Hoax Alert

Fake News: France NOT Considering Lowering Age Of Consent To 11

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Wed, 15 Nov 2017 21:16:32 Z)

The ever-unreliable site YourNewsWire published a story titled "France Considers Lowering Age Of Consent To 11" which directly contradicts its own title. It opened:

France are to consider lowering the age of consent to as low as 11-years-old as the government draft a controversial new bill dealing with 'sexual coercion.'

Is an 11-year-old girl old enough to agree to sex with an adult? That's the question French ministers are seriously considering, amid total outrage and revulsion by members of the public.

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The entire article is more or less a garbled cut-and-paste job of an ABC News article. The key paragraph copied from that story is:

Twice in recent weeks, French courts refused to prosecute grown men for rape after they had sex with 11-year-olds because authorities couldn't prove coercion. Amid public horror, the government is drafting a bill to say sex with children under a certain age is by definition coercive.

France indeed does not have a legal definition of "rape" that doesn't involve coercion. But it does have a law that defines sex with a person under 15 as sexual abuse ("atteinte sexuelle") even if it is consensual. The problem for prosecutors trying to convict the two men who had sex with 11-year-olds was that they couldn't convict them of rape on top of that because they couldn't prove the coercion. Charging them with sexual abuse was all they could do but that carries a lesser sentence.

What France is now considering is defining any sexual contact with people below a certain age as non-consensual, meaning it would automatically be considered rape. Debate is still raging if that age should be 13 or 15 or somewhere in between, but definitely not 11 as YourNewsWire claims. And having sex with someone under 15 but above the limit would still be considered sexual abuse even if it was consensual.

This isn't the first time YourNewsWire has published a fake article about the age of consent. Recently they wrote the EU was considering lowering the age of consent to 13 (based on an article copied from a satire website) so they don't seem to be very reliable when it comes to accurately reporting on these matters.

YourNewsWire has published several other hoaxes and fake news articles in the past so anything they write or publish should be taken with a large grain of salt.

The site was recently profiled in the Hollywood reporter where it was described as:

Your News Wire, a 3-year-old website of murky facts and slippery spin, is published by Sean Adl-Tabatabai and Sinclair Treadway -- a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2016 -- out of an apartment in L.A.'s historic El Royale.

RationalWiki described it as:

YourNewsWire (styled as YourNewsWire.com[1]) is an Los Angeles-based clickbait fake news website known for disseminating conspiracy theories and misleading information, contrary to its claimed motto ("News. Truth. Unfiltered").[1]

A while ago we also reported that YourNewsWire had rebranded itself as NewsPunch by changing its domain name in an apparent effort to evade filtering/blocking. It appears the site has changed back to it's old name in the mean time but you can still see the NewsPunch name in the contact email address in the footer.

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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