Tuesday, May 17

French woman who killed her rapist is found guilty but will not go back to prison


Valérie Bacot, the French woman who killed the man who raped her for years and sexually exploited her, will not have to go to prison. The Court of Chalon-sur-SaôneBacot has sentenced Bacot four years in prison for having killed Daniel Polette, but three of which are not mandatory. As he had already served a year in preventive detention between 2017 and 2018, he has been released.

The trial against the woman who killed her abuser reopens the debate on sexist violence in France

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He was 35 years old when he shot Daniel Polette, his stepfather, husband, rapist and pimp in the neck. It happened in March 2016 in Saône-et-Loire, in central France, after years of sexual and psychological abuse. Then, with the help of her children, Valérie buried Polette’s body in the forest and reported her missing. The police found the body after a year and arrested Valérie, who served a year in preventive prison and was subsequently released on parole.

From stepfather to abuser, husband and pimp

Daniel Polette’s mistreatment against his stepdaughter Valérie was known and began with her being a minor. In 1995, denounced by his own sister, he was sentenced to four years in prison for sexual assaults against Valérie. At two and a half years he was released and returned home. It was during this period that Valérie, still younger, became pregnant with her first child, the first of four.

Polette would not only become his husband, but also his pimp: she would force him to prostitute himself and have sex with other women while he watched her. Valérie says that shortly before killing him, she became suspicious of his intentions to abuse her daughter, then 14 years old. “I was afraid that he would prostitute her,” Valérie explained during the trial.

The process, which started this Monday, June 21 and which has lasted five days, has had France in suspense. His case has been receiving multiple shows of support for months. “Does Valérie deserve to spend the rest of her life in prison for having killed her executioner? We believe not,” says the Valérie Bacot Support Committee, an association created in November 2020. a petition on change.org promoted by this association and addressed to the Minister of Justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti, and the Minister of Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities, Elisabeth Moreno, demands their freedom. To date, it has more than 700,000 signatures.

“Valérie has been mistreated throughout her life, he made her his domestic slave. She has been completely alone, with her children, unable to seek help or be protected by society,” Sandrine Dubouis, president of the Committee of Support and former neighbor of Valérie, whom she began to support after her arrest in 2017. “We have confidence in justice. We only ask that the verdict be as lenient as possible and that Valérie does not return to jail.” Dubouis commented the day before the sentence. “It is a shame that he takes into account all that he has suffered. He has already been in prison for a year, so we hope that the judges will find the most fair thing between the act committed by Valérie and all these years of suffering.”

Some voices, such as that of the former Minister of Women’s Rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, have asked the French president to pardon her. “My God, but I can’t take any more of these horrors, and no one should be able to do it anymore! Pardon @EmmanuelMacron and freedom for Valérie Bacot” exclaimed Vallaud-Belkacem on Twitter.

If pardoned, Valérie would have become the second woman to receive the presidential grace after murdering her abuser. In 2014, Jacqueline Sauvage was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing her husband after more than 40 years of abuse. In 2016, she was pardoned by then-President François Hollande and released.

Wave of femicides in France

The process against Valérie Bacot takes place after a month of brutal cases of sexist violence. “Five husbands have recently killed their wives, all of them had recourse to justice,” denounces Sandrine Dubouis, president of the Valérie Support Committee. “Our objective is to publicize the horror that Valérie experienced to prevent similar cases from occurring,” he explains to this newspaper.

For Nathalie Tomasini, Valérie’s lawyer, the French system does not provide enough tools to protect victims of sexist violence. “These women have no other possibility than to kill in order not to die, there is no conscious decision-making, it is an automatic gesture,” she told the media after leaving the trial, in which she demanded Bacot’s acquittal.

The same afternoon that Bacot receives his sentence, several feminist associations have organized a march in Paris against the inaction of the French Government against feminicides. According to the feminist collective #NousToutes, since the beginning of the year and until June 19 there have been 56 femicides in France.





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