectual cover for many men to target prepubescent children or adolescent girls.

    Ms. Gee recalls running into Mr. Matzneff for the first time in Paris in 1973 with her mother, who had known him years before.

    David Gee, Ms. Gee’s younger brother, said their parents regularly invited the writer over for dinner parties. His presence especially pleased their father, a British journalist long based in Paris who sought his place in French society.

    “It was one of those very important things, socially speaking, to be established in the intelligentsia,” Mr. Gee said. “That was more important than looking at the side effects of pedophilia.”

    With her father’s approval, Ms. Gee saw the writer over three years, unable to break away from him. Ms. Gee’s father died in 2014.

    Using the same methods he later would with Ms. Springora, Mr. Matzneff exercised a hold on the teenage girl. He isolated her, forbidding her to socialize with friends her age.

    He pulled political strings to have Ms. Gee transferred to a high school near his home — and boasted about it in his diaries. Then he got into the habit of waiting for Ms. Gee outside her new high school, Lycée Montaigne, next to the Luxembourg Gardens.

    “He came every day to make sure that everyone understood that no one was supposed to try anything with me,” Ms. Gee recalled. “It was a very specific place where he was just standing there waiting for me.”

    Ms. Gee recently met with one of the detectives who began investigating Mr. Matzneff and his supporters in the aftermath of the publication of “Consent.” After she detailed her involvement with Mr. Matzneff during the five-hour meeting in Paris, she said, the detective described it as a “hostage taking.”

    Trapped in His Stories

    Ms. Gee turned 18 in 1976 and, after several anguished attempts, was finally able to free herself from Mr. Matzneff’s grip, having become more and more critical of him. “It was growing up, basically,” she said.

    Still, she would remain hostage for decades — trapped in his storytelling and his use of her letters.

    Encouraged by Mr. Matzneff, Ms. Gee had written him hundreds of amorous and sexually explicit letters during their three years together.

    Some of them he published in 1974, without her authorization, in his fierce defense of pedophilia, “Les Moins de Seize Ans” (“Under 16 Years Old”). He was offering those letters, he wrote in another book, “Les Passions Schismatiques,” as evidence that “a relationship of love between an adult and a child could be for the latter extremely rich, and the source of a fullness of life.”

    Ms. Gee said the words in the letters were those of a teenager manipulated by a man the age of her parents. Her letters were also used in “Ivre du vin perdu,” the novel whose cover featured an illustration of her.

    “Now I consider they were extorted and used as a weapon against me,” Ms. Gee said.

    In her manuscript, Ms. Gee writes that “he used me to justify the sexual exploitation of children and teenagers.”

    For years, Ms. Gee’s feelings about her experience with Mr. Matzneff were “muddied.” Then in the early 1990s, her understanding became clearer.

    “It was only when I was almost 35 years old that I realized this wasn’t a love story,” Ms. Gee recalled.

    It was in 1992 that she contacted Mr. Matzneff, demanding that he stop using her letters and that he return them to her. Eventually, he sent her a photocopied stack — a carefully selected batch that excluded her negative correspondence.

    A decade later, in 2002, it was Mr. Matzneff who wrote to her, asking, for the first time, her permission to use old photographs of her in a book. In the turquoise blue ink that he always used to pen his letters, Mr. Matzneff offered to identify the teenager as “the young girl who inspired the character of Angiolina in ‘Ivre du vin perdu.’”

    Not only did Ms. Gee refuse, but she also demanded again that his books be purged of her letters and that her face be taken off the cover of “Ivre du vin perdu.” She also demanded that three old photographs of her be taken off a website devoted to Mr. Matzneff and created by an admirer, Frank Laganier. The photos were pulled only seven years later, in 2010, after Ms. Gee’s continued pressure, she said.

    Mr. Laganier, who is now living in Paris, declined interview requests. His lawyer, Emmanuel Pierrat — who is representing Mr. Matzneff in a pedophilia case and is a longtime supporter of the writer — declined to be interviewed.

    In 2004, Ms. Gee began preparing to sue Gallimard, the publisher of “Ivre du vin perdu,” and “La passion Francesca,” Mr. Matzneff’s diary of their relationship, but stopped because of the high legal costs. Gallimard did not respond to interview requests; Antoine Gallimard, the head of the publishing house, did not respond to an interview request sent to his email address.

    Unable to stop Mr. Matzneff, Ms. Gee also could not tell her own story.

    After her manuscript was rejected by Albin Michel, she took it, unsuccessfully, to several other publishing houses.

    Geneviève Jurgensen, who was an editor at Bayard and met with Ms. Gee in 2004, said the manuscript’s focus was not in line with Bayard, which specialized in publishing youth books, as well as works on philosophy and religion.

    Ms. Jurgensen, after recently reading excerpts from the manuscript, described it as “well written” and containing “situations that seem almost word for word those described by Vanessa Springora.”

    “Obviously, it wasn’t the quality of the book that was the issue,” Ms. Jurgensen said of Ms. Gee’s failure to find a publisher in 2004. “Clearly, it was 15 years too early. The world wasn’t ready yet.”

    The final rejection came from Grasset, the very same publisher that broke a taboo by issuing Ms. Springora’s “Consent” in January.

    Martine Boutang, an editor at Grasset, remembers being moved by Ms. Gee’s account, she said, but couldn’t see a way to get it published: the subject was “too sensitive,” and two members of Grasset’s editorial committee were “close to Matzneff.’‘

    “The question wasn’t the quality of the text,” she said.

    Ms. Gee recalls feeling that Ms. Boutang was trying to stall the project by asking her to rework a manuscript that she had no intention of publishing. Ms. Boutang said she did not remember asking for a rewrite.

    By contrast, Mr. Matzneff had no problems continuing to get his writings published — including “Under 16 Years Old,” the book that used Ms. Gee’s letters to justify pedophilia and sex with underage girls.

    Whose Story?

    In a recent interview in the Italian Riviera, where he has been hiding, Mr. Matzneff said that if Ms. Gee “called me tomorrow, I would be delighted to see her.”

    Ms. Gee would be delighted if she could stop being reminded of him. In a book published last November, more than four decades after she left him, Mr. Matzneff mentioned her no fewer than a dozen times. Ms. Gee herself is now working on a new manuscript on the writer.

    Over the years, unexpected incidents have sometimes reminded her that she remains a prisoner inside Mr. Matzneff’s story.

    A few years ago, she found herself waiting outside the Lycée Montaigne, her old high school, which her niece Lélia was now attending.

    “I wait for her where Matzneff used to wait for me,” Ms. Gee recalled.

    Over lunch, her niece, a literature student, told her that she was “working on a contemporary author called Gabriel Matzneff.”

    That’s how Lélia, who is now 25, learned that the books she had been reading described a “family history,” she says. To this day, she says, she had talked little with her aunt about her days with Mr. Matzneff.

    “Most of what I know about all of this comes from Gabriel Matzneff, and not my aunt,” she said. “And that’s exactly where the problem lies.”


    NYTimes

    A Pedophile Writer Is on Trial. So Are the French Elites.
     
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    Picasso

    Picasso

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    It was, and remains, illegal in France for an adult to have sex with a minor under the age of 15. But unlike the United States and other countries with statutory rape laws — where those underage are considered too immature to fully consent to sexual relationships — France does not have an age of consent. As recently as 2018, it dropped efforts to set one.

    A Pedophile Writer Is on Trial. So Are the French Elites.
     
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