France: double complaint for rape against Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, the government reacts

An investigation was opened after the filing of two rape complaints against Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, the Secretary of State for Development, whom the patients accuse of the gestures she would have imposed on them when she was a gynecologist.

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LThe first complaint denouncing acts of rape was filed on May 25 and the investigation was opened two days later, before a second complaint dated June 16 for acts of the same nature, the Paris prosecutor’s office reported Wednesday.

According to the weekly Marianne, the events reported against Ms. Zacharopoulou were allegedly committed in the context of her profession as a gynecologist, and the concern for the second complaint was an adult woman. The investigation was entrusted to the Brigade for the repression of crimes against the person (BRDP).

On Thursday morning, government spokeswoman Olivia Grégoire spoke about the issue on the franceinfo set. “Justice is done, she will decide,” she reacted. “We urge women, who may have been victims, to file a complaint in court, speak out and let justice legislate. If these complaints gave rise to other acts of justice, decisions would be made.” Before emphasizing the importance of the independence of the judiciary: “it is essential that the judiciary be able to function independently of the political power, independently of the executive, so that it can carry out its investigations and carry out a diagnosis and respond” .


A third woman, Jade (first name changed), now 26 and a resident of the Paris region, told AFP on Wednesday that she had consulted Ms Zacharopoulou for endometriosis problems, including this 46-year-old French-Greek gynecologist. years. his speciality

The appointment, arranged with Ms. Zacharopoulou because of her fame and specifically because she is a woman, took place at the end of 2016 in the presence of a doctor in training. According to Jade’s account, the gynecologist “forced her intern to examine me.” When the patient’s feet were in the stirrups, the medical specialist “felt that I was not comfortable at all, he was not comfortable either, my body was closed, blocked, he felt it,” she described.

“Then it was his turn. He told me she, using familiar terms: “You’re going to have to open. I am not the”. She was trying, she was trying, she was not happy at all and I was very nervous and tense and trapped,” she said.

The young woman said she did not remember whether the gynecologist had obtained her consent before examining her, as a growing number of doctors are doing today.

No complaint or claim

Jade, who claims to have experienced this event “at least as a sexual assault”, has not filed a complaint so far. “I thought no one would believe me, but today is different,” she said, adding that she is “reluctant” to do so.

Sonia Bisch, founder of StopVOGfr, told AFP that her collective against obstetric and gynecological violence had “received three testimonies” about her, dating from 2013, 2016 and 2020, evoking “gynecological violence (…) from three other patients who did not present a complaint. »

Born in Sparta, Ms. Zacharopoulou studied in Italy before practicing in France, at the Bégin military hospital in Saint-Mandé (Val-de-Marne) and then at the Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), in particular in Tenon. service of Pr Émile Daraï, under investigation for allegations of rape.

Taking women’s complaints “fully into consideration”, Joëlle Beaisch Allart, president of France’s National College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians, told AFP she was “very concerned about the current use of the word rape to describe medical examinations, particularly gynecological”. without the slightest sexual intent.

Secretary of state

Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, elected in 2019 to the Renaissance list in the European Parliament, where she notably sat on the Women’s Rights Committee, is a doctor who has long been involved in the issue of endometriosis. She had submitted a report on the matter to the French government last year.

Ms. Zacharopoulou entered the government at the end of May as Secretary of State for Development, Francophonie and International Associations, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

Ms Zacharopoulou mentioned a trip to Brussels on Twitter on Wednesday, but did not react to these revelations and did not reply to AFP.

Several ministers accused

Several ministers currently in office are accused of sexual violence, including Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, the subject of a rape complaint, initially dismissed and later re-launched and for whom the prosecution requested dismissal in early 2022.

More recently, the Minister of Solidarity Damián Abad was accused of rape. The Paris prosecutor’s office has indicated that it does not open a preliminary investigation “as is”.

These accusations have provoked criticism and mobilization, particularly within the feminist movements.

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