Today I am in court because I am a feminist, I will never be silenced

For having denounced the links between Christophe Girard, elected to the city of Paris, and Gabriel Matzneff, a writer accused of child abuse, six feminists are on trial in Paris for “defamation” and “public insult”. On the witness stand, one of the defendants will read a text that she will share with Madmoizelle.

The trial against six activists will take place on Thursday 14 March and Friday 15 March 2024 in the Paris judicial court. The person denouncing them is Christophe Girard, elected to the city of Paris and former deputy for culture of Anne Hidalgo. In the background, the case of Gabriel Matzneff, former writer protagonist of Gallimard accused of juvenile crime by Vanessa Springora in her book Consent (edited by Grasset, 2020).

After the release of this book, Gabriel Matzneff was the subject of an investigation for “rape committed against minors” and Christophe Girard was heard as a witness. Investigations from New York Times and Mediapart demonstrated the closeness between the two men and the material support that Christophe Girard provided to the writer. Six feminists denounced these links during a demonstration and via tweet and called for the Parisian political powers to take responsibility. These actions earned him a complaint from Christophe Girard for “defamation” and “public insult”, filed in 2020.

The same year, Christophe Girard was the subject of an investigation for “rape by an authorized person” against a 16-year-old teenager, which was closed due to the statute of limitations.

The Coline Clavaud-Mégevand Tribune

“Today I want to talk about what I felt on June 28, 2020, when I received Christophe Girard’s complaint. I felt like the sky was falling on my head reading that I was accused of defamation for having recalled facts written in black and white in the investigations of New York Times and Mediapart, and I publicly demonstrated my support for Alice Coffin, a recognized elected official and feminist activist.

For several months, the feeling of loneliness was immense because I didn’t know that other feminists were also targeted. I also had to find a lawyer, the money to pay him, and consider that perhaps I would be convicted for exercising my freedom of expression and my activist beliefs. At the time, I was on long-term sick leave after months of harassment at work and in the middle of my PMA journey.

From the day I received Christophe Girard’s complaint to today, almost four years have passed, during which I have lived the life of a woman, journalist and feminist. .

She is the third of my friends to entrust me with the story of the rape she suffered as a child, a story I listened to because it is a task that falls to us busy women: to collect the words of our raped sisters, sometimes as adults, sometimes as little girls: Valérie Springora was 14 years old when Gabriel Matzneff, 50, was waiting for her after school to take her back to her hotel, paid for by the Maison Saint Laurent of which Christophe Girard was general secretary.

I have also written investigations into sexist and sexual violence in the world of culture. More than sixty women have told me of attacks ranging from forced kisses to brutal rape, including humiliations and violence that I will never forget.

And then I finally had a child, this child who was in my belly when I received the announcement of my accusation, because I publicly denounced a terrible injustice, an ugly wound that poisons our entire society: the moral and material support granted to child rapists.

Mine is 17 months now. This procedure required time, money, energy and peace of mind. So many resources that I couldn’t dedicate to my son and that no one will give me back. On the evenings when I had to work on this trial and therefore couldn’t be with my daughter, I explained to her that her mother was an activist for women’s and children’s rights, and that even today this has a price.

My daughter will or will not choose to be an activist herselfbut there is a choice that she will not have: today she is a child, tomorrow she will be a woman, in a society that for too long has accepted that men attack us, rape us and write books about it published by Gallimard, and that other men try to silence us when we denounce loud and clear that no, we no longer want this world. »

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