Trial Puts Domestic Violence in France Back in Focus


France |  Domestic Violence

A murder trial of a woman who killed her abusive husband is presently underway in the Chalon-sur-SaĆ“ne, France.​ Earlier, in a bestseller Tout Le Monde Savait (Everyone Knew) published in May, Valerie Bacot admitted to shooting Danile Polette dead in self-defence in 2016. Now she faces a life sentence for murder. She has admitted shooting him dead and believes she should be punished.

Life Of Abuse

At the hearing, she will talk about how Daniel “Dany” Polette, her mother's boyfriend, she calls her stepfather, raped her when she was 12 and continued to torture, threaten even rape her to the day he died 24 years later while prostituting her.

Bacot who went on to have four children with her alleged abuser says she was convinced Polette would kill them all and how everyone knew he was a violent sexual predator but nobody said or did anything. Her children also went to the gendarmes twice to report the abuse being faced by their mother but were told to go away and tell their mother to come in herself. She says she had nowhere to go, nobody to turn to, no money and was so under Polette’s control she had no idea how to escape her daily terror of threats and violence till she killed him.

This high-profile trial brings into sharp focus the status of domestic violence in France, a week after three women were killed by former partners. France has one of the highest rates of femicide – classed here as the murder of a woman by a current or former partner – in Europe. Till date, in 2021 itself, at least 55 women have been killed by a current or ex partner in France.