Julie Gayet: “You have to put in sex education from the small classes, because we know very well that little girls have more difficulty saying no than little boys”

The actress, companion of President Hollande, who comes Thursday to inaugurate a rue Gisèle Halimi in Le Creusot, confides in an interview with creusot-infos. She talks about women, the violence they suffer, rapes, the necessary education. But also Sandrine Rousseau, Afghanistan and Iran.

You come to Le Creusot to inaugurate a street in the name of Gisèle Halimi… Is it more than a symbol?

JULIE GAYET: “A study had shown that only 3% of streets in France had the name of a woman. It’s probably a little more today. So yes, coming to inaugurate a street in the name of Gisèle Halimi is both symbolic and important. It shows a change in society. It is true that in 50 years, there have been developments, changes. But not enough.
I would add that Gisèle, who has worked so hard for women, has always said that progress goes through the law. You have to remember what she did about the rape, the abortion. Essential subjects for women, of which she has always said that they had to be together to be a force”.

How do you measure it?

“With Me Too in 2017, we can clearly say that there was a before and an after. The women understood that one could speak, denounce. Before, women were isolated. Now this is no longer the case, or it is less so. I think that we must integrate men into this transformation of society”.

Do you consider that men should be appointed to speak and deal with gender equality?

“Women bring a lot of answers, because everyone has at least one answer. Men talk about quotas. But that raises questions. That of the relationship to authority, that of children. Who takes care of it?
In fact, we can clearly see that men can easily talk about quotas, whereas it’s complicated for women… When Delphine Ernotte was appointed head of France Télévisions, there were only 8% of women directors. She asked for a change and she succeeded. You can see that it’s all about willpower. You have to get to 50%, like in the cinema. And in this sense, it is important that men are more than concerned. Yes, we need more equal pay, more room for women. So the day when we will manage to have 50% of the street names be those of a woman, it will be very, very beautiful. But unfortunately it’s not yet tomorrow.

Do you consider that Sandrine Rousseau’s provocations are good for the cause of women, or that they are too divisive?

“I have no good or bad points to distribute. It’s just her way. I am active in the women’s foundation. Talking is already that.
Things are struggling to change. We see rapes with investigations without follow-up, because we ask women to justify themselves. But when a woman is raped, the first thing she does is wash herself. The victim is not in a position that is good. Just look at the social networks, the violence. See that the number of feminicides does not drop in France…”

How do you see things?

“It is a global subject. Men have had a mother, sometimes have a daughter. Our society, patriarchal, misogynistic, does not move the lines fast enough.

What do you advocate?

“We must act from school on the question of equality, on that of consent. . We need to put sex education in the early grades. Why ? Because we know very well that little girls have a harder time saying no than little boys. And the result today is that in our society, there are 80% battered women and 20% battered men”.

If you could apply three decisions, what would they be?

“First and without hesitation: Study the Spanish model that succeeded in bringing down feminicides. Because we cannot continue to accept having so many feminicides. Nadia Mourad, Nobel Peace Prize winner is right to say that rape must become a war crime, a crime against humanity.
Secondly, I have already mentioned it: We must insist on education. There is work and it has to be concrete.
Thirdly, we must put in place actions to change things, that we really listen to women”.

In Le Creusot, you will meet the VIF network. Created in 2005, it was among the first. Is it important for you to meet its facilitators?

“These networks have acquired experience and expertise. At the time of confinement, France opened its eyes. She understood that there is nothing worse than being locked up by her executioner. Remember, the numbers have exploded. So yes, I affirm it, the VIF networks (violence intrafamilial), starting with that of Le Creusot, have acquired experience and are doing marvelous work. It must be extended because we know that it is more difficult when we are isolated, for example in a rural area. I recognize that things have changed since the Grenelle, even if it is not yet enough.
Personally, I am positive. I note that the hotline against rape has gone in the right direction, with a 30% increase in the number of complaints filed.

Is it possible to go further?

“Yes. Funding is needed. Before, the number was closed on evenings and weekends. Today it’s 24 hours a day and now you even see children calling. This means that the messages get through. There is a lot of work to be done to remove fear, to free speech”.

You are an actress. Are there any roles you turn down?

“There is first of all what I accept with enthusiasm. Like in the film “Marion, 13 years old forever” where I play a mother whose daughter committed suicide because she was the victim of bullying. I refuse sexism, or else in a comedy to denounce it just like misogyny. You have to know how to approach the subjects of humiliation, rape, violence, find a way of thinking”.

Afghanistan, Iran… What’s going on there scares you?

“The ban on going to school in Afghanistan is a return to the Middle Ages. In Iran, it is not just students who are fighting, they have been joined by students. I see in it the virtues of education. I have the feeling that things are moving in the world. Look, even in the United States where, when we analyze, we see that Trump’s outrageous statements have caused Republican candidates to lose. In the United States, there is a wind of protest from women that has risen against Trump. Alone, it’s more complicated, together it’s easier!

Collected by Alain BOLERY

Julie Gayet: “You have to put in sex education from the small classes, because we know very well that little girls have more difficulty saying no than little boys”