An investigation into sexual abuse has begun in France’s armed forces, following a series of military testimonies recently made public by the media.

One of them – the story of Manon Dubois, who at the age of 17 was the victim of sexual assault on a French Navy ship – was brought to the defense ministry by a military officer and MP from the presidential party, Leticia Saint-Paul.

“We have instructed the general inspection of the armed forces to speed up a mission for all measures to prevent, protect the victims and punish the perpetrators,” wrote the Minister of Defense, Sebastian Lecorny, in a joint article with the Undersecretary of Veterans Affairs Patricia Mirales, which is published from Le Monde newspaper.

The inspection will also be tasked with “making even more effective” the operation of the Themis cell, which was set up in 2014 to collect victim testimonies and handle sanctions.

In 2023, 167 reports of sexual or gender-based violence were sent to the hierarchy of the armed forces and 59 were dealt with directly by the Themis core, i.e. a total of 226 cases.

This mission, which will deliver its report at the end of May, is expected to allow to improve the care of victims, to analyze the disciplinary treatment and consistency of sanctions against the perpetrators and to strengthen prevention measures, according to the article .

In addition, from now on “every time there is a sufficiently well-founded suspicion of rape or sexual assault, the accused person will be systematically suspended from duty”, write the ministers.

A related directive was sent on March 26 by the ministry to all administrations.

According to the ministry, the French armed forces include women in their ranks at a rate of 16.5% (34,142 persons).