– PPDA or the art of going unpunished against 90 accusers
Dozens and dozens of women accuse the French TV presenter of rape. How was this possible? Hélène Devynck describes the powerful springs of impunity.
Posted today at 06:27
The book is called “Impunity” and it is damning. The author is a 55-year-old journalist who worked thirty years ago at TF1 for Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, a small hand who wrote his launches for the 8 p.m. newspaper. Hélène Devynck is one of the 23 women who, last year, in solidarity with the first open-face complainant, reported rape or sexual violence by the PPDA to the police. All the cases were closed, 21 because of the prescription, the other two for “insufficiently characterized facts”. In return, PPDA filed a defamation suit against sixteen of them.
Faced with this situation where justice – for the moment at least – is powerless, Hélène Devynck has decided to tell. Their little troop of 23 women has grown, they are actually 60 to testify in the book and, since she stopped writing it, about thirty others have announced themselves. Yes, you are counting correctly: 90 women to date claim to be victims of PPDA for facts that range between 1981 and 2016. And the reports to the police continue.
“How can a man so crudely and brutally abuse dozens, perhaps hundreds of women, in his workplace or elsewhere, without ever being investigated? The answer is simple: power.”
The basic pattern is comically repetitive, it’s the “shot of the board”. PPDA invites a young woman, journalist, novelist or simple admirer, to come and watch the news on the set. After editing, while the editorial office is emptying, the assistants lead the person into the office where she waits for almost half an hour for him to arrive. There, he pours a drink, exchanges a few words and, suddenly, without any prior seduction, he grabs the victim to force her into fellatio or sexual intercourse. Sometimes she can run away, if she finds the right threats, otherwise she suffers. It lasts a short time, two, three minutes at most, it’s a quick ejaculator.
But the whole point of the book is to raise the question of impunity. How can a man so crudely and brutally abuse dozens, perhaps hundreds of women, in his workplace or elsewhere, without ever being investigated? The answer is simple: power.
“It is well known, he is like that”
Hélène Devynck demonstrates it: if a woman speaks, at least at the time, her career is over, broken, it is she who is freed and discredited. “Having been raped by a superior does not hinder a career, on one condition: that it should not be known,” she notes coldly. Moreover, those who speak only reap bursts of laughter: “But yes, it is well known, he is like that.” And it stops there.
MeToo , of course, has changed something, but the mechanisms of impunity remain. PPDA has little left of the mighty man he once was. However, women who have suffered unprescribed rapes have contacted Hélène Devynck, but refuse to file a complaint. They fear for their honor, for their couple and for the blows in return if they do not manage to prove…
You have to read “Impunity” (Ed. du Seuil), you will understand them better.
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