A commercial Valentine's Day banner.

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GILE Michel / SIPA

"I didn't dare say no": Valentine's Day can give rise to sexual violence within couples, particularly among young people, warns the feminist association En avant tous, which is launching awareness-raising workshops to invite everyone to re-examine their conception of consent.

The feast of lovers, which falls on Sunday, is "often perceived as a positive moment, the one where you express your feelings and where you offer yourself gifts", but it is also "a critical moment, with a lot of rapes. », Underlines Louise Delavier, one of the spokespersons of this association which fights against gender-based violence.

Through online workshops, the association wishes to invite 15-30 year olds to question their conceptions of desire and of "healthy sexuality", and "to learn to place your limits while accepting those of others".

Among the conflicting situations mentioned, one where a man "does not understand" why his partner refuses to have sex with him, while she invited him for Valentine's Day.

A Sunday demonstration in Paris

“These are times when we sometimes force ourselves, to please, to thank for a gift, when we don't want it,” underlines Safiatou Mendy, prevention officer at “En avant tous” .

The testimonies collected on the "chat" of the association, commentonsaime.fr, regularly report such situations: teenage girls say they "forced themselves", which indicates sexual or psychological violence on the part of their companion, according to she.

Questioning the limits to be set is all the more important as the Covid epidemic has made "dating more and more complicated": "single people meet fewer people, so the risk is that at each meeting -you feel more under pressure to have sex, ”explains Louise Delavier.

In addition, with the closure of bars and restaurants, couples who form will be more likely to go to one or the other "the first time".

In such a context, insists the association, one should not "feel obliged" to go to the other "if one does not feel comfortable", because "to spend good time with a person does not imply sexual consent: it is always possible to say stop ”.

Valentine's Day is marked by "an increase in sexist and sexual violence", also believes the collective # OnArrêteToutes, which calls for a "feminist casserolade" Sunday in front of the town hall of the twentieth arrondissement of Paris.

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  • Sexual violence

  • Feminism

  • Violence against women

  • Domestic violence

  • Valentine's Day

  • Society