Brigitte Macron, the French first lady, told TF1, a French television broadcaster, on Sunday: “It is absolutely essential that these actions are known and that these actions are not silenced.”
Mr Loiseleur said: “Incest is like the elephant in the room that nobody wants to see” and added: “It is the most widespread form of sexual violence and the least discussed.”
Similar to the scandal surrounding the pedophile writer Gabriel Matzneff, the allegations against Mr Duhamel have caused a stir in the French establishment. Mr. Duhamel was a prominent figure as chairman of the board of directors of the renowned Sciences Po University in Paris and president of “Le Siècle”, an elite social club in the capital. In the past two weeks, suspicions have grown as to who might have known about the allegations and remained silent.
Frédéric Mion, the director of Sciences Po, who, according to the newspaper Le Monde, had been informed of the allegations since 2018, is under pressure from his students to resign. Élisabeth Guigou, a former Justice Minister and close friend of Mr Duhamel, resigned as chair of a committee on sexual violence against children last week but said she was unaware of the alleged abuse.
Mr Loiseleur said incest “must be identified as a public health problem that requires significant resources”. His organization has long urged the authorities to make incest a specific crime with no statute of limitations.
France recently extended the statute of limitations for rape against minors from 20 to 30 years, and two bills that would create an age of consent for sexual relations with minors are about to be submitted for parliamentary consideration.
French law prohibits sex between adults and minors under the age of 15, but does not automatically count as rape. Additional circumstances, such as coercion, threats, or violence, are required to characterize sexual relationships as rape.