Parents of Paris antisemitic gang-rape victim speak out

"She is very shocked. They stole her childhood from her," said the 12-year-old girl's mother.

"Twelve years old and already a victim of antisemitic hate," the placard reads at the protest in the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville ("City Hall Square") in Paris, June 19, 2024. Photo by Alain Jocard/AFP via Getty Images.
"Twelve years old and already a victim of antisemitic hate," the placard reads at the protest in the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville ("City Hall Square") in Paris, June 19, 2024. Photo by Alain Jocard/AFP via Getty Images.

The parents of the 12-year-old girl, identified only as “A,” who was gang raped in a Paris suburb on June 15 recently spoke with French daily Le Parisien “to bear witness to the ordeal experienced by their eldest daughter.”

The incident sent shock waves through France. Hundreds demonstrated in Paris on June 19 in solidarity with the victim. French President Emmanuel Macron spoke out against “the scourge of antisemitism” at a Cabinet meeting that day.

Three boys were involved. Two of them, both 13 years old, were indicted for gang rape, death threats, antisemitic violence, attempted extortion, invasion of privacy, violence and insults.

A third, age 12, was declared an involved witness in the rape and is on trial for the other crimes.

The shocking incident took place only steps away from their apartment, the parents told Le Parisien.

“Their sense of immunity is amazing. They really thought they would be safe from prosecution and perhaps believed that our daughter would be so afraid that she wouldn’t say anything,” her father said.

“They threatened her with a lighter and forced her to swallow a piece of paper,” he said. “After that she suffered sexual acts and threats while being photographed.”

On a Saturday afternoon, the girl, who had spent the afternoon with friends, was crossing Henri Regnault Park in Courbevoie, a Paris suburb, when she came across two boys, one of whom she vaguely knew.

They blocked her way and forced her to follow them to an abandoned daycare center where they raped her, forcing her to perform oral, anal and vaginal sex.

“There was a very clear desire on the part of her attackers to destroy her life. She is very shocked. They stole her childhood from her,” the mother said. “She is afraid to speak and wakes up at night with flashbacks.”

There’s no question that Jew hatred was a motive for the gang rape as they hurled insults at her like “dirty Jew,” the teens admitted to police.

“Our daughter experienced antisemitism first hand,” the father said. “It has to do with importing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to France.”

The mother said their daughter had been the victim of religious bullying at school. “During this period, we advised her to hide her religious identity,” she said.

One of the assailants told their daughter, “Why did you lie? I know you are not Muslim. So what religion are you?” The attacker then concluded that she was Jewish, pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian, the parents said, noting this reflects a general conflation French Jews endure, where they are held responsible for the Middle East conflict.

“We are not looking for sympathy, but for the public to understand the difference between the conflict in the Middle East and French Jews,” the mother said.

“We want justice done,” the father added. “This incident is a sign of a collective social failure in the fight against antisemitism and extreme violence.”

As if to underscore the deterioriating security situation for French Jews, six Jewish youth were assaulted on June 22 outside a cinema in a Paris suburb. They suffered antisemitic insults by three assailants and one was slapped several times, Le Figaro reported.

Meanwhile, French prosecutors charged a 19-year-old man and a minor in the Paris region with plotting a terrorist attack on Jewish targets, Agence France-Presse reported on Friday.

The man was charged with “terrorist conspiracy” to commit attacks and the “acquisition and possession of arms for a terrorist enterprise,” according to the report.

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