In a landmark move, France recently announced that it will set 15 as the legal age of sexual consent. Now sex with anyone younger will be considered as rape.
The decision comes in the aftermath of two cases in which men accused of having sex with 11-year-old girls were not charged with rape.
Read on for more.
What does the current law say?
Currently, sex with someone under 15 needs to be proved forced for the offender to be charged with rape.
Otherwise, he is charged for sexual abuse of a minor and not rape with the harshest punishment being jail term of up to five years and $87,000 penalty.
Notably, sentences for sexual assaults of minors and adults are the same in France as of now.
Perpetrators take most advantage of dubious legal age of consent
A 30-year-old man was acquitted of rape in November because according to the court, the 11-year-old victim did not suffer "constraint, threat, violence or surprise" during sex, France's definition of rape.
In another instance which sparked nationwide debate, a 28-year-old man was charged for sexual abuse of a minor but not rape because he didn't physically force the 11-year-old girl to have sex.
French government welcomes the decision
France's Minister of Equality Marlène Schiappa told AFP that she was "very glad" about the move, which has also found support in President Emmanuel Macron.
Minister of Solidarity and Health Agnès Buzyn told Le Figaro newspaper that defining a legal age of sexual consent would bring in "collective awareness", making it easy for everyone to differentiate between "legal and illegal".
The reform expected to be implemented next week
The new law will most likely roll out next week. A part of a larger legislation package aiming to curb sexual violence and harassment, it will strictly define the age of consent as 15 and not 13, and the repercussions of sex with a minor.